Leaps of faith: On stepping out into the unknown

leaps of faith nzmuseTwo years ago I was sick with wanderlust, chafing at the bonds of a reasonably awesome life and scared to risk it for adventure. T was a little sceptical and struggled at times but became a convert along the way.

A year ago I came home sated, knowing I’d made the right choice, and ready to get on with the next phase in life. I was content knowing that all things considered, there was nowhere else I’d rather settle down, with memories nobody could ever take away from me – even if, in the case of certain cuisines, those were bittersweet and unobtainable over here 🙂

It was a leap of faith, leaving. Leaving New Zealand with less money than projections suggested we needed to travel the way we want to travel, counting on earning enough on the road to sustain us. As life would have it, that aspect worked out almost eerily perfectly.

Thinking back, I’d been working up slowly to that big leap of faith. Baby steps.

Moving in with T, early 2007.

Signing on to be the head of a flat, with my name on the lease and relying on 2 other flatmates to pay the rent (which I’ll never do again), circa 2008.

Giving up a good, stable job for a new, riskier one in 2011 (the sign that sealed it for me was the office relocating essentially down the road from our house; I wouldn’t have taken a job at its old, out-of-the-way premises).

Changing industries this year (a series of signs pointed me in the right direction). I worried whether I would be happy; I thought there was a good chance, and my instincts were right – I never looked back.

And in July, we took another leap of faith, deciding T should quit a toxic job – before potentially being pushed out – with nothing else lined up.

It was less than ideal given it would make 2 short-term jobs in a row (the first having ended for reasons beyond his control) and the fact it had taken 3 months to land this one. Trusting that something would come up, and that being free of that mental burden was worth the hardship, was one of those tough calls you resign yourself to when you have an equal partner to consider.

This has not turned out the way I’d hoped so far, but I don’t necessarily regret this. Just hanging on to my core belief that things always eventually work out.

These past two years have been a rollercoaster, really. I never imagined marriage (in our case) would be so exciting – or stressful.

Awhile ago I stumbled across a blog named Surrounded by the Sound. Their last post is from 2013, two years after their return home from a yearlong RTW trip, and their experiences echo ours so very closely … Struggling with unemployment. Enjoying working for The Man and realising the peace that comes with being a steady employee. Relishing life, moreso than before we left. Amy sums up life Pre-Trip and Post-Trip beautifully:

The Trip, as it has become known, seems like a movie we watched about someone else’s lives, yet not a single day goes by without some memory or connection to our trip popping up in some fashion.

Like them, I think we may struggle to define our before-and-after lives. Odds are that our trip is going to be the most exciting thing we ever do; the time period from which we draw all our best stories. While that might come off sounding a little sad, I’m actually okay with it. I don’t need to live an extraordinary life. I want to live a happy life. And for me, that is largely a quiet life.

I don’t know what our next leap of faith will be or when it will come. But I’ve built up those risk-taking muscles and gotten used to gritting my teeth. I know I’ll need to draw on that again at some point, probably when I least expect it. Because … Murphy.

When did you last take a leap of faith?

9 thoughts on “Leaps of faith: On stepping out into the unknown

  • Reply Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 12, 2014 at 03:03

    I have come to realize in the last few weeks that even after traveling the world for 2 years, I am still the worst when it comes to dealing with uncertainty (& as an extension of that, the unknown). It’s true that my wanderlust is far from sated, but I also crave predictability and routine, even though I feel stifled when I have those things… I also feel safe and secure, which is nice to feel.

    I’m not sure how many times it will require me to leap before I can do so with faith that things will turn out ok. That won’t stop me from jumping, but I’ve also accepted that I probably will always feel scared before I do so. I want to feel happy & I want to feel free, but I’m not a free spirit deep in my bones. What I love about traveling is that it allows me to feel for stretches of time like I am.

    Lately I’ve had to come to terms with the old chestnut “You can have anything you want. You just can’t have EVERYTHING you want.” I want to travel & be happy & fulfilled, but I also want the security of a steady job. Which one do I want more? I’ve decided to bet on myself & on my happiness and am doing my best to be gainfully employed for myself… it’s a long hard road ahead of me and I certainly won’t get rich doing it, but at this point in my life, it feels worth it. I guess every day I wake up and work for myself that’s a mini leap of faith in and of itself.

    • Reply NZ Muse November 12, 2014 at 20:13

      Y’know, that’s a great way to put it. While in a lot of ways I’m pretty laid back, I do hate uncertainty at the core I am kind of a planner – the older I get the more this surfaces and the more I appreciate a certain degree of structure. And travelling allowed me to let that free spirited side out, and become more comfortable with uncertainty. It was really scary feeling so unanchored – no home, no place you HAD to be, just the whole world in front of me – but it was, of course, great at the same time, particularly since I DID have that certainty of work to come back to, and a return home eventually.

  • Reply Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 12, 2014 at 04:16

    I somehow imagine it would be really difficult to come back from such an amazingly long trip and be able to settle into to life again…just knowing all that is out there. ha, maybe it’s good I haven’t been able to travel as much. I think in any case, it’s hard but important to look at your own world with fresh eyes. As far as my leap of faith, I was more like pushed over the cliff by getting laid off, and my leap of faith has been staying afloat for six years!

  • Reply The Asian Pear November 13, 2014 at 04:35

    I’m struggling to think when was the last time I took a “leap of faith”? I don’t think I have… Or at least not in more than 10 years at least. I’m generally not a risk taker at all. Everything is always planned, thought of and analyzed – painfully. =/

  • Reply Sally November 13, 2014 at 06:45

    I really like that Surrounded by the Sound site. She’s a great writer. Hm, leap of faith. I guess the last one was buying a condo. I felt really nervous and even 6 months later I do worry that it’s a lot of money but overall I think it will help us in the long term to own real estate. But I haven’t taken many other risks lately. I guess I am overdue to take one…

  • Reply Sarah November 13, 2014 at 12:02

    This post is so great! It seems like a lot of blogs that I follow have been posting about this general theme and I have absolutely needed it right now in my life. I’m in the middle of a huge leap of faith and it’s terrifying, liberating, exciting, and oh so new all at once. I love it and I hate it, but I know that I’m headed in the right direction and I just need to keep my eyes focused ahead.

    Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

    Sweet Spontaneity

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget November 14, 2014 at 13:50

    We are right in the middle of a HUGE leap of faith that is causing me a lot of stress. I know, I know, I know in the end it will be the right decision but it still doesn’t make it any easier. Sometimes, you just gotta jump, right?

  • Reply Erika November 16, 2014 at 04:15

    I appreciate this post! I think a lot of see the leaps of faith but sometimes they aren’t about staying in that free fall forever. Sometimes they are about learning or going through a journey and a chapter and sometimes a chapter comes to an end as a new one starts.

    I think a lot of my twenties have been characterized by a need to “live!” And “be exciting” and “do it now!” And “be brave” and “have an extraordinary life!” But that is presented in such a one-dimensional way sometimes. I’m learning that excitement is not the only kind of happiness or a rush or needing to change everything. There are rewards and joys in the smaller things, in finding grounding, in figuring out what it is that we like and we want and defining our place in the world — and that may mean not leaving home for this stage of our lives.

    I remember in high school I thought, “What if this is as good as it gets?” Or even after college wondering if the best times of my life were behind me. But I think that there are amazing moments but we live for those ones that are different and reveal mysteries about life and ourselves to us — and for that reason, the best is never behind us. It’s not a timing thing or even linear — the best is always right now, waiting for us to tap into the awesomeness of it. We just have to be ready to embrace that it may look different than we ever expected.

    Congratulations on taking chances and learning from them. And congratulations for having the courage to step into what your heart is telling you what to do. 🙂

  • Reply Zambian Lady November 24, 2014 at 11:41

    I would like to travel the world for a year, but I do not know whether I would be able to do it at this point in my life. Congrats for having taken that leap. (By the way, one of my dreams is to visit New Zealand one day.)

    The last big leap of faith I took was when I moved to the ‘country up north’. I had a lot of questions and no answers, but I went ahead and moved. It was scary but worth it. Through that move, I managed to move on to Austria so it ended up well for me.

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