Teeter Into the Unknown
The unofficial end of Summer has arrived and we’re headed into a long weekend. For me, I’ll be staying close to home here in Malibu, but knowing that many will be out and about, I thought this was the perfect time to revisit my recent expedition and the lessons I learned. I found this great quote that embraces what this trip was for me. Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering into the unknown.
Traveling on my own, with my two pups – Thomas and Stella, is definitely a undertaking that required I teeter into the unknown.
First, I must set the record straight – NO, I’m not crazy. I’ve always had a fierce streak of independence from the day I was born and this trip was no exception. Yes, my mother was worried sick, but with me hitting the half century mark this November, she wasn’t surprised to hear I was doing this. She’ll never get used to it, but she knows her words of concern fall on deaf ears at this point. If you don’t know by now, I do have two of the most feared breed of dogs as my companions – so that does help – Thomas is a German Shepherd and Stella, a Pit Bull mix. Not that they would do anything, but I’m pretty certain that if I were in danger, they’d figure out what to do. So, I felt pretty safe.
I have to confess, it’s been quite a while since I’ve headed off into the unknown for a real vacation. Most of my recent trips over the past few years have been for family obligations in Kentucky or for work. All of which are also fun times, but this was the first time in a long time that I had ZERO desire to check my email or even think about “checking in.” For me, that’s a big deal and much needed. I started out calling it my Independence Trip, mostly because I was traveling around the 4th of July, but it turned out to be one of the first lessons I learned on this adventure . . .
So here are my Teeter Into the Unknown Lessons I Learned . . .
- Celebrate Your Independence – Independence is like air to me. Without it, the me that God intended me to be, suffocates. While I do live in a place that I consider to be much like ‘heaven on Earth’ by living in Malibu, I am still guilty of getting into a routine. I’m conscious about being present for each day, but if you don’t change your environment, you’re less likely to grow. If you don’t push your boundaries, you won’t know what you’re capable of. Independence, while it is liberating, comes with a price. It can be isolating. While some celebrate in awe of your deeds, others are simply puzzled. Regardless of where you fall on that scale, this trip taught me that I MUST feed my independence. Whether you have an independent streak or not, I do believe that we all need down time, alone time, an escape in order to recalibrate and get back to center. I find that in fulfilling my thirst for
- Leave Your Comfort Zone – I’ve blogged about this before, and you can find my blog at liveexcellence.com, but this trip put any words I’ve ever thought about or spoken on this subject, into a new reality for me. In order to teeter into the unknown and get a glimpse of that “gorgeous feeling,” you’ve got to go ALL IN! No exceptions. Renting a 25 foot RV, camping on my own most nights and winding up and down altitudes from 5000′ to almost 8000′, winds gusting, people flying by you clocking 80 miles per hour (speed limit in Utah), most assuredly will take you WAY outside your comfort zone. I confess, my first few nights, I was really not liking my decision to do this ‘independence trip’ at all. But I told myself, just trust and keep going. I’m SO glad I did!! Leaving your comfort zone is only painful for a brief moment, but the reward is profound.
- Family is Forever – It was 32 years ago, that my parents took my sister (16 at the time) and myself (17 at the time), on a road trip from Mayfield, KY to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii and back. We stopped to see family and some friends along the way. We drove a Chrysler New Yorker with a pop up camper – YES, I said, pop up camper. Even though prior to this family trip, we’d gone on many vacations, this one was a doozy. A full month on the road – all together – for a full month!! Did I say, we were together in a car for 30 days?!?! While we drove each other almost crazy. But now that time we had together carries for me, some of the best memories. I saw Carl Lewis win two gold medals and break the world record at the 1984 Summer Olympics – he came into the audience and kissed his mother who was sitting two rows IN FRONT OF US!! For me, who was a runner then, THAT was a life changing moment. That trip, 32 years ago, ignited my need for adventure and so much more. In addition to that – 38 years ago, I set off in a motor home with 4 cousins after a family reunion and on this trip to Colorado, we were reunited. I haven’t seen them since then and while much time has passed – for me, it felt like our heartbeats were completely in sync. We instinctually knew one another. There was a love that did not require words – a connection that was unearned. It was sweet and peaceful. And I am so grateful for my time with them. Sometimes we take the ones closest to us for granted, and when we take off on an adventure, it’s those experiences that remind us of the value that family truly holds.
I could go on, because I am my father’s daughter, but these three lessons sum up the largest portion of my trip. Of course, it does leave out some of the other exciting things that happened – things like – DEF Fluid check light came on, you’re probably thinking exactly what I thought – what the F is DEF fluid??, well – NOW I know!! It’s diesel exhaust fluid. So, I added the DEF fluid to the gas tank (NOT supposed to do that). So because I did that, the RV then had to be towed until the next morning while I awaited a mobile RV mechanic. All the while praying they could fix it and I wouldn’t have to be towed another hour and a half in the wrong direction of me trying to get home – ALL of this was in the middle of the Moab desert – YES, desert – Green River to be exact. Feel free to google that really ‘large’ town and laugh along with me. But, in my trusting that I am taken care of AND also taking responsibility for what happens to me – it DID get fixed in short time and I was off again. The next really fun thing that happened while I was traveling along in the desert, my side door – the one that is like 7 feet tall, not the passenger or driver door, FLIES open and the automatic steps POP out – all while I’m driving 70 miles an hour and trying to hold on to Stella so she won’t just think it’s fun to jump out or better yet, get sucked out of the door!! YES, I was able to safely pull over and take care of everything. But again, that was my fault, because in my haste to get the heck back on the road after my mechanical break down, I did forget to secure the door. All lessons: taking 100% responsibility and celebrating my ability to conquer every single solitary mile of this trip!!
Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the books on audio that also expanded my knowledge and my spirit during this adventure. Here are the three I downloaded in preparation for my trip and was able to get through all of them.
- Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg – the secrets to being productive in life and in business
- Presence by Amy Cuddy – Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – this one I’ve read before, but I wanted to revisit it and I’m so glad I did because it was the last one I listened to on my journey and considering my adventures, it definitely spoke louder to me than it had previously.
So, would I do this again – 100% YES!! That teetering into the unknown feeling is most definitely gorgeous. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to teeter into the unknown – you’ll be celebrating the magnificence that God put within you and my eyes are full with God’s beauty!!
I wish you Safe Travels and Teeter ON this Labor Day weekend!!
Thank you for joining me today and until next time – LIVE Excellence!