Going Anyway

In my 20’s I travelled the world. I never baulked at jumping on a plane or planting my feet on unfamiliar soil. I had navigated hundreds of airports since I was a kid. I was a global citizen. It was second nature to me. I was fearless.

Something changed when I got cancer 8 years ago. Cancer isn’t just an event that happens for a few months while your veins get pumped with chemo. If you’re lucky enough to survive, it gives you  an ongoing  insult to your psyche. A little souvenir to take home with you. A little something that insidiously eats away at your resilience and confidence. A daily reminder that paralyses you with fear and anxiety.

I’ve spent the last few years wanting to cocoon myself at home. Frightened to travel. Anxious about the risks. Comforted by predictability.

But I long to be fearless again. I truly ache for it. How do I get there again?

Last year I got on a plane for a 1 hour and 20 minute flight with my two small kids to see my family in Sydney. The unpredictability of my sparky kids nearly sent me over the edge. Months later we did the trip with my husband aboard to help – and even then our kids almost annihilated both of us. I’ve built up a bit more strength since then, but God help me I’m planning on doing it again on my own next month. I’m missing my family so much that I’m biting the bullet. I’m going anyway.

After booking those plane tickets the other day I was suddenly reminded of a woman who has no fear of travelling with kids. She reminds me of my 20’s self.  Her name is Jill and she’s one of the gutsiest women I know. Right now she is backpacking across Asia with her 5 young children. Her youngest is a baby and her oldest requires a wheelchair. If you need a heavy dose of inspiration, click on to her blog: Going Anyway. Make sure you click on all those tabs at the top – the FAQs, the Who are We. This family have endured hardships and achieved greatness in ways I can only imagine. If you think you can’t travel with a baby, check out this gorgeous post: Traveling is like being a baby. What I like best about Jill is that she thinks outside of our Western constraints. She thinks about things that actually matter, not seemingly matter. She is in the business of making unbelievable memories for her children. She embraces her dreams. And she jolts me out of my fear every time I read her words.

A couple of days ago I was chosen as an honoree for BlogHer2012 Voices of the Year for a little post I wrote a few months ago called Blossom Bomb. I’m still gobsmacked. BlogHer is the world’s biggest social media conference for women. 110 honorees were chosen out of 1700 submissions. It was one of those things that I nearly didn’t enter. I submitted at the last minute after reading this motivating post by Eden Riley. She gave the blogging community the collective balls to enter. And I’m so glad I did.

Being on the list of honorees is a huge confidence boost. Though I feel a little unprepared. My writing career is just on the brink. I’m only just finding my voice. I believe in my own potential, but I’m still ripening. My best work is yet to come.

With the thrill of being an honoree, I’ve also let myself dream the crazy dream of going to New York this August, to attend the Community Keynote reception at BlogHer 2012 where my ‘voice’ (among 110 others) will be honoured.

I’ve known since I started blogging that I will attend at least one BlogHer conference in my lifetime, but I’ve let my anxiety talk me out of attending this year. I convinced myself that I have responsibilities (and I do!), but am I using them as an excuse? I have a responsibility to my son, who I know in my heart is too small to leave at home. I have a responsibility to my family, who’s finances I’d be pillaging to get there. And who do I think I am getting on a plane to New York if I can’t even survive a plane ride to Sydney (that is, if I take my son with me)? Is it bad timing? Can you put some dreams on hold?

Or can I overcome the logistical hurdles with a dash of creative thinking and a tonne of fearlessness? I wonder what Jill would say?

Will I be brave enough to say I’m going anyway?


  1. says

    Just found your blog – a lovely read. A few weeks ago I went house hunting with my friend. We saw a brand new house that had been built to the specifications of an older woman who died just as the house was finished. She never got to live in her dream home. Some times we can’t afford to wait too long. Still, only you will know how long is too long. You never know, next year you could be chosen to give the keynote address at BlogHer as your writing is good now and will get better and better. Wish you luck with your ‘going anyway’ trip to see your family :-)
    Tez recently posted..Waiting . . . waiting . . . . waiting . . . .My Profile

    • Deb says

      You’re right Tez, sometimes we can’t afford to wait too long. (How sad for that lady!). And you’re a wise woman.. I need to listen to my heart on this one. And thanks for the luck – I’m going to need it!

  2. says

    I am so glad Eden and I encouraged you to enter :) A huge congrats!!
    I hope to see you at BlogHer x

    I am not a sufferer from anxiety, but as my trip gets closer I am a bit nervous. Not of flying, but of getting sick miles from home.

    • Deb says

      Thanks Carly. I have a feeling next year will be my year – and I hope you’ll be there again too! And yes, I can relate to that feeling of being sick far from home. Has happened many times to me. I hope you can surround yourself with some familiar faces while you’re over there. You’ll have a ball! x

  3. says

    That is such brilliant news about the BlogHer nod, so happy for you! I know all about feeling held back but wondering *who* is doing the holding? I do hope you go anyway, come home and do the post analysis then :) My husband is looking at a work trip to NY in Sept and blow me down we are talking about going together- my first time. We would also be leaving 2 kids behind to do it… wonder what will happen? x
    Twitchy recently posted..It’s All Happening In Our StreetMy Profile

    • Deb says

      Thank you Twitchy! Yes, I wonder about who is holding me back too… BUT I do need to be realistic too. Next year definitely! And I hope you get to go on your NY trip! NY is an amazing place. I spent a brief 4 days there 13 years ago. I await your news! x

  4. says

    I hope you go.
    And you know what? If you do, it will probably be hard. There may well be more moments of exhaustion, fear and anxiety than there will be of comfort.
    There may well be many times that you wish you hadn’t gone, and just want to be home again.
    But you know what? Over time, those parts of the experience will fade, and shiny new memories will take their place. Memories that were there all along. Memories of being brave, of being inspired, of all that can happen when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
    Those moments will be there. It may just take some time to see them.
    MoederKip recently posted..{MoederMail}My Profile

    • Deb says

      Thanks Nat. I love your perspective on things. One thing is for sure, even if I don’t go this year, I’ll definitely plan on it for next year. xx

  5. says

    Go, go, go!! Oh, it’s so easy for me to sit here and type that but I’m so excited for you, you have to go so I can live vicariously through you! Congratulations on the BlogHer accolade – that is wonderful news. You deserve it Deb, your writing is just amazing. :-)
    Leah @ language | lynx recently posted..Reading = sanityMy Profile

  6. says

    Hello Deb! Thanks so much for your kind words about our story and my little blog. Not all of it is easy, but very worth it.
    Should you go? I dont know! Can you take your little boy? I’d hate to leave my kids….
    If its an issue of bravery, I’d say, take a deep breath and go for it. But if there are legitimate logistical issues, maybe next year?
    And big congrats! What an honour! I’m off to read your winning post right now…
    Jill recently posted..Our DIY travel wheelchairMy Profile

    • Deb says

      Hello Jill! I’m thinking now it’s maybe braver to stay… I’m also a believer in things ‘feeling right’. :) I hope your travels are going well. I look forward to reading more and more. xx

  7. says

    Firstly Deb….maybe I am missing something but where are your social sharing buttons? Why can’t we share straight to FB or twitter etc?

    Secondly….Your written work speaks for itself. Honestly you are a beautiful crafter of imagery and deserve to be recognized. All those stumbling blocks you have created….they’re just hurdles and I’m sure you will overcome them in your own time. However, I for one would love to see you soar even higher. Keep us posted xx
    kirri recently posted..The importance of relationshipsMy Profile

    • Deb says

      Kirri, I just knew you would have wisdom about this. You are a legend. As for the social sharing buttons… hmmm… maybe I haven’t installed a widget that will do that. I’m no techo-blog-design girl, so bear with me while I scratch my head and figure out how to add it (and wonder why I haven’t done it all this time – thank you!). x

  8. says

    Wow Deb, congrats on being a Blogher voice of the yaer!! that is awesome! See there how BIG you are! :p

    I don’t mind the trans-Pacific flight (have even done it with my kids), so I’m not much help with that. You spend most of the flight sleeping (or trying to sleep sitting straight up with your knees crammed into the seat in front of you). I actually like the flights better than the domestic ones. My kids thought it was great.

    I’m off now to read your post that won. x
    Wanderlust recently posted..Don’t be afraid to be bigMy Profile

    • Deb says

      Thank you so much Kristin! I wish I had your attitude about the long haul flights… please let it rub off on me! Be fearless, right? 😉

    • Deb says

      Kelley, let’s not forget that you were a FINALIST for Blog of the Year! You SO have to go! Let’s go together next year? We’ll get our kids looked after, we’ll buy new boots, we’ll eat macarons the whole way, we’ll be fabulous! xx

    • Deb says

      LOL.. you know, when Kelly wrote that I didn’t think it was a typo! I thought she was referring to my son. :) But yes, very funny now that I read it again! 😉

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