Reader, I’m so excited to announce a new project I’ve been working on. Let me tell you how it started.
Several weeks ago, I completed a project outlining the story of how I was a little bit brave and came to Korea. (You can read them all here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4…) In an attempt to share with you how others have been a little bit brave, I decided to start asking some friends to share their stories with you as guest bloggers on this site.
Each month, I’ll be posting an article by another blogger who took a leap and moved themselves away from everything that was familiar to find the next “right” step in their life. First up: Anna Wickham. Anna is a friend of mine from university and is living (as you guessed from the title) a little bit brave in the Philippines.
To read more of her awesome stuff, check out Anna’s blog, The Worldly Blend.
So, without further ado, here’s a little bit brave… in the Philippines. Enjoy. :)
It’s not that I’ve never left home before. But when I was invited to come live on a remote island in the Philippines, where there are frequent “brownouts” (power outages) and many residents don’t even have running water, I had a few reservations. After all, the 6-month temporary position I was filling had been filled before by 7 people: all men. More than just my mother expressed concern about a young woman venturing out on her own.
To tell you the truth, the basic living conditions in my new home, Puerto Galera, and the 4-hour trek from Manila were the least of my worries: I was going to the Philippines on a sort of work sabbatical, to “get away from it all” while I started my own online business. Building a business proved hard in Arizona, where I was living before. The distractions of my social circle, as well as the pressure to pay rent interfered with my productivity while I tried to start up my business. That’s why I was going all the way out to this remote island in the first place: to learn how to sustain my lifestyle singlehandedly, with no employer.
But all of that fear was swept aside as soon as I got off the boat at the pier in Puerto Galera. Smiling, friendly faces greeted me at the dock, and everyone was so friendly and warm. I immediately felt at home in this small town so far from home.
Along the way, I learned a lot about managing fear. A lot of people think that I’m fearless because I’m constantly embarking on new adventures, often on my own. But in reality, I’m often scared shitless. But I’ve gotten used to putting myself in positions where the only way is forward, and I can’t go back. Here’s how I’m able to be a little bit brave no matter where I go:
1. Your emotions are not reliable.
Sure, when you’re on a plane going to a new destination and you’re completely alone in the dark airplane cabin, you think to yourself, “What the hell was I thinking??” But that doesn’t mean you can rely on those feelings. Turning back at that point is almost always a huge mistake. Your only option is to trust the choice you’ve already made and move forward. I can promise you it will be worth it.
2. Your reward for getting out of your comfort zone is a whole new world.
While it’s never fun for me to say goodbye to my friends, family, and established social networks in order to explore a new destination, I’m always rewarded for my leap of faith with a whole new group of wonderful, interesting people wherever I end up. With friends all over the world, I feel like the luckiest girl in the universe.
3. Ignore the noise.
There will always be haters, and there will always be well-meaning folks who are afraid for your safety. Unfortunately, many of those folks are misinformed. At some point, you have to keep moving on despite the noise that surrounds you. After all, 5 years down the line, you will have no one to answer to but yourself. Did you reach your goals? Or do you have regrets?
4. It’s ok to be afraid.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it’s ok to be afraid of your next step. What’s not ok is letting fear stop you from achieving your dreams.
Today, I write this post from my “office” on the beach in a tropical paradise. I’m thankful everyday that I managed to muster the courage to leave home and embark on this adventure. So what adventure awaits you on the other side of your fear? There’s only one way to find out.
BIO: Anna Wickham is a digital nomad running a location independent business from her laptop while she sits on a remote and beautiful island in the Philippines. Her next stops include (but are not limited to) Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, and Berlin. She blogs about travel and the location independent lifestyle at The Worldly Blend.
*This post has also been submitted in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: Places.