To Travel, or Not to Travel: You can’t spell CHAllenGE without CHANGE

I saw this picture a few days ago and I thought, “Well isn’t that clever…” I run monthly fitness and weight loss challenges and they are both in the spirit of change. It seemed so fitting for all the folks who play my fun games in the spirit of finding better health and more happiness.

challenge Change

I think it’s kind of funny…as humans; we naturally want to be better. To get stronger, smarter, faster, slimmer, earn more money and have more love. But we also have a natural dislike and/or fear of change or being out of our personal comfort zone. And you really can’t get better if you don’t push yourself beyond your current static state. I know this. I write about it almost every day in some capacity.

Then I realized, when was the last time I put myself outside of my comfort zone?

Since I left my full time job in March of 2013, I’ve been the CEO of my life and have called all the shots. I do what I want whenever I feel like it. I say what’s on my mind. I sleep as much or as little as I’m in the mood for. I work out when I have the energy, and skip it when I don’t. In just over year, I haven’t been the least bit uncomfortable. Which is actually quite nice, for a certain amount of time.

So today’s post is a little bit about me, and a little bit of food for thought for anybody finding themselves reading this post today…brace yourself, it’s kind of a long one…

Sometimes I think I’m a lion, as I rule my kingdom. Then other times, I realize I’m the biggest chicken of them all, as I don’t do anything scary, ever. At least nothing that feels scary to me. And as of what feels like just a few short days ago, that took a little change.

With a recent change in my personal life, I found myself wanting to get out of town. Over too many Sunday-Funday celebratory beers after a spur of the moment half-marathon last Sunday, I fired off a slightly inebriated email to one of my long-time girlfriends, Megan. She has been traveling around Asia/Indonesia for the past few months and I thought she had a few weeks left in her trip. Megan is one of the bravest, kindest and most caring people in my life.

Spur of the moment half marathon leads to Sunday Funday leads to finding my fun travel friend Megan...
Spur of the moment half marathon leads to Sunday Funday leads to finding my fun travel friend Megan…

I woke up to an itinerary for a Philippine adventure.

With it, came the realization that it was only $1000 to fly there and I could be on a plane in a matter of days and bum around the beaches for a few weeks. So I had kind of a knee-jerk reaction, did a little research and found a flight for $920 on my all-time favorite American Airlines (I’m just 25K miles shy of joining the million mile club). And the best part? It came with a 100% refund policy until 11pm the next night. Megan even had a malaria Rx called in for me to pick up on Wednesday. No brainer, right? So on Monday, I booked my flight. I would leave San Diego to LA Thursday morning. I would connect through Tokyo then overnight in Manila, catch a short flight to Cebu in the morning to meet Megan where we could ferry off to our first tiny, white, sandy beach in Bohol, which should look a little something like this:

bohol Philippines

We have 4-5 days here, and then we would head to Boracay, which should look like this:

boracay

Tuesday night, I had dinner with some lovely friends and we all agreed this trip was a good idea and I should go. I think I kind of realized I only had until 11pm EST to cancel, but at the time I really didn’t care.

Fast forward 3 hours and I’ m starting to freak out.

I start to research my flight from Manila to Cebu and hotels for overnight and I have no idea what happened. I completely freaked out. Totally lost my sh@*$it. Realizing how far away I was going, into such a foreign land, in such a short amount of time and all by myself!? Not to mention, my finances are like kind of ok, but who the heck am I to drop this kind of $$ right now? Plus I was just in Nor Cal for a few weeks and I like my house! I love sleeping in my bed and I didn’t want to leave my poor fat cats alone for 2 more weeks. Ugg…PANIC set in and I decided to cancel my trip. I thought I could pull the blond card and say I didn’t know it was 11pm EST…Well guess what, I got nowhere with that so I sent this email to Megan Tuesday night:

I’m seriously freaking out Megan and think that biting the $280 change fee for future travel is better than making this trip. I have no idea why the strong change of heart. I think it came when I was researching hotels and flights and realizing how fast $$ adds up and how afraid I am of being disconnected from my business right now. I’ll still have to pay the $920, but at least $640 can go toward future travel…I already called Orbitz and AA and there is no way to refund it. I’m just not feeling the Philippines and it all sounds like so much work to get there. Will you still love me if I don’t come? I also don’t know if I can get everything done I need to get done – ug. I just really don’t think I can make this trip…

I’m canceling this trip because it’s too scary for me.

I sent that email and meant every word of it. I wasn’t fishing for her to reassure me everything would be amazing, I just didn’t want to go. In my mind, I was not going. I was too scared. I followed that lovely email up with a Skype call Wednesday morning where I explained all my fears in even more laborious and tearful detail. She politely listened to me and said she’d support whatever decision I made. What a brat I am! Here I have the best of friends who has already coordinated this amazing trip for me and I was letting my own self-absorbed fears stop me. I was willing to waste $920 to go nowhere because of my fears.

The way Wednesday afternoon played out made it impossible to not come.

I rented my place for 7 of 14 nights I would be gone. My out-of-this-world-amazing girlfriends Kate and Natalie have keys to my house and have both stayed there extended periods of time. They both happily agreed to manage keys, clean up, greet guests and so on. They would even fill in the nights the place would be empty so Sam and Sophie would always have company, eliminating the lonely cat fear factor. Now my trip is more than paid for, eliminating the financial fear factor. I picked up my malaria pills, some bug spray, sunscreen, cash and a bottle of wine and essentially I was ready to go. My equally OOTWA girlfriend Sheri packed up all of her cutest island attire and brought it down for me, making packing a cinch. Are you kidding me? I have the most amazing women in my life.

Amazing girlfriends Natalie, Kate, Sheri, the condo and Sam and Sophie. These gals got me to get out of town :)
Amazing girlfriends Natalie, Kate, Sheri, the condo and Sam and Sophie. These gals got me to get out of town 🙂

So I’m in Manila now, waiting to connect to Cebu

I’m only a few hours away from Megan after about a day and a half of travel. The flights were easy, immigration was easer than the US, my bag came out faster than I could get to it and the hotel was a $4 taxi from the airport.

Manila Airport, where I wrote this post, looking like this so I could get where I'm going :)
Manila Airport, where I wrote this post, looking like this so I could get where I’m going 🙂

I don’t know what I’ll get out of this adventure

But I know I needed to make it. For whatever reason, it was time for me to get out of my condo and come see another side of the planet and a culture I’m unfamiliar with. I’m still “working” because that’s the life I’ve built for myself. I’ve scheduled a lot of content, but my weight loss and push-up challenge are daily commitments I’ve made to the players and I won’t miss those. My friend Marisa challenged me to scare myself on this trip and do 3 things I’m afraid of. She pointed out that FEAR is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. Sheri told me to be venerable and go after it. I’m curious to find out what “it” will be.

Maybe you think I’m a chicken because I tried canceled my trip. But I am feeling a little bit like a lion (maybe a cub) for making it this far in such a short amount of time.

My challenge to you as a reader

I put this up as a post in my weight loss challenge too. We all have different levels of comfort and what is scary to one is old-hat to another. That is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that you find a way to make yourself uncomfortable. Be venerable and maybe tackle some FEARs:

  • Think about the last time you took a leap that didn’t feel natural.
  • Think about something that might be holding you back.
  • Find something that makes you a little uncomfortable, but that may make you a stronger, happier and healthier version of yourself.

You may not need to travel half way around the globe to find it, but find something that takes you just a little bit outside of your day-to-day routine. It’s a necessary part of life, if you’re striving to achieve more. Keep working and don’t stop trying to become the best version of yourself.

Growing pains aren’t just for kids; they remain with us for life.

But in the end, we come out shinier versions of ourselves, or at the very least, a little bit wiser. Stay tuned for some fun pics, follow Instagram if you don’t feel like waiting for a summary blog post in a few weeks – ha ha.

So that’s a long story, and I would love to hear yours! What will you do or have you done to push yourself beyond your current reality?

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7 thoughts on “To Travel, or Not to Travel: You can’t spell CHAllenGE without CHANGE

  1. I’m so happy you decided to go! I think we all may have packed your bags for you and dragged your ass to the airport regardless. I love you and I hope this trip provides some clarity and some inspiration– and obviously a killer tan 😉 xx

  2. Great story. I have a great tendency to let fear led my decisions. Not anything I would recommend, it leaves me empty inside and unfulfilled. I usually begin a challenge but seldom finish. As of lately, I have decided to finish up some knitting projects, more than one. I am using that as a springboard. It’s still in my comfort zone yet in and of itself a challenge to do it with consistency as I do sooo enjoy knitting. I don’t have a close circle of friends, mostly casual acquaintances. The more I read about people who have strong friendships it is appealing to me. Don’t have the greatest of network skills but don’t let it stop me. I do what I can in the moment and wait on the universe to guide me in the process, practice patience a wonderful gift. I have more to share, my mind can be very inspired at moments. Much love and thank you for sharing.

  3. What a great note Anita – thank you for taking the time to share it 🙂 I think you are on a good track starting with finishing up projects, listening to the universe and practicing patience. For the most part, you get back what you give. So keep giving your heart and your insight and you should receive more from others in return 🙂 Hugs to you and very happy to be connected here and hope you continue to enjoy my crazy stories! Cheers!

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