A gust of salty wind takes the edge off the intense heat from the sun as I walk my sleeping toddler in the stroller for his nap. The different shades of the water from sea foam green, to aqua blue to my dream eye color absorb my soul. I breathe deeper then I have in years. I wave to my husband and daughter who have just taken their seats in a quaint seaside café that has the killer kale salad. I’m definitely getting that when Theo wakes up. I smile to myself. We did it. We have successfully given the middle finger to waiting and took our little family half way around the world to experience LIFE.
We traveled twenty four hours on an airplane with a one and a half year old and a four year old to a place we had never been and always dreamed of because… we had to. We had to start living. I couldn’t wait any longer for all of the boxes to be checked before I said YES to life, YES to adventure, YES just for the sake of saying yes!
I felt like I was living in a world of no’s. My artistic career wasn’t happening. My husband’s artistic career wasn’t happening. The city I dreamt of being in for so many years felt cruel and exclusive. I felt like I was living my life in a constant state of saying… well, when THIS happens THEN I can… What a disappointing way to exist. I was spending this one precious life responsibly waiting for the okay before engaging with the world around me. I was in a constant state of feeling inadequate because of this.
Now let me clarify the questions I’m sure everyone is thinking but never asks when I say that I picked my family up and moved to Australia for four months – no, it wasn’t easy emotionally, logistically or financially. We didn’t have those go-with-the-flow kids. Our kids have Greek in them – enough said. We didn’t know where we were going to stay until a week before we left. We knew we’d have to buy a car once we got there – oh and drive on the other side of the road. We didn’t have a nest egg that left our finances untouched by this trip and there were certainly big emotions from each of us at different times. Three months before taking flight to Australia we liquidated our life in Los Angeles and moved in with my parents in Vermont. Our plan was to settle somewhere near New York City a year or so after we returned from Australia. We pumped our kids full of excitement for adventure, packed a carry-on for each of them with minimal toys and loaded one suitcase for the whole family. We were just two people sick of waiting for the mythical “perfect time” to start enjoying life.
The idea of following through with this was frightening for me. My husband is the kind to throw caution to the wind, to grab ahold of any adventure and let the energies take him where he needs to land. I have a little of that in me, but alongside that free spirit is often a greater trait of anxiety. I rationalized my way out of going on this voyage many times before finally saying,” I’m either going to take chances, risk things and grow or I’m going to play it safe and always sit life out saying, when I have this, THEN…”
I laugh when people say I am daring because I know the frightened, anxious, people-pleasing person that resides inside. I usually think… “if they only knew, they wouldn’t be saying this.” But as I have reflected on this trip I realized, if they only knew JUST how hard it is for me to go against the grain then they would probably think I was insanely daring. Maybe even a little inspiring. And maybe I am. Or maybe I’m delusional. Or maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I am all of those things, but if they allowed me to break free from the chains of the waiting game, then I welcome them all.
I can think of countless times Elias waited to ask me to marry him in hopes of being somewhere else in his life first. There were many conversations about having kids before we did, but we hadn’t met certain milestones we imagined for our lives. There were endless daydreams about IF this happens, THEN… and it made life hurt. This beautiful life we were each gifted is not meant to be lived in a state of hurt, but a state of wonder and awe. Truly. And that is what we did in Australia.
For four months, we lived in awe. In awe of the amazing food we ate at every stop, in awe of the different wildlife surrounding us, in awe of the landscape and the endless beaches, in awe of the unmatched hospitality of the friends we made along the way and mostly in awe of how alive and connected we felt. It didn’t matter that we had hardships to go back to because we were so in the moment that we were untouchable. That’s what happens, you see, when you let go of the “stuff” we are told to care about and have. You awaken in the moment and delight in scenery, wildlife and the company of the people you are with. It was a glorious moment in time; a bubble of pure majesty that I carry with me every single day.
It’s now over a year ago that we returned back to our side of the world. We’re in our little corner just outside of New York City. Does our journey seem eccentric and maybe a little irresponsible? Yeah, perhaps. But couldn’t we all use a little of that kind of eccentricity and irresponsibility? Couldn’t we all use a little soul feeding and a little life living? What is the IF in your life that is stopping you from the THEN? Maybe take a chapter from our book and go for the THEN… who knows.