My Walkabout Wake-Up

By Kris McEwan

Last August, my world was rocked by a divorce I didn’t see coming. In shock, I couldn’t fathom how I could possibly continue to go through the paces of my everyday routine. I needed to step away and do a hard re-set on my life. So I took a month leave, grabbed my backpack, and booked a flight to Australia.

The van I lived in

When I arrived, I didn’t have much of a plan. I just wanted Australia to revitalize me so I could break free from the miserable, fat old bastard I had become. I wanted to shatter old habits and outdated ideas about who I was and what I was capable of achieving. So I rented a camper van, unplugged my phone, and started conquering my fears, one by one.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Not shown: Jaws

I dodged sharks in the Great Barrier Reef. I jumped out of an airplane. (Freefall is great — parachuting is nauseating.) I bungee-jumped off a 50-meter-high platform putting my faith in the glorified rubber band around my ankle. I got a tattoo, despite my deep-seated hatred of needles. These exhilarating, gut-wrenching experiences did a great job at launching me out of my comfort zone and helping me realize that there’s a huge, adventure-filled world out there — and I want to be part of it.

Hanging loose at 15,000 feet

But the serious self-discovery came in the quieter moments — the long evenings I spent in my cramped van. Alone with my thoughts, I realized a few more things:

  • My mind is a vast place which, when forced inside it, can be creative in both positive and negative ways. It can be an incredibly fun place to hang out, or it can be a dark, moody, evil place. I need to actively spend time encouraging the first and weeding out the second.
  • My communication is nowhere near as good as I have always thought it to be. I need to learn how to be better at listening and letting others know that they’re important to me.
  • I can’t talk my way out of every failure or mistake — sometimes I have to take my lumps, learn to live with the consequences and make damn sure I don’t do the same thing again.
  • My kids, Ryan and Bryn, are the two single most amazing human beings on this planet. They see many of my flaws and still love me — this may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is.
  • Four weeks in a little van is way too long!
Putting my faith in a bungee cord

Australia held many adventures and lessons for me. (If you’re brave, you can read more at www.walkaboutwakeup.com). I came back with a lot to process and more challenges to overcome. 2017 won’t be what I thought it might, but I now know that whatever it throws at me — sharks, parachutes, changes — I can get through it.

Kris is based in Kirkland, WA and is one of the phenomenal human beings who works at GoDaddy. #GoDaddyBrave; #GoDaddyLife