I never realized I felt like a visitor in my own country until recently relocating to Raleigh.
Now that I’m here and experiencing the feelings that I am, I know that was what that unsettled feeling always was. That desire to roam and seek, feeling like I never belonged, or perhaps not even wanted.
I thought I just wanted to travel. I though I just enjoyed being free and turning up in places not knowing anyone and not being able to be found.
That definitely comes into play, and it’s because of that, I ended up here in Raleigh. The most random and uncanny choice for a girl addicted to sunshine, gum trees, and beaches.
You only know what you know
How could I have known that the experiencing the depth and beauty of of the four seasons, and the energy of the mountains, oak trees and pine forests would enrich my soul more?
For the first time in my life, I feel I have roots. I literally feel as if my legs have become tree trunks and they refuse to budge from this place.
I’ve never felt like this before and I wonder if other people feel the same way.
Is that why some people never have a desire to travel? Is it because their tree trunk legs won’t let them?
My life in Raleighhttps://thisisraleigh.com gives me a deep satisfying love that enables me to feel very present in my everyday moments.
Simple things like shopping at Trader Joes or Costco’s puts me in a joyful state. I walk around humming with this feeling of love surrounding me and I whisper, I love this so much. Like I looooove living here so much.
Who would be filled up by grocery shopping like that?
While not everything is perfect, as that is life, I couldn’t tell you one complaint I have about living here. (except that my family and friends aren’t here)
Without a doubt Raleigh is where I belong. (btw, Craig feels the same way, which makes us both lucky, as it might prove a challenge otherwise!)
When I was traveling through Tirol, Austria last year with some other blogging friends, I described to them how I instantly felt Raleigh was my home the minute I first arrived in 2004. I couldn’t explain it. I just looked at the pine trees through the window of my airport transfer and was overwhelmed with this rushing feeling of I am home.
They listened in awe and I could see that restless spirit within them as they asked,
“Do you think that can happen to everyone? Do you think that one day you can find that special place just for you? I feel like I’m going to be endlessly looking.”
“Yes I do. I think everyone has a soul home. Some are born there, and others, for whatever reason have to go on a journey to find it. If you are open to it, and willing to make the sacrifices for it, you’ll find it and you’ll just KNOW when you do.”
The restless spirit of a travel
I just thought I was, and always would be a gypsy. I struggled to accept that for so long as no one who’s not a gypsy wants you to be a gypsy.
When I finally owned it, I felt so liberated. I’m a gypsy whether I like it or not and will always travel. So let’s go.
But now I know I just hadn’t found my place yet.
I still have that gypsy spirit – one that desires freedom, adventure and change but I am not longer desperate to jump on a plane to get it.
I replied to an email subscriber the other day who spoke to me in terms of a restless spirit, and I told her,
“this unquenchable thirst you have for freedom, doesn’t always mean you have to go traipse across the globe to satisfy it.
On my journey to have it, I created my own travel business, which now gives me that sense of freedom I thirst for. Now I’m quite content to NOT travel, because my desire for freedom is quenched.
So you can have what you seek a little closer to home. Don’t delay experiencing that value until you have enough money to travel. Ask yourself, how can you bring that sense of freedom into your life now?”
Trust in your life’s journey
Take the journey. Enjoy the twists and turns and its varying levels of speed.
It is bringing to you everything you need to become the person you need to be to get the dream you desire.
It may be a wild ride that takes you on unsuspecting paths, but eventually it will bring you to your home, your heart’s desire, the thing that makes you feel alive in every second of the day.
It’s how we are designed to live.
I have been exploring the heart recently. Randomly. Through books and documentaries that just happened along my path. That’s what happens when you follow your heart and trust in the journey.
I’ve always told people follow your heart and trust in your gut. My life’s journey has taken me through some painful lessons to learn that the gut can never be ignored. It is non-negotiable for me now to turn from its advice.
I’ve been learning how the heart is our connection to life (I mean more than pumping blood around and helping our bodily system work).
It’s the life force – the spirit that connects us to each other and to the OTHER.
Recent heart studies have proven that it’s the heart that communicates to the brain which quickly sends the message to our gut. So while it feels like that intuition is coming from our gut, it actually originates from the heart.
A study from Heart Math, had participants hooked up to wires that could read their heart waves. They were randomly shown a series of photos – some invoking fearful and distressed emotions – and some invoking loving and peaceful emotions.
They monitored the heart to see how it reacted. What they found was fascinating.
The heart knew what the image was going to be before it was shown. The heart patterns showed that at least 20 seconds before the (random) image was shown it either steeply dropped if the next image was a negative one, or gently rise if it was a positive one.
Your heart knows. Your heart has your back.
Follow your heart
I followed my heart here to Raleigh. It didn’t make much sense to me. I didn’t make any sense to anyone else. It’s the question I get most,
Why did you leave Australia for Raleigh?
They think I’ve made a stupid decision and I’m sure some people think it will end up a disaster.
I’m sure you have encountered similar resistance before when you’ve chosen to follow your heart.
Other people don’t know what is in your heart. They only know what is in theirs.
Follow your heart only.
Your heart knows even before you know, and definitely before anyone else.
It will always guide you to that place where you feel deep and fulfilling love, even when you’re pushing a shopping cart around.
I don’t know what else the heart has in store for me. I don’t know why I’m here in Raleigh. I just know I’m home and I’ll stay as long as my heart keeps telling me so.
Back in March, I was closing keynote at the Women’s Travel Fest conference in New York. I spoke about how to create your dream life. My final words were to trust in the journey and experience it fully without trying to take short cuts.
Our journey to here started in 2004 with a random teaching placement in Raleigh North Carolina, an opportunity I happened to discover picking up a teacher’s union magazine (who even reads that?) and finding an ad for teachers in the US.
AS you know, we loved it and wanted to stay permanently. It caused us to chase stupid online business and invest in the wrong things. Hello GFC, housing and stock market crash! (you can read more about that here)
We lost nearly half a million dollars in assets and ended up with $30,000 in credit card debt. All of this lead me to soul search pretty deeply until I learned to return to that which I truly love and to actually create the idea I had at my kitchen table in 2007.
The one where my heart told me to start a travel blog, except my doubt and insecurity got in the way and told me, “no way you are not good enough. No one cares nor will read your stories (now half a million people do every month).”
But this time in 2010 I listened to my heart because I had no other choice but to listen. I was at rock bottom and the heart said,
Are you ready now to trust me?
So I did. I returned to that which I loved – travel and sharing it with others.
So the blog grew until it got to the point where the US government said you are extraordinary enough to return to this country on a non-immigrant visa.
And now we have very high chances of getting a green card to make it more permanent than just a three year permission.
The heart has brought me home by way of quite the extraordinary, dizzy journey that has helped me become a much better version of myself.
See how the heart brings forth miraculous surprises to lead you back to the path of your true purpose and your true home?
Be open to it. Trust in your heart. Follow your heart. Keep it open for miracles and love.
And you will find your home, whether that’s through a travel life or not.
Do you struggle to follow your heart? What miracles have happened for you when you do?
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Please share this post with someone you think it can inspire. Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we all lived from our hearts more?