The love of travel was bestowed upon me by my mom, who began to follow her wanderlust spirit in her mid-40’s. She didn’t come from a family of adventurous travelers. No. She was raised in a very small midwestern town where you could probably count on one hand those who had a passport.
So when she hit it, she hit it hard. Off and running... she was collecting passport stamps like they were free coupons being handed out at the grocery store.
She met some wonderful people, but frequently traveled alone. She picked some fascinating countries to work in and it was the love of adventure that fueled her fire. Passion-fueled, the force to do better, for herself – by herself, drove her. Alone, she thrived. None of my other friend’s mothers were like her. I used to wish she’d come home. Later, I simply wished that I could join her.
As a result of having her as a role model, I’ve visited and lived in some pretty kick-ass places in the world. I’d frequently join her on globetrotting journeys.... riding a camel in the Sahara Desert in Egypt, or trekking along the Mae Taeng River in Thailand, or visiting Buddhist Temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. The list goes on. I could talk to you all day about some of the amazing places we’ve seen...
She inspired me. As a result, I too, frequently traveled solo.
While the love of travel fueled my soul, living alone in a foreign country was life-changing. I can honestly say, it’s where I grew up. Where I learned truly, to be on my own. Where I learned, to not give a fuck. Because it’s truly hard to care about what other people think of you – when you don’t share the same language or cultural norms. That concept alone, was terrifying. It was also exhilarating because it was me versus me. I had nothing else to fall back on. So with the chips all in, win or lose, I went for it.
Passion-fueled, the force to do better, for myself – by myself, drove me. It forced me to look in the mirror and view my competition. And that competition was me. It was one of the best life lessons I could have ever experienced.
Alone, I thrived. Alone, I overcame.
Someone recently said to me in jest, “What can’t you do?” At first I wasn’t sure how to take it as the remark initially stung, but after some reflection I thought, “Damn straight, girl! Take that as a compliment!”
I’m sure there’s a lot that I can’t do. But I know this, if there’s something I’ve got my mind and heart set upon doing, I sure as hell will give it a good try. You see, I’ve had a great role model who instilled confidence, independence and the navigation skills to figure things out. She didn’t compete with anyone. She competed with herself. And that’s how she got ahead.
“It’s Not Your Job To Like Me, It’s Mine.” -Byron Katie
As someone who knows me, I will support, uplift and empower you as much as I can. But compete with you? No. I won’t do that. If you don’t like that or me. That’s your choice. It’s your business, not mine as to why or how, you’ve come to that conclusion. I’m not searching for your approval because it’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.
So yes, the unique-combo of having my mom as a positive role model and the love of independent travel forced me to reckon with myself. Amidst the quiet and sometimes voluminous solitude of being alone, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need other people’s approval to be who I was meant to be. Does everyone agree with that? Nope. And that’s ok.
So be it, they aren’t my people.
As I kick-off 2022, I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, or pick a word of the year, or start any new routines or work-out regimens. What I did choose to do, however, is to be mindful about my relationship goals. Very specifically, for the relationship I have with myself.
I wrote this as a reminder.
Letting go of what other people think is a must in order to be authentically you. In order to be happy in your own skin. Those who know you – know you. And trust me, those are the people that have your back.
P.S. My mom is retired, living in Florida and still tries to travel as much as she can! Stayed tuned for my next blog out later this month about, “Comparison being the Thief of Joy.”