I’m back from my holidays and finally getting back to blogging. In fact, I have a notebook full of post ideas, scribbles and sweary words to be getting on with over the coming weeks and months.
For the first time in many years, I took a proper Summer break. My boys and I went on an amazing adventure to the USA to visit friends and we had a blast. It is also actually the first holiday I can remember that I have not come home feeling even more exhausted than when I left, so future breaks have a lot to live up to!!
Now, as you may know, I grew up in Australia so am no stranger to long flights. I’m also pretty confident when it comes to travelling to new places and just figuring things out as I go. I really don’t let much phase me at all these days and I certainly don’t worry about things I cannot control.
So I was very perplexed when a week or so before we were due to travel I started getting really nervous…
What if they wouldn’t let us into the country?
What if I couldn’t drive the hire car?
What if our friends didn’t meet us at the airport?
What if we missed our flights?
And on, and on, and on…
The list was pretty exhaustive and the thoughts went round and round in my head, day and night. I checked and double checked all of the arrangements and I knew everything was right. But there was still that fear that I’d forgotten something. That fear that something would happen that I couldn’t predict or control.
My boys were also getting nervous…
What if her kids don’t like us?
What if we get on the wrong plane?
What if our bags get lost? – Especially the one with the teddy bear in it!
What if we don’t like the food?
So as well as reassuring myself that everything was going to be OK, I was also reassuring them.
Old Habits Die Hard
What I realised was that my old worry habits had not been completely banished. They had been lurking in a dark corner waiting for something big like this trip to come along and had then joyfully sprung out to taunt me: “You can’t do this trip on your own”, “You’re not confident enough to travel without a partner”, “Everything will go wrong – you just wait and see”.
And for a few days, the taunting froze me in fear. I started to doubt my ability and even my right to have a good holiday. I believed it. My old patterns re-emerged and although I was telling my kids that everything was going to be OK, I didn’t believe it myself. I thought it was all going to go horribly wrong.
But only for a few days…
Getting a Grip
After a few days of this insane internal monologue, I decided that I’d had enough. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t how I dealt with challenges and never had been. In fact, I had a 100% pass rate when it came to staying alive and getting through things!
We were going on holiday and we were going to have the best time ever. Period. Fear was not going to stop that!
So, I overdid the planning bit. I wrote list after list and I checked and double checked all of the details I had, even writing a timeline for the entire trip. I did anything and everything I could think of to silence the stupid voices in my head that were telling me what I couldn’t do.
I also took some of my own advice and spent time meditating. I focused on all of the good things we were going to do and answered each and every doubt one at a time. We even took an extra carry on bag just for the large teddy bear that my son insisted on taking so that he wouldn’t get put in the hold and possibly get lost!
The day came for us to leave and everything ran like clockwork. We made it to the USA without a hitch and spent three glorious weeks with my friend, including a 700-mile roadtrip to North Carolina (with me successfully driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and the car) for a week at the beach. The only ‘problem’ on the way home was a delayed flight, but we made the most of an extended stop at Heathrow by snoozing on the loungers Terminal 5. No big deal!
No matter what your fears are, you need to face them head-on.
Life is too short to look back and regret the places you didn’t go, the people you didn’t speak to or the things you didn’t do.
You never know what you might discover if you allow yourself the space to work through the fear and do it anyway. Just come up with your own ways to get through it – like my doublechecked lists!
This experience gave me even more confidence in my own abilities and showed me that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind too. And as for travelling by myself with my boys? I can’t wait to plan our next family adventure!
And as for travelling by myself with my boys again? We’re already planning our next family adventure!