ALONE IN CHIANG MAI

HOW I TOOK THE BIGGEST STEP OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE EVER

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

NEALE DONALD WALSH

I’m finally here!  Settling in on the other side of the world in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I plan to be here for three months and then spend time travelling around Asia…. ALONE!

So many people have told me how brave I am; what courage I have; how they couldn’t imagine doing the same.  Yes, I bucked convention; and quit my job and my very comfortable life to travel.  At 42 years of age, this is hardly sane behaviour.  I have built a very successful and secure life over the past 20 years; and decided to step out of it into the unknown.  “But WHY?”, you ask.

Well, I need to take you back to a conversation I had with a friend about three years ago.  But first, let me give you a bit of background; I have always enjoyed travelling; I have always been curious of other cultures; enjoyed eating foreign food; meeting people who are different from me; and seeing the beauty that is present everywhere.  But, regrettably I have had limited opportunity to do much travelling.  My worldly footprint is still very small.  There are many reasons that prevented me from travelling much; but I really only want to focus on one of those reasons today: FEAR!

So back to my conversation with my friend.  She is very well-travelled; and can also travel comfortably on her own.  On this particular day, she was telling me about a trip to Bali which she decided to do on a whim, on her own a few years before.  I was not in a good space at the time, still dealing with the aftermath of my divorce.  I was feeling incredibly insecure; and my self-worth was at an all-time low.  I was also doing a deep analysis of my life; and the meaning of life.     During the conversation, my friend suggested that I should consider doing a similar trip on my own; it would be healthy for me.  When she said that I knew, intellectually, that she was right; and that I could only grow from such an experience.  But, from an emotional and psychological level, the thought filled me with such anxiety that it felt like a knot in my chest squeezing my heart and would eventually kill me.  In that moment, all I knew was that it doesn’t matter how healthy this could be for me, I would NEVER do it – it was too far out of my comfort zone.  I had the most incredible admiration and envy for my friend who was so brave.

As I write this, I am sitting in Chiang Mai.  I’m not on holiday.  I didn’t take a few weeks of leave to visit a country to return to my comfortable job.  I am here contently embracing the unknown.  It is not without fear; but that fear no longer has the power of me that it once had.

So, what changed that I am now doing the very thing that made me anxious a few years ago?  Well, the past few years I have been on the most incredible journey of self-healing and personal growth.  During this journey, I did a lot of self-reflection and introduced a number of practices that helped me build the confidence to find my courage and take some very brave steps in my life.

Inaction breads doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.

If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

DALE CARNEGIE

Watch this episode the Learn to Fly podcast and find out about some of the specific steps I took.  If you would prefer to listen to the audio only, the audio file is just below the video.

Avoiding danger is not safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.

HELEN KELLER

Top points from the podcast

When facing a fear ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s the worst that could happen?
  2. What can I do to mitigate worst-case scenario?
  3. If the worst does happen, what are the opportunities in that?
  4. What if best-case scenario happened: what would that look and feel like; what would it mean for my life; what would it mean to my loved ones; what else could happen as a consequence of this

I learnt that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

NELSON MANDELA

It’s easier said than done

I was exceptionally fortunate to be in a position of being surrounded by great support when I went through this life-changing journey.  Perhaps had I not had that support, things may have turned out differently; and today, I could be bitter, negative, sad and living a life of little meaning.  It’s my mission to share what I have learned the hard way, so that you too can find the meaning, fulfillment and joy you deserve.

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive your FREE copy of my ebook on Conditioned for Happiness.  In this ebook I explain what happens in your body when you are happy or unhappy; and I give you practical habits and practices that help your body, mind, heart and soul stay in a space of sustainable happiness even when life throws you a curve-ball!

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

CONFUSCIOUS

CONDITIONED FOR HAPPINESS

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Learn what happens in your body when you are happy or unhappy; and get practical habits and practices to help your body, mind, heart and soul stay in a space of sustainable happiness even when life throws you a curve-ball.

What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear from you.  What has your experience been with this topic?  Do you have some tips or strategies in addition to the one’s mentioned above?  Maybe you have a burning question?  Perhaps you have the solution to someone else’s question.

The best growth and learning comes from engagement and sharing, please comment below and share your thoughts, questions and personal experiences.

Responses

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  1. Hi Alex this such brave step that you have taken I always wonder what you need to do in life just to leave everything behind and tell your self you going to face your fears and stand up on your toes . Felt so encouraged to make good life choice in future  enjoy the new adventures 

    1. Hi Akhona, thank you for the kind words. I am so pleased that you felt encouraged.