Why I’m terrified to get on a plane in 7 days… and why I’m going anyways.
First published on Medium
I relocate from Canada to the UK in 150 hours. I have a work visa for 2 years starting July 28. I’ve been working on this plan for over a year…
…and after an uncharacteristically emotional weekend, I’m realizing that it’s probably not hormones making me tear up at every little thing. As it turns out, grand adventure is all very well in theory, and stunningly intimidating from close up.
A little background: I’m a compulsive control-freak of a perfectionist.
A little more background: Just over a year ago, I’d worked my way up to business analyst in an international engineering firm. After years of scrambling to be taken seriously as a professional and valued for my work (female + working in marketing = basically a secretary, apparently), I was finally on my way to success and enough power to make a difference.
Except not. Politics, power struggles, poor communication, burnout… on the verge of finally making it, I walked away. I was done. Done sticking around and trying to make the wrong place be the right one.
It had been a decade of trying really hard to do all the right things in Vancouver. Get the education. Get the career. Get the money and the respect and the power. I’d been working away at doing all the right things so long, I’d lost sight of the fact that I’d never cared about any of it. And I was starting to realize that I’d become the sort of corporate drone of a grown-up that my 12-year-old self would have hated.
So I decided to do something crazy. I would move to Scotland. Where companies were better run and housing was (hopefully) cheaper. Have adventures. Travel. Be recognized for my skills and stop being punished for being a woman and not a nurturer. Make way more money with less pressure and lower cost of living.
And then someone asked me what I actually wanted to do.
Not what did I need to do, what did I have to do, what should I do. Not what was the next step on the road to more.
And to my horror, I had absolutely no idea. But I did have time to figure it out.
So I took a full year off from it all. I wrote a book. I obsessed. I read a lot of other books. I spent time with friends and family. I went for runs in the forest. I started to dream again. I got less desperate.
But now, I’m scared.
I’m scared to get on that plane next week. I’m scared that the real world, the grown-up, practical world will suck me in again. I’m scared that my book will never make it out into the world, and equally scared that it will have been a terrible waste of a year, and also afraid that I’ll never get to write again. I’m scared that I’ll run out of money and crash and burn. I’m scared to leave the comfortable, convenient little cocoon that I’ve been privileged to live in for the past year.
And I’m scared to leave people behind, because in the end, those connections were the things that mattered out of the last decade, the things that made any and all of that misery worthwhile.
But I’m not going to be that control-freak drone that takes all the right steps and hates every minute of it as all her dreams are lost and forgotten. I’m going to be the adventurer and artist and explorer and dreamer that I so admired. I’m going to publish a book and write, and publish more books, and live in beautiful places and take risks.
So because I can be brave, and I can be strong, and I can take risks and I can keep dreaming and keep creating, I’ll get on that plane next week. And I’ll be the person that the 12-year-olds in my life can look up to and feel like it’s worth growing up to be.
You can follow my journey of travel, writing, angst and indie publishing at kaie.space