Bravery by Inches

By Leanne

Be brave, think about it for 5 minutes longer, the decision you make then, could change your life”.

It might surprise some people who know me, but I’m really an introvert. I’ve attended hundreds of networking and social functions supporting Geoff over the years, but still find it somewhat confronting initiating a conversation with a total stranger.

I liken it to jumping into a cold pool. I really want to get in, I understand that initially it will be a bit of a shock but that after a short time my body will acclimatize and, that if I do take the plunge I’ll end up enjoying myself. However, I still must convince myself to actually jump.

I sometimes question whether I really want to take that swim and can talk myself out of jumping – regretting it afterwards.

I don’t want regrets!

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall off, just as long as you keep trying!

Be brave, think about it for 5 minutes longer, the decision you make then, could change your life”.

I was once at a function where Todd Sampson, an Australian adventurer, business entrepreneur and TV presenter offered the advice – Be brave, think about it for 5 minutes longer, the decision you make then, could change your life”.

So, it’s February 2017. Everything we own has been sold or given away, our home has been rented, and we’re leaving the country with only a suitcase each for who knows how long. Scared? Yep, nervous, very excited and sometimes even numb. I often wonder if we’ve made the right decision. But this is not where it started. It’s taken me a lot of “baby steps” to allow myself to embark on this adventure. And believe me, I haven’t made the process an easy one!

Bravery by inches – How did it all start?

Well it started way back in 2003 with a home exchange. Home exchanges are where you swap houses with other people to take a holiday. It’s a great way to have an affordable vacation in another city or even another country. Geoff had seen the concept and shown me the website Home Exchange back in 2000, but it took him a full three years to convince me to give it a try. Geoff said people were basically good and no one was going to sacrifice a goat on our new lounge suite or use the kitchen table for firewood. I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving my home in the hands of complete strangers. I could see though how this concept could extend our ability to travel to places otherwise outside of our financial capacity, so in the end, I reluctantly relented and agreed to a swap with a retired couple from Manly, Sydney. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and I was hooked.

Since then we have enjoyed more than a dozen home exchanges and even some where we swapped our boat for time aboard another vessel. We’ve never experienced any problems with the people whom we exchanged, and have wonderful memories from every exchange. These experiences and the additional travel we were able to afford, has given me more confidence and a real appetite for travel and adventure. I’ll always be grateful for the advice to “be brave for 5 minutes longer”.

Bravery “Baby Steps”

I remember on our first visit to Bangkok I was very anxious. I wouldn’t let go of Geoff’s hand and had to close my eyes whenever travelling in a taxi (rules of the road are not so much rules as guidelines). Experience gives you confidence and these days I feel very comfortable travelling to foreign lands and look forward to meeting as many people and having as many local experiences as possible.

I consider the experiences we’ve had to be the “baby steps” I’ve needed to become braver and progress to where we are now.

I’m never going to jump out of a perfectly good plane or climb Everest but that still leaves a lot of options available.

So, keep an open mind, ask questions, lots of questions, consider the consequences both good and bad, get advice if necessary and then be as brave as you’re comfortable with. I tell people that often Geoff leads me out of my comfort zone, I sometimes have to be dragged along and go kicking and screaming, but in the end, I’m very glad I was just that extra bit brave. Oh and wine helps!

Sometimes I have to be dragged along!

Taking baby steps to bravery is fine because it still means you’re moving forward.