My Secret: I’ve been too afraid to travel

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I have a secret confession to make. Since we started this blog in 2010, I’ve often written on here feeling a little bit like a phony.

We tell people all the time that it is easy to travel and you can find the way. We share our advice on saving and smart spending choices on the road.

We hear your fears about not having enough money and we tell you that if you desire it enough you’ll find the way and to just start.

We encourage you to get over your fears and embrace this travel lifestyle because we believe you can do it and we know how much it will positively influence your life.

We know this because we have lived it for 15 years. So in that respect, our authenticity and authority with our advice shines through.

BUT, I have to let you in on my little secret.

I’ve actually been afraid, and my fear has kept us from living our travel dream for a couple of years now.

too afraid to travel

While we have been believing in and supporting your ability to do it, we have been tremendously doubting our own.

I know many of you by now have read our post called I want to know your secret. It was a raw and honest post about our journey into travel blogging and how it began from our financial disaster in which we lost everything we had worked hard for – a total of $500,000.

Before that, I had so much faith in my ability to make the right decisions. I had so much faith in the Universe to support my dream and bring to me everything I needed to make it a reality.

I lived by that faith and as a reward I had a life of constant travel. And that is why I continue to encourage your dreams because I know you can do it and I know how you can.

But, for myself, losing that amount of money wiped out my confidence and faith. It drove me straight down into a tunnel of despair and fear.

When the bills are piling up and you have negative dollars and no idea how you can turn it around, you can no longer see the path to your dreams and you lose all hope.

It’s a shitty place to live from.

If you read that post, you know we’ve slowly climbed out of the black hole, but the fear has remained, crippling me from moving toward the travel life I truly desire.

I had plenty of valid reasons:

“Once we get X amount of dollars in the bank, we’ll go… Once we have consistent income we’ll go…. Once we have a back up plan we’ll go…. We’ll just wait until we get our first sponsor…. We have to make sure we have lots of money in the bank for a security net…. We can’t come home to nothing and start from scratch again…. We’ve got two children now, it’s different”.

These were supported by my wishful thoughts:

Life will be so much better when we are… I’ll be happier when… If I could just spend my days doing this then I’ll be happy.

I was fooling myself into believing the wishes would bring the fairy godmother and soon all would be solved. I wouldn’t have to make a decision and take action, the magic wand would do it all.

It was sort of. Travel didn’t stop coming for us, but it was never in the way we wanted. We continued to feel like phonies.

When you stray from your path, the Universe kicks your arse

The Universe does not like it when you do not live your true heart’s calling. It does not like it when you don’t contribute in the best way you can.

Let me tell you one other little secret before we move forward. And it’s one that fills me with immense anguish, guilt and regret.

You know those decisions you relive over and over again, kicking yourself over and over again for not making the other choice.

I didn’t make the other choice that time because of fear and doubt as well.

I sat in my living room in 2007 (the one I owned free and clear) with my grand plan mapped out in front of me. These were my thoughts:

“Are you kidding Caroline? Who is going to want to read your travel stories? You are a CRAP writer.” and then “How could you compete with Lonely Planet anyway?”

And so I took that road map and threw it in the bin. You know what was in it right?

My idea for a travel blog, where I’d share all our travel stories and tips and build a community of travel addicts around it.

I threw the plans out!!!!

And carried on with my comfy, complacent couch life.


So the Universe stepped in and kicked my arse so hard for 3 years until I paid attention and got back on the track to creating that damn travel blog.

You know how hard it kicked right? $500,000 worth of lessons. Could I possibly drop a whole sentence of f-bombs here right now?

I wonder if the tears over that choice I made will ever stop. The only thing that pulls me out of that darkness is my belief that everything happens at the perfect time and perhaps the Universe wanted me to live through those years of pain in order to become a better person and so contribute in a better way.

I hope.

Leaving a better legacy than that is what drives me most.

So that brings me back now to our current fear and how the Universe has helped me act despite of it. In other words, arse kicking number 2 coming up.

Travel on our terms

We haven’t been living the travel life that we really want for the past 3 years.

There’s been lots of travel for sure, BUT It’s not really enjoyable because we have been travelling more in a style that doesn’t often feel very real. It is, but it isn’t.

A lot of it has been for business so it is orchestrated, rushed and inflexible, and it’s certainly not relaxing. It’s travel that doesn’t open itself to a lot of deep lessons, spiritual truths or connections. And I love to travel for these reasons.

There has been so much missing. Travel on our terms.

Travel that involves us seeking what speaks to our heart the most. Travel that involves flexibility and randomness and days where we answer to no one,and, more importantly, our possessions.

The owning of stuff and the pressure to maintain them overwhelms and panics me. So much of our time is spent maintaining the stuff when it should be spent creating the memories and embracing each beautiful moment.

I just want my suitcase, my family, the open road, and a life over-brimming with joyful memories.

The ultimate time and travel freedom. We know exactly how that looks, but we just did not have enough faith in our ability to create it. We were scared to take the leap of faith so we kept telling ourselves we weren’t ready yet.

I used to be the type of person who would pack my bags on a whim and hit the road. I’d turn up in a new country with barely a cent to my name, and that is no exaggeration—well I think I had $70 when I arrived in Dublin.

I never really felt afraid; I felt supported and I trusted in myself to figure it out.

I lost that trust when we lost $500,000.

It’s been so difficult to believe in my ability to make the right choice again. To listen to my heart and follow my gut. To believe that I can create what I really want.

Even when the shit hits the fan and you don’t believe there is something greater than you holding you up, it’s there holding you up.

And it will make you pay attention eventually.

Arse kicking number 2

For the last few months I’ve been pretty miserable. The heavy travel / workload has taken its toll.

I have been struggling with exhaustion, low immunity, emotional swings, and a ton of food allergies and digestive issues. It’s only recently become apparent how the travel — the love of my life — has in fact hurt me.

It’s been a battle: a scary one at times, but I’ve been working with some fantastic healers: those who help you find the causes and heal on a whole person level, not the ones who just want to cure the symptoms.

I tried those ones and their pills, pain-killers, and surgeries did nothing. It’s my holistic healers who have helped bring my health back.

And maybe it has been the lessons that I’ve finally learned too.

My body and soul is craving for me to return to slooooow travel (like our travel manifesto says), to do it on my terms, and to reconnect with nature.

Do you ever sometimes feel that if you just lived out of a tent beside the gum trees you’d be in an eternal state of bliss?

That’s the bliss I am re-inviting back into my life.

I’ve also been overburdened by the lack of family time. The truth is we get way more than most working families. We are fortunate that we can work our schedule most of the time around the girls and they are a part of our business.

But, it’s the smaller moments I miss. Losing time to them in order to clean, sending them off to school and missing the lessons, tears, laughter and joy. I feel like we’ve been stuck living a life centered around the motions, when it should be around the joy that is in each moment—those that offer spontaneity, discovery, fun and relaxation.

I get more of that when I travel and when I travel on my terms.

I think we all do

The Universe will finally hit you in a place that forces you to pay attention. It did that when it hit my health.

I realized some very important truths:

  1. Health is everything.
  2. Love and family is everything.
  3. I’m not doing what I really want to do and contributing in the best way.
  4. These three things are all that matter.
  5. Living your best life is everything. Living a life without regret is everything. Making the best of every moment is everything.
  6. Staying put on a comfy couch because you are frightened is ridiculous. Before you know it the years have slipped by and you are left wondering what life has been for. You’ve not contributed, you’ve not loved enough, you’ve not lived enough and all because you were afraid.
  7. Kill the fear and live. What’s the worst that can happen?

If that sounds like you right now then I understand why you are afraid.

It’s because you don’t believe in yourself. You don’t believe that you will be supported.

Let me tell you you are.

When our buts were kicked and we finally got back onto the path we were meant to be on, the Universe brought us everything we needed.

It said, “Okay you said yes. You’re following your true path, you’re committed. I am going to help you out.”

We turned it around and made this blog a success in a very short time.

Before our disaster, I have always travelled on little money. I just packed my bags, following my intense desire and trusting myself to figure it out. Every single time the Universe supported me and brought to me what I needed to make it work.

Every. Single. Time.

Knocking down the brick walls

Randy Pausch said,

Randy Pausch quote

I know what it’s like to constantly be met by brick walls. I know how hard it makes your head and heart hurt.

I don’t really have any logical advice as to how you can blast through the walls. I only have woo woo metaphysical advice. But, trust me when I say this, it is what I have followed all my life to travel.

I’ve craved it with every cell in my body, I dreamed it, I followed the advice of those who did it, and then I just went. I trusted with every cell of my body that I would find a way and the Universe will support me, and it did. I really can’t tell you anything else but this—that is the secret.

The only time this has not happened was when I stopped trusting myself and as a result the Universe. So I remained stagnant and once again the Universe kicked my arse until I finally said enough.

My health issues gave me a completely new perspective—they allowed me to see the brevity of life.

It is too bloody short to wait around for the fairy godmother, to live in complacency, to be a victim, and to live anything less than your dreams.

You are in control, you just have to smash down those brick walls and say

“Fuck it I am going to do it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Take the chance.

I know how terrifying taking a chance feels. I feel it every day, but the difference is that now I am going to act in spite of it. I refuse to let fear control my life any longer.

And so with heart pounding I’ll keep on moving through those bricks and believe we can make this work.

I said to Craig:

“Fuck it. We’ve been dying to re-embrace this slow travel life. One where we just go and travel on our terms and live every day in complete joy with our two beautiful children. The years are slipping by. Savannah is almost 2 and Kalyra is half way through her first year in school.

We’ve tried to make this a reality for 2 years now, but the brick walls have been there. The brick walls have been there because we built them with bricks of fear.

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of accepting less than our dream. I’m tired of allowing sickness and unfulfillment to dominate my days. I’m setting a date and we’re making plans and we are doing it. I don’t know how to make this work, but we will. Because we can.”

Just like the old days when I lived by my heart and was guided by my soul.

“This is what I want, so get those goddam brick walls out of my way.”

We brought the Lonely Planet and sat down to make the plans.

Within a week the brick walls parted. Just like platform 9 and 3/4, the doors appeared the minute we began to believe.

The Universe began to deliver in ways we never expected. We were once again supported.

Now we believe in it so much that we are announcing it here on this blog. It’s massive. We are so goddam excited. My inner being is vibrating again and my health is finally taking a turn in the right direction.

Thank you for the giant liberating kick up the arse Universe. I now understand what we have to do.

We’re still not completely sure how it’s all going to work out, but we totally trust that we are covered. We know we can make it work because we are smart, we have skills, we have expertise, we have back-up plans.

We’ve got a savings buffer, plus monthly income from our online work that will sustain us. We also have 15 years of world travel under our belt—we know all the tricks for cheap and free travel.

We know that you don’t need millions to create life-long memories. All you need you have within yourself.

What fears are stopping you from travelling or doing what you really want?

Do you think you could act in spite of them and blast through those brick walls?


UPDATE: Here is the post that announced our exciting plans: 1 Year Road Trip Around Australia


80 thoughts on “My Secret: I’ve been too afraid to travel”

  1. Wow! You have been brave enough to say it aloud…now the magic can begin! I am excited for you all…dreams do come true!

    1. Thank you Val! I like to say things out loud like this because then I know I really can’t turn back!! Now I’m scared beyond belief but also really excited.

  2. We’re afraid too! For all sorts of reasons -worried we’ll regret living away from our parents while they’re still around, worried about money, worried about whether we’ll feel like we’re isolated overseas and don’t have any real friends, worried about whether to have kids or not……etc etc This post and Craig’s one that’s linked to are so good. I didn’t comment on Craig’s but I was a massive league fan growing up so I was probably watching his games!

    1. He used to have a mullet!!! He tried to deny that one so much and then one day my Aunt phoned after seeing him on a replay and said, “I didn’t know Craig used to have a mullet!!” LOL
      All these fears are so valid. I don’t think we can ever escape our fears we just have to learn to live with them. I think you have to sit with each fear and come up with some sort of logical plan, how can you come up with a way to still do what you want, but that will calm your fears as well.

  3. You have spoke to me on a million levels Caz, many words, thoughts & feelings that have been bubbling away in the background with me for quite some time now and more recently feeling rather agitated by them because I know I need to sit back and really LISTEN. hmmm.
    I am SO thrilled for you guys, and VERY excited for the journey, experiences, adventures & blessings which lies ahead for you & your beautiful family. In addition to living your authentic dream and journey, there will be such a magnitude of opportunities which will present themselves and serve you all – on SO many levels! YAY! xxxx

    1. Yes. Time for you to sit back and really listen Kim! I think it is amazing how the Universe will bring you those little pushes–this post for one is bringing those thoughts to the surface for you now to face, because you really have to. Everything is so connected. I love it. The agitation is always a sign that great change is coming and things are getting shaken up for you–which is always an exciting thing. Out with the old in with the new. Go for it Kim!!
      Thank you so much always for your support and encouragement. We appreciate it and I’m hear for you to help boost you up too.

      1. It sure is amazing….the old universe and flow of life. And it is so true, when you let go of something or consciously open up space – it creates a channel for a new opportunity to come through.
        Thank you for your thoughts too lovely. I don’t think I have every really settled since returning back to Australia in 2005 (8 years ago, which frightens me)… I need to sit down with a journal and do some vision boarding, brainstorming and see that comes through. And revise our goals, which has been challenging of late as we have been going like cut cats hahaha. Anyway, I am SO thrilled for you guys….living with purpose and passion really does fuel the soul!! And what a blessing for your precious little girls…expericences, TIME together, growth, resilience, flexibility, magic moments and all the rest!! Simply wonderful! x

  4. We’re afraid, too! We’re afraid to start our business in Istanbul, even though we know we’ll be supported (even financially, especially in the beginning stages). I don’t know exactly what’s holding us back. But we built our website & then stopped. Your article has given me a little kick up the butt to just get our shit together & make it happen! Thank you, Caz, and good luck with your next project. Can’t wait to read about it! (And if you ever travel to Istanbul, hopefully you’ll join us for one of our walking food tours)

    1. Sometimes we need to take those little pauses in order to learn certain things to keep moving forward, or it might be a way of gathering a little more energy for the growth momentum coming up for you. Your business sounds great, walking food tours are always a winner. Keep moving forward with it and we would love to join you. We are dying to go back to Istanbul.

  5. Isn’t it amazing how fear can just take over your life and run it for you. I am glad you could face it and punch it to the side! It feels so good when things are aligned with the universe and it almost “seems easy” and if you stray it is a rough road. Decisions based on fear usually aren’t good ones. Live life and thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see your plans.

    1. Thanks Heidi! Fear is a powerful friend or enemy, it just depends on the power you give it. I’ve learned to turn it back into a friend now. I’m still scared, but I know that I can no longer let that run my life. The best decisions come from those made through our gut, and mine is speaking so very clearly now. I can finally hear it and trust it again. Liberating!!

  6. Oh Caroline. Every word of this touched me.

    It’s funny, because people think you stop being afraid after you’ve learned to be adventurous, but it’s a daily choice to keep on the path – and it’s SO easy to hop off one day and find yourself on another planet the next!

    I’m SO happy for you guys and whatever comes next!!!

    1. You are so right Miss Britt. Overcoming your fear is a daily choice. It’s something that never leaves you, you just have to learn how to keep living with it and not letting it stop you from doing what your heart really tells you is right. It’s an exciting time for us at the moment, but equally terrifying!! I’m trying not to let my voice of doom tell me all that will go wrong.

  7. It’s impossible for our past experiences to not affect our current decisions, good or bad. I’d be pretty scared too if I was once in $500,000 worth of debt. That’s so much and feeling unstable with money is not fun at all. I read so many motivational post or quotes from people, saying “What’s your excuse for not traveling? It’s all about prioritizing.” I’ve been at fault of that too, but I’m learning as I grow older that it’s really not as easy for everyone. I hate that the world is run by money, but it is a part of our livelihood and when you don’t have it, the last thing on your mind is a trip to Bali. I think your fears are more than sensible, but you guys do still travel and you do still live an incredibly different lifestyle, so as far as being phony or lying goes, that’s not right. I think you’re a lot harder on yourself than everyone else. Maybe what your currently doing is not your travel dreams, but it’s a dream for a lot of other people and that’s inspiring. Plus your post are extremely helpful. I know you’ll fight these fears because you are a risk taker! Thanks for being honest. I think a posts like this make your travel accomplishments and dreams that much more meaningful.

    1. Money is now a basic need for everyone. It doesn’t buy us happiness, but it buys us choices, which definitely gives us our happiness. I think not having money can rob you of the person you really are. I know going through these experiences eventually made me a better person, but at the time made me miserable and stressed and depressed and all those things are awful and a way of living less than. It’s a difficult place to come out of, but every person needs to know they really do have the strength and the wisdom to do it if they dig deep, take a few risks and just believe. And I know that it sounds way easier than what it is. Thank you for your supportive words Bobbi, it means a lot.

  8. Sharing your fears will be a form of therapy I’m sure. To hear from those around you that they too share your fears.

    I’m so sad to hear that your one true love has betrayed you in recent months. So often when we mix business and pleasure the two worlds collide causing a mix of emotion, stress and tension. I’ve been on the road for two years now and having scrimped and saved for three solid years before selling up and travelling with my life on my back, I had no need to earn.

    Now though the tide has turned and my bank manager has become concerned. I’m wading into the waters of a cocktail of work and travel and I’m hoping I can keep a level balance, for my health and well being more than anything else. Thank you for sharing such an honest piece. I hope you’re soon on a path to healing and balance.

    1. I think its great to share our fears so we all know we are not alone. Too often we think we are. And I hope that in sharing mine and showing how I am going to kick them, gives others hope that they can do the same. I’m sorry that you’ve reached a challenging part of your business at the moment, but you’ll get through it. Think of it as a chance for you to re-think and find a better plan. But absolutely take care of your health, I didn’t enough. I’m definitely doing much better thank you!

  9. Wow Caz…may all your fears melt away… your new travel life awaits, next chapter bring it on.

    Your story reminds me of a book I read many years ago call ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, it certainly taught me a thing or two.

    1. Thank you Jo! The fears are slowly melting away. You’ve got to keep swallowing them so they will. I have read that book too and love it!!

  10. Ohh, so exciting! Such a journey to get you to this point….and maybe that was all part of the path!
    I totally feel all that you have said here about true path – living and breathing it at the moment, in sheer wonderment! Things just slot into place when you are on the right path. It really is uncanny!
    And I have always lived by Randy Pausch’s words – indeed!
    Can’t wait to hear where you are off to!

    1. Thanks Tash. It is so amazing to sit back and watch the magic unfold. Everything becomes so effortless when you are on the right path. It sometimes just takes a bit of time to get here, but as you said the challenges are all part of the journey.

  11. Thanks for sharing your travel truths. I think it speaks to most everyone because everyone is afraid of something, few have the guts to admit it out loud. Anything worth having scares us…remember the first job? Marrying? Buying a house? Having a child? Didn’t those things scare you to death? Didn’t you move forward anyway and focus on the exciting aspects? Sure, you did! And you will do it with your passion for travel.

    1. Yes! You are so right. I think giving birth scared me more than anything, but I still did it twice. I won’t do it a third though!!
      It’s so liberating to release your fears and be guided by your heart and soul instead

  12. I’m so glad you ended this piece by announcing you are taking to the road again. My confession is writing about working abroad despite last having had a real job in the 1980s 🙂 Enjoy your travels.

  13. Beautiful! How inspiring to read this! I have had brick walls for years, and I am on a similar parallel – I am still facing the brick wall, looking at it from every angle. Its just we dont want to lose site of what we deserve. And even though we may lose site of it, its finding strength to believe in your passion, and mine also is travel. I have found a way to turn around my business as a travel store front, even in this economy and still get to do what I love, travel. Thank you for sharing and giving us all the strength to say, heck yeah, I do believe in myself!

    1. I love hearing stories of how people are still thriving despite a bad economy. Too much focus is on the failings (and I really feel for those people) but I think it takes away people’s fears to know that anyone can succeed in tough times as well.

  14. What we fear establishes the boundaries of our lives… way to kick fear’s ass! I look forward to watching and being inspired by your genuine passion and travel adventures in the coming months!

  15. I’m so excited for you and your family! I always enjoy reading your posts and your honesty. I look forward to hearing your plans tomorrow and I wish you the best of luck in your adventures!

  16. With our plans for a long-term trip to SE Asia next year (Penang and Chiang Mai), I can totally relate to the feelings of fear – you can want something so bad it hurts, but it’s still scary as hell to put aside everything you know and the “safe” road that is approved by all, and just do your own thing.

    Planning comforts me… I get those pangs of “holy crap what if we do this and then crash and burn? and OMG are we insane to be bringing our young kids to a totally foreign country with freaky things like dengue fever?!?!” (no such thing as dengue fever where we live now)… so I come up with contingency plan A, B, C, and so forth haha It’s about the only thing that gives me the courage to persist with this plan… that, and the fact that we’ve told everyone we know that we are SO doing this!!!

    Anyhow, thanks for this post – I’ll add it to the list of things that comforts me – it’s always nice to know one isn’t alone in something!

    1. I think there is so much comfort in the back up plans. Your mind needs to know these things as it has to know it will be safe. It’s the logical mind that creates the fear so you gotta do what you can to calm it down.

      The back up plans help you deal with worst case scenarios before it arrives so you know exactly how to handle any curve ball… well most of them.

      Once you have that in place then you know you can actually go after what you want. You’ll still alternate between excitement and fear but at least you won’t let the fear stop you.

      Great thoughts Sheralyn. Thank you for sharing!

  17. My husband and I have lost serious money not once but twice and remarkably the world doesn’t end. I also find – and not that I don’t live in a nice house – that I care a whole lot less about stuff and only about traveling and adventure. I’ve never been one for letting fear stand in the way – ok maybe if I’m alone I think of bears when hiking – but that’s a normal reaction. I am trying to do what you two are doing and traveling on my terms doing the stuff I love to do.
    I suspect once you’re on the path that feels good to you your health will return to normal. Stress does nasty things to the body. I’m curious now about what you’ve got up your sleeve.

    1. Yeah bears when hiking kind of stand in my way too!! But that’s a good fear I think.
      Stress is so so bad. I honestly didn’t think I was too stressed, but now I’ve cleared the air a bit and reclaimed my life and my decisions, I can really see how I was stressed and the impact it was having upon me. I feel so much better just by deciding to take on this adventure.

  18. Wow! I absolutely love this! I’m new to your blog and will definitely be returning. I have kicked down my brick walls and am continuing to kick down more as I pursue my dream of teaching English in Spain. I recently ended a 3.5 year relationship with a woman I thought I would one day be married to because she did not, and would not, support me going. The last thing I need to do is quit my job, which will happen. Like you said, it’s a dream of mine so if I don’t go pursue it the universe will kick my arse, which it has been doing the last 2 years that I’ve been putting of doing this. Thank you!

    1. So inspiring Mike! I am so glad you are pursuing your dream. It is always the right thing to do. It definitely involves a lot of sacrifice, but you have to do that in order to stay on the right path. Good luck with it all, I am sure it will all work out perfectly

  19. typical! I just discover your blog and you’re off changing it! I’m certainly intrigued by the story and look forward to hearing where you will go.

  20. Epic post Caz! Love your honesty. So great to hear that holistic healing has helped you. There is a lot to be said for the power of the mind!

    Reading this made me think of one of my favourite anecdotes about the fisherman and the businessman (one version is:

    Below is a link to a post I wrote last year about finally trusting my heart and following my passion. I’ve never looked back!

    1. Thanks Kylah! I doubt I’ll be visiting another doctor for some time. I am really liking my real healers a whole lot better!
      I loved the fisherman and the businessman anecdote thank you for sharing.
      Great post by you too Kylah and I love that Steve Jobs quote. So nice to be able to reflect back and see how right our decisions really were.

  21. This is a great post. I have definitely let fear hold me back from traveling. I agree that the universe will correct your path if it doesn’t not think you are contributing in the right way. You have encouraged me to smash my fears and live my life! Can’t wait to see where you are off to next.

    1. Yay! So awesome Brittany. You go for it. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? Come up with a plan for that and then just go and expect the best.

  22. I am so happy and excited for you. I know you will surmount any problems and live the life you want. I can feel how excited you all must be. We have flights booked to Turkey and Cambodia (for 2 months) in September, but it seemed so far off I ceased thinking about it, and last night I booked our Istanbul accommodation. All of a sudden it is real and exciting. Have Fun with your plans 🙂

    1. Yay Jan!! How exciting. Your trip sounds awesome. Two of my favourite countries. It feels so wonderful to know you are choosing to do what you really want to.

  23. Such a touching story that hits close to home. During the recession, my restaurants sales took such a dive that I could barely pay our mortgage and bills (some months I didn’t). My husband and I had to use our credit cards to survive and racked up over $30k in debt on them. I remember crying and saying, “I just want to be able to go to the TJMaxx and buy a $10 shirt”.

    Over the last four years we have worked our asses off to pay off all our debt and turn our restaurant into a huge success, but I was then terrified to spend any money! Even when I knew we could afford something, I would analyze the purchase for weeks. I never wanted to be in that crappy position again.

    The best part is that during this time I realized what a passion I have for new experiences of all kinds, even if it is just exploring a nearby city, trying a new food or hiking a new trail. Now, I am still overly cautious about spending money, but we do spend most of our extra money on travel because we would much rather spend it on memorable experiences than fancy things.

    1. Such a great story Annette and thank you so much for sharing. We are certainly much smarter with how we choose to spend our money now. I hate having that fear around it, but I try to let the fear go and instead keep the lesson as a reminder to be smart and do whatever it takes to leave a better legacy. I think it does give you a greater appreciation for many things.

  24. Good for you….love that you are making such a huge declaration. I hope that the walls stay down and you are able to get out, slow travel and make the most of it! Sometimes we just need to come to these realizations in a big way – and I think you guys just did! Excited to hear what you have in store.

  25. That is EXACTLY how I’ve felt for the last year. Stuck, not being authentic and feeling miserable. We set a date only a month ago, worked like hell towards it and now we’re on road and it feels fantastic!!!!!! Finally starting to feel alive and energized again.

    Can’t wait to meet up on Saturday and discuss all your plans!!!!!! So excited for you guys. 🙂

    1. It was so great to meet you in person on Sat night Bethaney! Love hearing about your new travel plans. So glad that you have reclaimed what you want too

  26. Jeremy Branham

    Fear is definitely a part of traveling. I think traveling helps us overcome our fears by taking that leap. However, I don’t think it needs to be as scary as people think. In my position, I’ve written about travel from a different perspective hoping that it changes the way people think about traveling and inspires them to get out there. If I can travel, anyone can travel.

    The fears that we have are personal though. They are our demons. Everyone has them. It’s just a matter of how much they affect us and how much we allow them to impact our lives. I know the financial decision was a huge loss and set you back. But you have overcome that and are achieving your dreams – even if it’s taken a little longer than you hoped.

    1. I think you are right Jeremy. Travel has really helped me be fearless in so many ways. And again it has come back to travel helping me overcome my debilitating fear again.

      I know I can do this, I’ve done it over and over again before.

  27. Hi Caz, I have always admired your many articles. Although people can have differing convictions about life and stuff, I really appreciate your plain and honest way of writing/expressing about your own convictions about life. I think honesty is beautiful and not many writers dare to be honest and be vulnerable when it comes to personal stuff. So THANK YOU and do keep on writing & sharing about your & your family stories with honesty and vulnerability ‘cos I believe it helps/reminds the readers that life is truly beautiful :).

    1. Thank you so much Chris. I really appreciate those kind words. It’s so hard to be open and honest at times, but then I often think it is actually easier (once you do it)
      I feel like then I have nothing to hide and I can feel confident and safe in that openness.

  28. Caz, I adore this post. Thank you for opening up.

    We’re one month into our RTW trip and I am terrified that we’ll run out of $$ and that I won’t be able to earn enough on the road. Especially since we’re about to leave Asia and hit the expensive northern hemisphere.

    Leaps of faith.

    1. Oh EEMUSINGS … I recall that feeling well. 10 years ago my husband and I travelled the world for 365 days and I remember how much I worried about spending all our reserves travelling on northern hemisphere. All I can say from my experience is you will always find a way to make the budget work for where you are and it will create some very memorable moments in the doing! In hindsight we could have indulged a little more as I ended up returning home with a little money still in our account but when undertaking such a long trip you just never know how it will unfold. Enjoy!

    2. Take those leaps of faith and trust that you will find the way. I arrived in London, Dublin and America with no money and managed to find my way just fine. It is amazing what you can do when your back is up against the wall. You will surprise yourself with your power.

  29. great post and love the honesty..i always thought those who decided to live nomad never have this fear..very well said and inspiring…thanks a lot

    1. Oh there is always a ton of fear, you just learn to live with it and not let it get in the way. I think if you imagine your worst case scenario then you feel more confident to know you can handle it. And there is always more people around to help than you ever realize

  30. You’ve got another thing going for you that you didn’t mention: You’re honest with yourself, and this is very important to the Universe 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your honesty.
    Learning to trust yourself to take the leap of faith is definitely a giant lesson not only in travel but life in general.
    For example, I have taken up surfing in the last year and tried very hard to improve and was doing very well, but then I hit what was first a plateau, and then a giant brick wall, and then a plummeting avalanche. The swell got really big over the winter as it does every year, but I didn’t believe I was ready for it, and when it was time to drop in on waves, instead of trusting myself and going through the motions I would freeze and either wipe out or get stuck and let the wave pass. This went of for a month and every day that this happened my self confidence got lower, and my confidence in the world in general plummeted too. Some days I would break out into tears in the line-up
    Finally one day I went out there and said to myself, you’re wiping out anyway. You can’t get any more hurt than you’re already hurting yourself. Give yourself a chance to do it right. Pretend the wave is tiny and do it like you know how.
    I’d love to say I kicked butt that day but I didn’t. I wasn’t in fact ready for that swell, but at least I had my mojo back and was no longer paralyzed with fear.
    I’m very happy to know you’ll be back on the road again, I look forward to your post.
    Thanks for your honesty as usual.

    1. I love this story Jade. Thank you so much for sharing it. It definitely highlights how much our fear can dominate our lives and how in the end we are all in control of our mojo!

      Thank you so much for your comment

  31. Well Caz. Reality can strike in an ugly way sometimes. It’s a beautiful thing when you can admit it though, especially in a written way. Believe me, I’ve been there. About 4 years ago or so I started to have random injuries that would pop up for no apparant reason at all. I was on the later half of 30 so I chalked it up to getting older. And, yes, even though there is some truth to that statement, it was cascading in a much faster, powerful way. I, like you, went the route that we are supposed to. I went to the doctor and they said that basically there wasn’t anything wrong with me. But, we can give you some pills and see if that does the trick. Anytime you here, “nothing wrong, but here’s some pills”, that should be a warning sign, but it wasn’t. Going ahead with the prescription, I found myself dealing with some of the craziest side effects imagineable. To the point where I considered the effects much worse than the pain itself. Time went on and the medley of issues seemed to increase with ferocity. And then…I woke up. Not literally, but figuratively. Times had been tough at work, issues had cropped up with the family and there had been some deaths in the family that were extremely tough to get over. I’ve learned that no matter how far you get from your family, their problems will still find you in the end. With all that was going on, I endured what I thought was a heart attack. I remember thinking at the time, “What the hell is going on? I’m to friggin’ young to be dealing with this shit, but here I am! I went through a battery of tests on my heart and nothing. Being glad about the results, I was no happier with where my health had taken a serious turn. I could almost pinpoint the day it happened, yet there were no clues as to where it manifested itself into my wonderful world. Maybe it was all over, maybe I had made the turn. But alas, no. The biggie was yet to come. The stomach. I had kicked my knee issue, which in turn went to my wrist issue, which in turn went to my chest and found its way to the stomach. What started as a dull pain in my stomach became a force within. Nausea, bowel issues (sorry for the graphics, but I have a feeling you’ve been there). I went to countless specialists. Heard it all. Lactose intolerance? IBS? Food allergies? Gluten issues? Everyone was giving me countless remedies, prescriptions and advice. Nothing. My stress level was already high, this didn’t help. In fact I was getting worse the more my anxiety kicked in. Did I mention the anxiety. Oh wow. Beyond richtor scale reading. Depression was setting in fast. Life was crumbling before my very eyes and to have to tell people I wasn’t up for anything due to stomach. Well, that made me feel like a big ass wussy anyways. Then, one day, it all changed. Running out of options, a young nurse came into one of my doctor visits and after hearing my string of issues over the last few years simply asked, “Do you believe in the power of the mind?” I’m already feeling miserable so at this point I’m open for anything. She asked me if I thought it was strange that my issues seem to travel within my body at different times for no apparant reason. She asked if I had ever considered using my mind to treat myself. I thought she was off her rocker of course, but again, I’m at the depths. Recommending accupuncture and some really inwards thinking, she sent me on my way pleading that I don’t tell a doctor what she recommended. That day I made a statment to myself that I would not let this bring me down anymore. I started to concentrate on where my pain was stemming from. What was happening deep in the recesses of my mind that I can’t seem to communicate with? I’m not sure exactly what clicked but I started to find a coomn thread in me. I started to blame anxiety. I began to think deeply about what my body was telling me. Trying to figure out why, as a young kid and adult that my body could repair itself and how I was able to manage great amounts of stress with no after effects. They say the first thing that goes is the eyes. I disagree. The first thing to go is your wall in your mind that protects you from life. It had been chipped for years and years and when it finally snuck out from the safe confines of the nether region, it let’s you know who’s really running the show. There’s a reason we only use part of our brain, and I believe this is one. We are protected until we are protected no more. Then, at that point it’s up to us to learn how to build that wall back up again for protection. For me, it was realizing what was causing it. Incredulously, when I started chalking up my manifested pains to my anxiety, they started going away. Little by little, my life started to return to me. I tracked back all of my issues that I had been dealing with and discovered they were all ways to deal with my anxiety other than the only way my brain could manage it for all of those years. Happiness soon replaced sadness. I, like you, realized what life was really all about. With my two daughters and wife in tow, I carried on a new way of living. I started blogging about traveling, because it played a tremendous part in my recovery. I still have my day job, even though my dream of me and my family is to be worldwide travelers for life. It’s my safe place. I still have the stressors in my life. I’ve come to grips with the fact that they will never go away. I still get accupuncture as I’ve found it quite relaxing to be treated like a pin cushion…go figure? But my mentality has changed. I’ve become a much more positive person. I write a travel blog because it feeds me, not with money as I don’t get a dime from it, but with mental rewards. It’s a very positive message that I try to send and have even come under scrutiny from the folks who tell me that life isn’t always good. I know, but it doesn’t detract me. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again. Life was meant to be lived on my terms and for those who don’t agree? Well, fuck you. But it’s a very positive fuck you, mind you. I will always have anxiety and I still feel the slight knee pain or dull stomach feeling when life doesn’t go my way. But now that I correlate it with what I know, it goes away in a timely matter. Knowing what was causing my distress and being able to fix it with my mind. Now that’s nice. I still belive in doctors and medicine, but not for this. The brain is more powerful than anyone cares to admit, so to second guess my own prognosis would be foolish of anyone. Because in the end, if it makes you feel good, continue down that path. Here’s to good health and prosperity in the future Caz. You are a great writer with great readers. I can only hope to accomplish as much. My motto has always been this, “Live within your menas, travel beyond them” Live large and stay positive and the world will never see us coming… but they’ll read about it.

    1. Wow! I so love this comment Will and your story. Thank you so much for sharing it, I can relate to it in many ways. I believe so strongly in the power of our mind and body to heal. It knows so much and talks to us in so many ways.

      I can really see how and where a lot of my issues have stemmed from and as a result I am now healing them.

      Loved hearing this as confirmation. Makes me so excited about the magic of life. Thank you and may you keep saying Fuck you because I agree, and in the nicest possible way 🙂

  32. The most liberating moment in my life happened in 2010 when i packed my bags to Asia and Australia! Single female on her own! 23 years old and with just a bag and a camera to keep me company- i travelled! i lived. i saw. i felt. i smelt and touched what it means to truly feel alive! The only person i was responsible for was myself and i had never felt so free! I live to travel and at 26 I have touched every continent. I’ve seen more countries than the years I’ve been alive! you can do it! bravery starts from within and the belief in yourself— thanks Caz, you and I are kindred spirits in our love for travel—— love from Wendz in South Africa

  33. I like your honesty by posting this blog. I always wanted to travel around, one thing that stopped me everytime I sat down infront of the Internet to look for a nice spot or activity to add on my Itenirary is the amount that will costs me to do all those stuff. I agree with you, travelling is so expensive, especially if you will be travelling to a place that you have never been into. You can’t just spend money for your daily activity but you need extra’s as you can’t ride to any public vehicles to get you to your place, but instead to rent an expensive rental private vehicles. Travelling is never easy but I still believe we can travel but in a wiser way.
    I am also planning to travel but I have not saved for every location I want to go to. I don’t use credit cards for my vacation plans, I plan and save for it including extra money so to make sure I will not be pilled up with credit card debt because of my travel. One thing I always make sure is to save enough money for my vacation.

  34. Love this post Caz! I love how honest you are about your fears. We can all relate to that. I’ve definitely had things in my life (still do really) that I’ve been to scared to do. I need to start believing that it will work out and go for it more often. I’m really looking forward to watching/reading about your new adventures!

    1. Thanks Ali. The hardest thing to ever do is let go and trust that all will be okay. We are not conditioned to do this. When I really stopped to think about it and pushed my fears aside, I realized this has always happened to me. I’ve always landed on my feet and it has all worked out. I think when we just give up our fears and make the commitment to follow what our heart truly desires, the Universe will step in to help us. I think they call it faith, which at times seems a far scary word than anything else.

    1. Thanks Peter. Change is scary thing, but you just have to realize that you’re powerful enough to get through the challenges and make it work. Loved your blog post. Thank you so much for sharing it

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