Road trippin’ wisdom part 1
Around the beginning of December I made the decision that I was going to take some time out, and go on a road trip. This was a big decision for someone who spends every holiday or time off re-connecting with family that live overseas.
My friend Sharon kindly invited me to spend Xmas with her family in Melbourne. A combination of lack of planning with a dash of Thelma and Louise, determined we drive down together through the interior. I would make the trip back to the coast on my own slowly meandering through the vast expanse of this little Island I choose to live on called Australia.
The furthest south I have been so far was Sydney, so I was looking forward to seeing Melbourne and getting to visit some national parks in order to fill my soul with time under the stars with not much around me apart from trees and wildlife.
I also wanted very much to disconnect in order to reconnect. It has been a very busy year filled with a lot of growth inducing experiences. Although I am extremely grateful for all the amazing connections and opportunities created, I ended the year exhausted. I felt I needed time to be away from the screens, the constant social media and socializing.
The past week and a half has been filled with new experiences, lots of time for reflection. The following are some nuggets of wisdom I have been reminded of in the past week and a half that I felt the need to externalize ( both as a reminder for myself and seeing if it resonates with others)
- Life is made out of moments (earth shattering I know)
On new years eve, I climbed Mount Kosciuszko ( the highest mountain in Australia) After struggling up the winding path with 30km winds pushing against me,I got to the summit, stood still, breathed in the clear alpine air, looked around at the never ending landscape of expanse. I was hit with a massive wave of gratitude. I recalled all of the other moments in my life where I climbed mountains, paddled rivers and oceans, biked down forest paths, hugged trees, had interesting conversations and random experiences in different countries. All of these adventures that I somehow either managed to create or bring into my life are what I remember the most. Not the stuff I accumulated or the but the moments I experienced. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day existence and forget. Forget to look up once in a while and appreciate . I want more of those moments where my spirit and soul feels free and dances with joy on all that is. How can I ensure I am intentionally creating more of those moments? This is something I am going to work hard on this year.
2. Time is the most rarest of commodities- I know, nothing new, however for the past two years I have felt a strong sense of time is running out (perhaps this has to do with my arriving at what I consider to be the mid point of my life, or perhaps my father was right, and you do begin to understand life more the older you get) and that it is important that I use this time wisely. That I act more in alignment with this belief or fact. That I focus on clarity around what is really important to me in life and dedicate focus,energy and inertia towards this. This means losing fear and whatever other old beliefs I am holding on to that are hindering or slowing me down. It means creating new habits and disciplines. It also means ignoring the tantrums and hissy fits current and past Tiah will throw in order to stay where she is. How am I spending my moments creating ? Am I focusing on problems that are worth my time? Am I finding joy in the moments that seem to suck? what moments am I going to create with my limited time that I have left?
3. Wherever you go there you are.
Driving on my own from state to state, from changing landscape to landscape-my thoughts are the only constant. Unless I continue to work on the internal workings of my mind , taming the, what can be really nasty voice in my head ,and focusing on values and operating centers such as mindfulness, acceptance, gentleness and love of myself — no matter where I go there I will be- so better off to accept where I am in all aspects of life, learn evolve and grow from there.
4. Micro ecosystems are everywhere- I live and breathe startups at the moment, but that is because I choose to. It is not because it is the most important thing in the universe, it just happens to be the center of mine. I spend the majority of my time surrounded by very talented people who are all very focused and passionate about the same thing. It is easy to surround yourself with people who are like you- it makes life easier. It also in my mind,can lead to stumped growth and is a great way to avoid perspective, innovation and random collisions of creativity and genius.
With every new town I visit, random people I meet, they all are living in different micro ecosystem that are the center of their universe. If it is different then mine it doesn’t make it any less important- but it does provide perspective on mine. It is a reminder that I created this micro ecosystem it and can create many others. Perhaps reviewing what is in my universe, how it aligns with my belief of the importance of perspective, diversity and growth is not a bad thing at all.
5. I am not that special- There are have been many a time in my life where I have felt like an outsider, not sure on where I fit in and feeling very alone despite being surrounded by many people. I can chalk that up to many things, my different upbringing, my nomadic nature, choosing not to follow the beaten path, having lived in 5 countries, my healthy sense of curiosity, the list can go on and on. Whatever the reasons, I am aware that this feeling has had a massive impact on my life and on the problems I have chosen to create as a result of this belief ( yup you read that right, we all create our own problems. Thank you Mark Manson for framing it so well in the Subtle art of not giving a fuck ) Traveling alone has created the space for me to just listen to random snippets of conversations in coffee shops, nature trails, petrol stations and camp grounds. You know what? The majority of the conversations are around problems related to the deep human need for a sense of belonging, contribution and connection. So I am not that special after all, and to a certain degree that gives me some level of comfort. Perhaps now I can focus on solving problems that have a higher interest and meaning to me.
6. Focusing and being open to adventure is a hard balancing act — I always knew that Australia is a flipping BIG Island with a lot to see, but this road trip has solidified that knowledge even more. With every new place I visit, I want to stay for at least one more day to be able to cram it all in. I am like a sugar craved kid in the candy store who wants it all. Wait,there is mountain biking, river kayaking, hiking, museums, art galleries and indigenous cultural experiences? There are not enough hours in the day, and I am going to have to sell my unborn first child to replenish my bank account. This experience expands to my professional and personal life as well. I am interested in many many things, am easily excited and love to say yes to new adventures and helping others develop or work on their projects.
The result of this is this feeling of constantly reacting and rushing through things rather then enjoying the actual process of creation or doing, and being present for it.
In this trip I have a clear timeline by which I have to be home, and a distance I have to cover. These parameters are forcing me to be more selective as to what I see, where I stop and how I spend my time and money. Yes there are places I plan on returning to, but hey you never know right? The world is a BIG place. Following on the first two earth shattering reminders of creating of moments and that time is the most precious commodity, I am going to bring these into my life more and more, where I have more clarity on what moments I want to craft, and how, with whom, and what I spend my time with and on.
6. Music — The drive down to Melbourne was filled with both Sharon and I singing on the top of our lungs out of tune to some epics daggy tunes. We got excited whenever we thought of another song from our past we could add to the ever growing epic playlist. It was the perfect backdrop for the amazing landscapes we were driving through, the deep conversations we had and to just increasing the feeling of being free and footloose. I am currently participating (as best as I can while on a road trip) a 30 day peak persona challenge lead by Peta Ellis and Aaron Birkby . The purpose of the program is to embed habits and thought patterns that will help in creating the optimal personal performance ( details here- highly recommended) One of the routines is choosing a playlist to evoke the mindset you are seeking. This concept of focusing on how you want to feel is one I have explored in the past through the work of Danielle LaPorte and her Desire map process. Spending hours in the car driving can be a little tedious. Being able to focus on creating how I want to feel through an easy tool such a music is a great reminder of how really our thoughts and actions create our world.
The road trip is almost done, I have only 4 more days before I arrive back home. ( and SOOOO MUCH MORE TO DO AND SEE)
I hope there are many more earth shattering moments or revelations, but most of all, I am reminding myself that knowledge without action is only half of the puzzle…