Taking time in, discoveries from 4 months on the road

Gail Bainbridge

I sold my accountancy practice back in March 2018, how I came to that needs to be a whole other post, I bought a motorhome and set off on a solo adventure around the UK. Some people thought I was mad, some people worried I was giving up my career, sorry Dad, but most people were excited, apparently I’m living a dream that a lot of people have!

The plan however was never to take time out, it was to take time in, spend time with myself, discovering what’s important to me. I’m not finished, not by a long shot but I can share these wonderful discoveries:

I am a badass

You may be the adrenaline junkie type that throws themselves out of perfectly good aircraft or maybe you like to test the breaking stress of a bungee cord, that’s not me, I was terrified just jumping off a boat into the sea in Vietnam. When I say I am a badass what I mean is that I have overcome my own personal fears and done things that I didn’t believe were possible for me. I have;

  • Drove my 7m long 3T vehicle over 3000 miles around the UK;
  • Reverse parked said vehicle;
  • Climbed Snowden;
  • Swam in the sea in Wales, where it was too deep for my feet to touch the bottom!
  • Completed a 12 mile hike and climbed a waterfall on a route I planned myself (without injury or death);
  • Rode my bike for 14 miles (having not ridden a bike for quite some time)

Discovering my boundaries and pushing past them gives me a real sense of freedom, that anything is possible.

Nature is awe inspiring

Hiking has been a family thing for my whole life, something we do when we get together, well that and eat cheese. Turns out however that I really love hiking alone. There’s something that happens when I am out in nature, it’s difficult to explain but it’s kind of meditative, I become present, I breath deeper and I feel connected to the world.

I discovered recently when attending a workshop by Elle Adams and Rupert Hutchinson of Living Alive that this feeling can be described as awe, and awe is pretty special. To quote from their website

Studies show that having experiences of it (awe) not only increases people’s propensity for generosity and kindness, but also helps us see ‘the bigger picture’ more clearly; shifting the focus from ourselves to the larger whole, a movement from ‘me’ to ‘we’

People are amazing

I love spending time alone, but I’ve also discovered there’s a time limit on that, spending more than 2 or 3 days away from people and I begin to feel isolated, I’ve learned this and adapted plans along the way to make sure I get my fix of people!

Some of my favourite parts of my journey have been the conversations and interactions I’ve had with people I’ve met along the way; Peggy who at 75 was on her first solo campervan trip having lost her husband 2 years ago; Julie, the solo hill climber, who I met whilst walking round Derwentwater at 10 am (she was already on her descent); Michael, a college friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years, and spending time with his family; spending three days on Anglesey with Marcus Pibworth sharing stories about our inner journeys; the beautiful people at Happy Start Up Summercamp who gather from around the globe and are out to change the world; Sarah, Gerlinde and Lizzy the gorgeous women I spent a weekend with training to help others uncover their values in the Misfit to Maven way; and then there’s my favourite which is my family and the joy of spending time with them in nature.

Slowing down in life gives me so much more space for conversations and human connection.

Purpose is not what I thought it was

I’ve often been envious of people that have experienced that ‘aha’ moment, who have discovered their true calling in life and it’s obvious to them what they should be doing. My ‘aha’ moment is discovering that my purpose is to be me, to be wholly me, to embrace all parts of me, to find what it is that I value, what lights a fire in my belly and to live a life inside of those values. And not only to live my life inside these values but to share them with the world.

It won’t surprise you having read this that my values are freedom, connection and awe. Embracing these values and discovering how to share them is part of plan for the next part of my journey.

Gail Bainbridge

Written by

Living the dream! I’ve done it I’ve sold my business, bought a motorhome & set out on an adventure to explore both me and this magnificent island I call home ❤️

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