Winter Fear – New Zealand

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A piece from Australia…
November 2016.

As I dig through my backpack for my mini purse full of change to pay for my coffee, I begin to apologize for paying in 20-50cent coins explaining to the barista that I’ll be leaving the country next week and would love to get rid of all my change. The barista asks where I’m going, I tell him Italy. I also tell him that by the time I arrive in New Zealand in April 2017 to begin my visa, I will be embarking on my fifth winter season in a row, adding a very unique experience to my travels. He tells me, “that actually sounds terrible”. Now, this would be the moment where I add some inspirational words to try and convince everyone that one year of winter is incredible and that I am overjoyed with this serendipity.

But I won’t…just yet.

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I’m desperate for the sun and shorts and dresses and sandy feet. I miss the wind touching my bare skin, I miss the sun kissing my shoulders adding new freckles to my body. I miss festivals, picnics, and long walks through the city surrounded by inspiration, art, and that summer energy filtering the air never feeling that urge to run inside, anywhere, just to feel warm or be out of the rain. It seems most people chase the summer and instead I ended up chasing the winter – completely unplanned. It’s definitely a struggle to remain positive about the circumstance as I am now beginning to believe there must be a science behind the psychology of happiness under this much winter gloom. Anyone?

Here is when I will do my best to convince myself that it will all be okay. Because it will.

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The problem is not the weather, the problem is the mindset. You see, this story of the winter wonderland that is my life is the perfect reminder that I am in control of my mind.

Positivity is a choice and I can choose to have regret, worry, fear and stress about the choices that I have made. Particularly, in this case, the time frame I seem to choose traveling in. However, this applies to any given situation. Just remember that whatever is happening, happened, or will happen, simply WILL BE. It’s a strange thing to grasp that while there is nothing you can do, there is everything you can do. You cannot change what has happened, but you can help how you deal with it. Do you want to cement it in your conscious as a positive or negative experience? And if you choose negative, be sure that this experience was essential. Whether this is a minor or major experience, this inevitable act of fate has a domino effect on SOME part of your existence and I believe, as a whole, this is how your life is created and what shapes your character and development. Maybe this person broke your heart so you would deplete all self worth and build yourself stronger than ever to realize that you HAVE the strength to choose positivity. #DominoEffect.

Don’t be mistaken. I’m not a super extroverted glittery bubblegum princess filled with unrealistic positivity day and night. I am simply speaking from personal experience and writing as a reminder to myself as well that it is okay to feel low sometimes. You must. You are only human. Through the low times are your most important moments to prove your strength. You must bring yourself back up and remember to dig for the positive. It is your duty to yourself. It is your duty to those who love you. No matter what the situation, if you can be strong enough to let yourself feel any natural instinctive emotion – sadness, misery, fear, stress – and then choose to push forward ANYWAY, you will have a deeper understanding of your being and believe in your strength and therefore the overall confidence to conquer will flow through your veins. How will you ever achieve this skill if you do not endure tragedy? How do you become strong if you do not know weakness?

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A piece from New Zealand…

The hardest part of traveling: fear.

Every time I get on this rabbit hole of all the fearful thoughts I have about my current lifestyle it always ends in an epiphany about my old lifestyle back in Portland…

The hardest part of “real life”: fear.

Which leads me to believe fear is inevitable in any situation and to let myself be encompassed by its hold will not progress my life in any of the ways I dream. Fear is instinctive. We don’t ask for it to arrive but we can learn to alter the course it takes our minds on. Develop the strength to understand your fears and recognize when they are obstructing your decisions or attitude towards something beneficial to your health and happiness. There are many moments when I fail miserably, but all the moments I choose my happiness over fear is a moment of clarity and a reminder that I am in control. I am powerful and these moments build up and develop an overall happier lifestyle.  If something is upsetting, stressful, or bringing me fear and anxiety, I will always let myself feel that. If I can then reach the point of reality, I then stop and assess. Would I like this situation to continue to let me suffer or would I like to transform this into something that will relieve the anxiety and make myself happy? It seems I must almost manipulate my mind and the situation to transform it into a productive obstacle that I can work with or learn from. Why should I choose to suffer? A simple, yet paralyzing choice at times.

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To aim to live fearlessly is powerful and inspiring. It takes a (general) determined attitude. To live in fear is isolating, restricting, and detrimental. I realize I will always have fears and I believe everyone does. Some stronger than others, some easier to squash than others. Prove to yourself your fears do not run your life. To accept the fearful and negative thoughts that enter our minds and turn them into positive productivity is the ultimate goal. I do not believe in pushing away your negative thoughts. You cannot work on your issues if you do not understand them as deeply as they literally make you feel. To those of you reading this with not one area of your life that could use considerable adjustment, congratulations, you are #1 and I’m sure that you let everyone know it.

My fear of not living a life of travel (abroad) and seeing this world was a strong enough one that took me 25 years to squash. But of course in every situation there is potential for a whole new batch of fears. Old ones may retire and new ones may begin to develop. So why let fear run and/or ruin your life when nothing is constant but change. While my “real life” fears may of taken the back seat for a while as my new and improved fears started to take their place, they may of never went away and in time could always come back around to shake things up – in some cases to break you down and build you stronger and in some cases to remind you that you are exactly where you need to be. I believe all moments are connected and you could spend a wasteful amount of time trying to undo the braid of your life and convince yourself this would be different if “this didn’t happen”. I have taken board to that train many, many times and I can say with no doubt in my mind it has changed nothing in my life and added only anxiety in those moments. This is a series of thoughts I have assessed many times and have therefore trained my mind (and continue to train it) into squashing that fear nearly instantly every time it arises. 

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from One Tree Hill
(a volcanic peak) in Auckland
to
a piece from ‘One Tree Hill’
the TV-series…

“Albert Camus once wrote,
Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.”..
But I wonder, if there’s no breaking then there’s no healing, and if there’s no healing then there’s no learning. And if there’s no learning then there’s no struggle. But struggle is a part of life. So must all hearts be broken.”

 


 

Here is an interview with Pasquale (in photos above) of common questions asked with many relations to fear I felt appropriate for this blog.

a piece from the mind of Pasquale…

Why did you decide to leave Italy?
-Midway through a shower a couple of years ago I have thought since I was young this dream to buy a van and start traveling around Europe and I always blamed the excuse on the fact that my family was not rich. “Mom, if you were rich I would be traveling around Europe”. So in the shower I said I will finish school, the contract with my job will end, and I will travel. No one is holding me back, it is only me. I started looking for plane tickets to London and then my attention was brought to Australia. I decided it was time to get out of the bubble. I was hoping my trip would give me the answers I was looking for. I wanted to make my dad proud of me, he is everything I always wanted to become. Once I got the Australian visa I asked so many people to come with me because I was so scared, but no one came. Nobody felt brave enough. I did not want to use this excuse not to leave and that is it, I left.

How did it feel entering a country (to live there) not knowing the language whatsoever?
-The moment I left Italy (with the first flight) I was so sure I would be able to communicate. Once I arrived in Melbourne at 2am I heard a group of people speaking English and realized I could understand nothing, not even one word. I got lost with all my luggage on my way to the hostel and once I arrived, I barely got the information to my room. The host was basically just waving at me to make me understand. I was panicking, I could not sleep. Everything I had in my head was, “what have I done? I want to go back to Italy. I will buy the first ticket back”. It was totally scary, but I could not go back, I had to do this.

Now after having taught yourself English, what do you find to be the most difficult aspect of practicing this second language on a nearly 24hour daily basis?
-I am always confronted with the reality that English will never be my first language. With native speakers, my accent being what it is, most words I do not pronounce correctly so people sometimes do not understand me. Once you have a base for another language (for me) it seems harder to assimilate as quickly.

-Speaking so much English I forget Italian words that I used to know and it is frustrating because that is my language. I sometimes cannot conjugate sentences like I could before as quickly. It seems I am losing a language to gain another one. I am becoming “okay” in two and not “great” in both. It is hard to keep improving, not every day is the same. There are days where you understand so much and other days you cannot speak and understand like usual. At the beginning it was really mentally tiring and exhausting and you had to take a break from everything. Sometimes people make fun of me. I just wish those people could speak Italian so they could see that I can communicate like I would like. What if you put yourself in their shoes and tried to speak their language? You think they are stupid because they do not speak your language but everyone speaks a first language even though it may not be yours.

What do you miss about home? Likewise, what keeps you from going home?
-FOOD. I miss the food, come on! I miss the landscapes, architecture; there is so much beauty in my country.

-What keeps me from going back? The part of me that thinks if I go back I will never go out again. Now that I have seen a piece of the world I have to keep seeing everything I want to see. Also the mentality of some people in my country. Throwing trash everywhere, destroying and breaking things; while in Australia/New Zealand I do not see this nearly as often.

What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of living a life of travel?
-My girlfriend (we both laugh…a joke right?). First of all, the more you travel the more you delay your life; nothing is stable, you keep moving. You will start what other people start later in life. All the aspects of a career, etc. The fact that you need to front a money situation; you cannot do anything without money (cash) upfront. And the plane tickets are a rip off all the time.

What is the most rewarding?
You earn so much knowledge in other cultures, life aspects that you would not see if you stay in your own country. You get to see a lot of the natural beauty you never thought you would, you get to know yourself really well and become really good at socializing with other people.

What advice would you give someone who wants to travel?
– Just throw yourself. Do not listen to people. People will always have a lot of, “I heard this”, and “I heard that”. Just do not listen to it. Do not expect anything and just throw yourself even if you are afraid. There is nothing better than traveling.

The #1 question anyone asks: how do you afford it?
-With money. Find a way to make the money you need just to start and once you are in the other countries you will figure it out as you go. Whether it be picking shit (literally, on a farm) or being a waiter. You have to be open to do anything that can bring money to your wallet. If you really want money (to travel) you do this and you are grateful for it. The goal you have is much higher than anything else. You learn how to be cheap. You do not buy clothes like you used to, get haircuts like you used to, you learn to eat cheap, and you just do it.

love-laura

 

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