I travel regularly, but in the past when I am traveling it is for a purpose. It could be that I am visiting friends or family, going on a work trip, or taking a holiday with friends or a partner. So on my first true solo travel adventure, I decided to go to a place I’d never visited before, I chose Bali.
I don’t know if you have ever travelled solo before, or if the thought is more appealing or repelling. When I booked the trip I was leaning towards the repelling camp myself. It made me a little nervous to think of being in a foreign land with only myself to rely on.
I’m going to be honest, it took a full couple of days to settle into enjoying traveling solo. At first, I felt a bit unsettled. I wanted guidance and structure. I wanted someone else to validate that I was making the right decisions, whatever ‘right’ meant. It was hard to connect to what I truly wanted versus what I thought I should want to do. I kept noticing my mind returning to the expectations I felt (or self imposed) from others, or guidebooks or Tripadvisor…so many opinions that take me further from connecting to my own.
I was also coming face to face with a deeply held limiting beliefs. Perhaps it was because of my Scottish roots, since we have a reputation for being thrifty (among other things!), or because growing up we didn’t have extra money to spend on things just because we wanted them. But my guiding belief was that when I invested, whether my time, money or my emotions then it needed to be practical, good value and ‘right’.
“I want, doesn’t get” was a saying I heard a lot in my house. I know I’m not alone as many clients have told me that they also heard this growing up. This effectively trains us to disconnect from our wants, our desires because we begin to feel that we might be bad for having them.
So I have travelled halfway across the world, which is enough to add some pressure that I must get the maximum value out of my investment of time and money to come to Bali. If I can’t define getting the most out of this trip based on fulfilling my wants and desires (because old conditioning tells me then I won’t get them) then I needed to have some other guiding structure to judge this. In the past this would have meant that I would put enormous pressure on myself to make sure that I saw and did all the important highlights. No temple would be left unseen if the guidebook recommended it, no meal at the same restaurant more than once until I had tried all the restaurants my Facebook friends told me to visit.
However, this past year I have been slowly undoing the conditioning that was limiting life. I have been finding ways to connect with my mind, my heart and my body through understanding my own desire and wants. The challenge has been to move away from the self imposed structure of ‘should’ and ‘must’ and takes steps towards understanding my desire. The question changing from “what should I do to take full advantage of my investment” to “what do I desire to do?” remembering that this is the best way to honour investment.
Old patterns can be hard to resist. When I first arrived in Bali I wrote a list of all the things that I thought I might like to do but truth is, there were a few things I thought I should do on that list too. In fact, I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to find the best and hopefully ‘right’ company to help me fulfil each part of the list. For example, I wrote that I wanted to go on a white water rafting trip, and there is no shortage of companies offering to do that. I felt unable to decide as there were endless mixed reviews about all of them. The thing most people commented on for all the companies was that they relied on people walking down 600 steps to get to the water and climbing back up over 350 steps at the end of the rafting. I had no one to consult. I wanted to raft, but I did not want to walk that many steps while wet and in the humid heat. My body did not want to do the steps, my mind felt conflicted. I had told myself that I would definitely raft in Bali, and the thought of the cool water and the rush of adrenaline were tempting me. Ultimately though as I settled into the slower and gentle pace of Bali I felt myself wanting to listen to my body. I chose to let go of those expectations I had told myself and others of what I would do, and instead went to another yoga class, ate amazing fresh fruit, drank a latte and took a taxi to the beach for a couple of days where I found Nemo hiding in corals and swam next to a turtle.
What does your mind want? Your heart? Your body? Stop, breathe, ask, listen.
If you’d like to be living life fully alive and connected to what you really want, then I encourage you to boldly declare and seek it because you might just get it, and so much more. If you want to undo whatever conditioning has severed connection to your desires then I invite you to get in contact.