“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
Brené Brown said that.
She also said: “If we are brave enough, often enough, we’re going to fall.”
A large part of me wishes I’d read those words before I came to Canada, although I doubt they would have stopped me. Now that I’m here in my second Canadian city and experiencing, what Brené would call, a “face-down in the arena” moment, I decided to share my experience for no other reason, than honesty.
All too-often Facebook timelines become highlights reels, instead of reality reels. People post about their success’ and strengths, not their weakness’ and failures. Travel blogs, in particular, seem to focus on the highs of travel – the pretty sunsets and chocolate covered waffles – and never really mention the airport adductions and crying alone on bathroom floors. I know I’m guilty of it. I’ve written about failures in the past – like the time I moved to Berlin and realised it wasn’t for me, or when I had a disastrous start to Hong Kong, but, for the most part, I write about positive experiences. I never wrote about an awful break-up in New York or the job I had to quit in London and I’ve never written about the anxiety I have with every single move.
By breaking the trend, it’s my hope that at least one person feels more comfortable admitting to, and dealing with, failure. If not, maybe I’ll stick to the pretty sunsets and chocolate covered waffles.
It’s difficult for a perfectionist (that’s me) to admit, but travel isn’t always amazing. In fact a lot of the time it’s awful. It can be scary, frustrating, lonely and exhausting. I feel anxious with each and every move. I wonder if I’m going to be able to make it in each new city. The thing I fear the most? Failure.
Dealing with failure is horrible, yet travel and failure seem almost synonymous. Some days here in Canada I haven’t wanted to get out of bed for fear of what failures and rejections the day will bring. For someone who has always been able to get a job in two weeks, two months feels like an eternity.
My ‘face-down in the arena’ moment happened yesterday. I received an email from a digital agency that went something along the lines of: “Hey, great to hear from you. We don’t have any roles in Toronto, but there’s one in Vancouver that would fit you perfectly! Your salary expectations are right in line with the role. Would you be willing to relocate?”
(Incase you didn’t know; I just relocated from Vancouver having experienced a tonne of failure.)
It felt terrible. After a series of bad interviews, where interviewers have turned up forty minutes late and pretended that they never set up a meeting, they’ve bragged about working until midnight for weeks at a time and expected me to do the same and just generally given me bad impressions of their companies, I’ve been feeling rather lost in Toronto. I’ve gone from I feel like a failure to I am a failure.
The Vancouver role rubbed salt in an already raw wound. The frustration of not being able to get my life together is very real.
I know, though, I’m not the only person experiencing falls. In fact, some of my friends are currently dealing with their own traumas, which are much greater than my own. Whether you’re travelling, working, having children, buying houses or watching Friends re-runs 24-7, you’ve probably had some feelings around failure. (If you haven’t please let me know your secret!)
I’ve come to realise that our bravery and courage to try new things, visit new countries, meet new people and move on to different stages of life will sometimes be met with resistance – it’s just part of the deal.
The only solace I can find for this reality is a quote. The quote hung on the wall of the creepy apartment, full of freaky artwork, death masks and a large bull’s head covered in gold glitter, that I stayed in when I first arrived.
It goes; “Nothing is forever except change”. Buddha.
Those words got me through that creepy apartment and might just get me through this ‘face-down in the arena’ moment too.