Archive for November, 2006

How to start?

Maze, Black Rock City, NV, 2005
When I tell people that I moved to England by myself when I was 17 years old, they usually ask me: Weren’t you afraid? You must be so brave… How did you do that?
And the truth is that I have always responded to these questions with: “I dunno…” But what I realize now, is that such answer is just not good enough to encourage anyone to go and find out that it can be done. Besides, how powerful could it be to know how to re-activate that courage muscle anytime I needed to? With that, I decided to do some exploring as a way to gain easy access to that part of me that is brave, so I can learn how to apply the strength I have when it comes to traveling, to the parts of me that need confidence.
As I went on a journey through my memories last night, I remembered that what triggered my interest in England was my love for classical ballet. I had been practicing ballet for several years at a school affiliated to the Royal Academy, where we were evaluated by brit instructors who came to Brazil periodically (Yes! As in Billy Elliot, guys!). I just loved that vibe and formality which was so unlike the relaxed Brazilian style. From there, all I really did was give more and more room to that thought of “Hey, it would be amazing to go there.” I listened to that part of me that was curious about England. I looked at all kinds of photos, I read about how people lived there, I searched for London newspapers and I imagined myself there daily. All along this process, I made no travel plans. I was only immersed in the idea of how it would feel to be there. Sure enough, the opportunity came along on its own via a scholarship proposal. I applied for it, it came through and when that happened, I was practically there already. I was able to take the next step forward, because England was not unknown to me. It was the place I needed to be at. My parents saw the glow in my eyes and they had no choice but encourage me and let me go. I must thank them infinitely for allowing me to find my path that way.
When I got there, I had the clearest feeling of openness, fearlessness. I was not afraid at all, because I had prepared mentally for how it would feel. From that state of mind, I was able to be receptive to the people and challenges presented, which enabled me to adapt gracefully. Everyone I met noticed my genuine gratitude for being there and in return, offered me more help that I could have ever hoped for. The more I gave into that experience, the more it gave back to me. *This is true for every trip I have taken so far*.
So, without getting into too many more details, I think that a pretty good recipe for gearing up for your big trip is: Tune in with your interests and what they say about where you should go. Immerse yourself in the idea, imagine how it would feel to be there. Then, take the opportunity when it comes (it will come!) and go with your heart and eyes open! Be prepared but not scared. Allow yourself to receive the adventure. Also, be in charge when it comes to your travel project. You are the boss designing how it should go. Have fun with it. Lastly, take care of yourself out there, because when you do so, you feel empowered and you come back safe.
As I wrap this up, a bigger question stays with me:
Can I apply this formula to the other areas of my life that need courage? Can I feel less trapped in my day-to-day challenges? If I trust what I know in my heart with openness and awareness, can I move forward and out of the maze?
By the way, my new friend Ann has the perfect line of Tees to help carry this thought and intention. Get one before you go on your next adventure! I got mine and we’ll be sporting it in this blog soon.