Finding the courage to let go of my life
In the summer of 2013, I let go of my past. I chose to follow my dream of travelling abroad, working with wild animals and challenging myself. This became the focal point of my life. So, why did I cancel my lease, quit my anxiety meds from one day to the next, pack up my belongings and get myself fired from my job? I simply woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “I no longer want this life”. I felt an inner calling to turn everything upside down and create a more valuable life. I deserved better.
There were many who expressed concern, perhaps because my metamorphosis took them by surprise. Or maybe they were just worried about my physical and mental welfare. I decided to volunteer for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) in Malaysia for three months. The founders of the center required that I improve my English skills. I took a two-week course at the EF Language School in Manchester, England in September 2013. I was required to speak only English every day during my time in the course.
A secret journey
I decided to make the trip to BSBCC, and the founder was expecting me. We agreed that I would pay for my own room and board while I was volunteering with the BSBCC.I kept my decision to travel to Manchester for English classes a secret from my family. Their uncertainty affected my self-confidence, and they did not think my dream of travelling the world and working with wild animals was realistic. Their doubts made me doubt myself and question my desire to follow my dream. So, I purchased my courses and my Manchester trip without talking to anyone about it.
I then told my mother that I had purchased my trip and would be leaving soon. As I recall, she asked me why I had not asked her about it before deciding. I replied, “So you couldn’t change my mind. My mother and stepfather were concerned that I would suffer some sort of injury while in Malaysia that would make it impossible for me to come home. I calmly told them that I was prepared for whatever may occur.
“You can do whatever you want to do”
Now, I was busy. I needed to buy a flight to Malaysia and the supplies I needed. I need to gather information, pack, and get all of my vaccinations. I got my vaccinations three at a time over a one month period. I was often sick the following day. What kept me moving through it all and believing in myself? I thought a lot about my father and how he often told me, “You can do whatever you want to do”. He was very optimistic and he believed in me. Remembering that instilled me with courage, strength and self-confidence.
Yes, there were days when I felt very alone. Here I reached out to my girlfriends, Camillia, Sidsel, Tina and Rie, who supported my choices. My friends did not doubt me for a second. They knew that I had survived my father's suicide and a violent relationship where I wound up fleeing to a woman's home. The bottom line for them, and for me, was that I had already experienced things most likely far worse than anything the trip to Malaysia could throw at me, so should I fall, I would simply shake myself off and get up again.
I was very excited about my trip to Manchester, since I had never traveled alone before. I went alone to the airport and enjoyed the flight. I was VERY proud of myself for making this decision for myself, choosing to use my inheritance on my dream and not letting the concerns of others slow me down. I was also very excited about what life had to offer and what new doors might open up to me. I was ready for a life change in my life.
“Look out world, here I come!”