Super stoked about my ability to stay on track with writing and finally making a commitment to move forward with the trip, I dove into the romanticism of planning. The excitement was tangible and contained the certain fuel I needed to purchase tickets and lodging. Unfortunately, my head was about to be swiftly and strategically extracted from the clouds. A few days after purchasing airfare and lodging, the plumbing at my house decided to go on full strike!
Diagnosis of the problem: tree roots in the sewer line. Initial cost: $5,500.
November 5th, 2016 was a day chock full of rapid-fire acceptance. I found myself locked in a wicked cycle of being momentarily paralyzed, followed by bouts of uncontrollable sobbing. The truth was, I didn’t have the choice of postponing the repair and the idea of spending more money on top of the already purchased tickets launched me straight into financial fear. The expense of having twenty feet of sewer line replaced made me seriously consider the necessity of a vacation. However, I remembered that I couldn’t get my money back and I didn’t have the luxury of time to lament my feelings. All that was left to do was to take action, so I authorized the repair. After a good night’s sleep, my system was able to calm down considerably and Sunday, shortly after waking, I hit the books hoping to stumble on a bit of inspiration.
At any given time, my kitchen counter is home to three inspirational books. Two of the titles are static and one changes as needed. In the wake of Saturday’s chaos, the daily meditation books were my first choice. I figured that I needed to remain as positive as possible and keep my head in gratitude if I were going to get through the day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any encouragement, so I reached for the third book, Vagabonding – An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long Term World Travel, written by Rolf Potts.
I purchased this book a little over a year ago, hoping to find out more information about world travel. Not having had a job for two years, I decided that taking a leap of faith was better than sitting around waiting for something to happen. I read each page with fervor, and the information contained within acted as soul food. Inspiration, coupled with levelheaded suggestions flowed from each of the two hundred pages. Stuck in a struggle to find serenity, I decided that levelheaded suggestions were what I chiefly needed. I picked up the book and turned to the chapter entitled, ‘Earn Your Freedom’. There it was in black and white:
Work is a time to dream about travel and write notes to yourself, but it’s also the time to tie up your loose ends. Work is when you confront the problems you might otherwise be tempted to run away from. Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts – so that your travels are not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life.
Though I was still quite emotional, the words opened my mind to the idea that this event was the catalyst I needed to set myself free. It was clearly time to confront problems, and settle some financial and emotional debt so I could embark on the next adventure. Unfortunately, information like this takes time to settle in. When the plumbing company showed up an hour after my epiphany, I was not yet ready to come from a place of full surrender. Even so, time waits for no man and it certainly was not about to wait for me.
Shortly after his arrival, the plumber finished his follow-up and knocked on the door to update me on the condition of the partially fixed sewer line. Sheepishly he said, “I am sorry ma’am, but it looks like you are going to need more work.” I asked him what the bottom line was and he said, “It is going to cost another $5,500.”
I went into shock. The idea of paying $11,000 was too overwhelming. I had to press pause and get quiet. However, getting quiet enough to receive guidance from within while, at the same time, being thrown entirely into one’s pre-frontal cortex is no easy task. A Ping-Pong match was taking place in my head as I ran through a litany of questions and a list of pros and cons. It was exhausting and I needed time to let the information settle. In an effort to buy time, I worked out a deal where I could make a decision the following morning. Taking this space allowed me to get quiet enough to hear the calm, quiet voice say, “It’s going to be okay, Jen. It’s time to get to work.”
A year ago, something like this would have stopped me altogether and I would have taken up residence on my couch for an interminable length of time. However, as I continue to take action, I continue to grow in faith. Although painful at times, surrender is awesome! This event blessed me with the ability to confront my problems; and as a result, I am finally able to let go of my house. In addition, I am happy to note that I haven’t stopped writing!
When I made the decision to go to Scotland, I believe that at some level of consciousness, I was running away. As I continue to walk this new path, I no longer feel as though I am running away from anything. Today I am leaning in and running toward!