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Part 1 - Walking out of my comfort zone

a blog by Paula van Loon

Call me indecisive, tossing and turning, someone who doesn’t know what to do, and you would be entirely right. Hate to admit it, but that’s me ;)

Well, I made a decision. It’s time to face my fears. 

Wait, what?! Really? This hesitant girl has made a decision!

Facing panic

Let me take you back. A while ago I had a burnout, and that included enjoying some lovely panic attacks. The first one came out of nowhere, while I was driving my car. I thought I was going to die right then and there. Luckily, I found the courage to get back in the car again. I continued driving. Sweating, yes, and singing and screaming too, because my sister recommended me to do so. Apparently, this helps with anxiety, which I can confirm by now :). When other panic attacks occurred, I could always go back to that empowering experience: I dealt with that horrible moment by simply facing the fear, and not let it take over. I knew that it would pass.

Facing solo-travel-fears

So here I am, ready for the next challenge: to face my fear of traveling alone. It’s not only the traveling part that scares me. It’s also about daring to trust my intuition and gut feeling, and to see I am capable to do this alone. I take things step by step: do you know the kid that tiptoes the water at the sea? The one that goes in a little, but then quickly withdraws and runs back? Well, this is how I prepared for my trip.

First, I decided to go in May. Then, I decided not to go in May. And now it will be September. And it’s OK. It’s OK to not be the kid that runs directly into the water and goes in with a splash. In the past I could be really disappointed with myself. I tried to be that fearless kid, sometimes even forced myself into it, but it merely caused a lot of stress. I had that burnout for a reason right? Now I realise I can take my time and take baby steps. I will enter the water, no doubt!

So I decided to cut the traveling-alone-thing into small pieces:

  1. Going away for a week(end) alone in The Netherlands (I did in June! It was great!)
  2. Going on a walking trip abroad with a group (September 2016 with the Knapsack Collective (I will write about it in my next blog)
  3. Travelling completely alone: for a weekend/week/month (to be determined)

Getting ready for the hiking trip

I’m going on a hiking trip with The Knapsack Collective. When I checked their website, I was hooked. I had to come along on one of these trips! Oh yeah, I’m super excited! And scared too, haha. Sometimes, I doubt the whole exercise: “Why do I want to do this? Why not go on a holiday with my boyfriend or friends? What do I want to prove?” I know that’s the fear talking: fear of the unknown. I don’t have to prove anything. I just want to expand my horizon, get out of my comfort zone. That’s where I learn the most.

What do I like about hiking so much? With every step I take it’s like I’m more grounded and more in touch with myself. I hope to experience this during the Knapsack trip as well. I’m very curious about the coaching and reflection sessions along the way. I hope to get more clarity on what I want to do. Do I want to start my own business or should I wait? What are the next steps I should take?

Taking off my shoes - afterstory

After the trip I will share my experiences with you in another blog. How was flying and traveling alone and what insights did I get? Did I make any decisions for my future? Keep you posted!

Curious about me? Check out my website or follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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