For most of us – I dare say that 2020 was not the year that we had planned. But there was no way that I was going to let that stop me from making the most of the year.
For at least as long as I can remember, I have kept a list of goals. In the past five or six years, (since overdosing on Marie Forleo’s Marie TV in 2015,) those goals became a list of 20 projects – (personal projects or goals and short-term travel goals) that Marie suggests keeping to stay motivated.
For me, every day is an adventure – even more so in the years that I was operating my own business with freedom to take it in any direction that I wanted – which for someone like me is a wonderful opportunity and at the same time a risk (in either taking too much on or being spread too thinly across different areas.)
Back to that project list. While many turned inward in 2020 to home renovation projects (and I added my mother’s house to that list)- I realised that not too much had changed for me in running a business from practically anywhere in the world.
In addition, as I have previously written 2018 was both a celebration (launching a wine label, publishing a book while building a consulting business) and a challenge which had prepared me for 2020 which was certainly no hustle by comparison. I had already undertaken a self-imposed travel embargo from my return from Italy in 2019 and decided that I would return to a more stable and consistent form of income that would allow me to build a more linear career trajectory.
Maybe the way we lived had changed however my higher sense of purpose, the voice or force greater than me – something that I cannot explain – had stayed the same. Continue to walk that path, I had been telling anyone that would listen.
So too I looked to my list for the projects that I could check off.
This time, it was much closer to home – the Cape to Cape trail- which had been added when I first learned about it – probably three or so years earlier, even though I had not expected to complete it until later in life. For as many years, I had been researching how I could walk the trail alone, although the remote and rugged nature of the trail pointed toward using a local tour operator – and I chose Cape to Cape Explorer tours, locally owned and operated.
For me, walking is a meditative process – a feeling of freedom that connected me to myself and the land the air and the ocean surrounding – a sense of oneness with this universe as I took each step. The 124km trail traverses Western Australia’s south western coastline between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. It is said to have been a path walked by indigenous Wadandi people and later, early settlers who followed the coastline all the way to Perth.
The trail is considered moderate, walking an average of just under 20km each day for most of the seven days – the challenge is not the distance but the terrain that varies from beach sand and dunes, to coastal and scrub and forest. The personal training that I had felt drawn to recommence months earlier had certainly paid off – even if I was carrying extra body weight – I felt that the track was enjoyable and I could keep a reasonable pace – as much as I would have preferred to soak up the meditative medicine – feeling free and at one with the energy that surrounded me. Sun, sand and ocean.
Walking was not the challenge – my biggest challenge came on day two when the group encountered a deadly dugite snake on the trail – one couple obliviously walked by, another, almost stepped on it and others (braver than I) stopped to admire and take photos.
This was enough to make me want to leave the track and go home, (I didn’t – hadn’t I learned to enjoy walking in the rain on the Camino?) of course because that is not my nature instead, reminding myself that challenges are always about our perspective and how we approach it.
Some saw beauty in the same animal that I feared.
To me, it was a reminder that in a world there are two emotions: love and fear, fear is the only emotion that stops us from moving forward. A metaphor for a bigger challenge I was about to face head on. I could walk away, however it was not my style and knew deep down that I had everything I needed to keep me safe and help me to the end of the 7 day trail.
Here are my steps for overcoming fear (inspired by the Dugite and Australian King Brown snakes on the trail)
- Walk with the group when you need extra strength – who you travel with is important in life (thank God for the support of the new friends I made on the group). I am not saying that you have to stay with the pack but don’t be afraid to ask for help and walk together when you need it.
- Vibrate at high energy levels – snakes are scared of noises and feel vibrations in the ground – as are the snakes in life.
- Stay calm – step back and assess the situation with a calm demeanour.
- Approach with love – love conquers all – I started to appreciate the beauty, even if I thought it would look better on a handbag which then made me feel cruel – after all this too is a creature of God or the universe.
The shared experience of walking a trail like Cape to Cape leads to strong group bonds, and perhaps revealing more of ourselves than we would in a daily encounter – the shared path seems to make us stronger and grow together. As the group said their farewells on the final day, one of the gentlemen that I had revealed the challenge I faced to, imparted some words of wisdom – as though he had known me for years, do what you need to do to take you forward to the next phase. Of course, it may sound obvious, that I may have known this however hearing it from someone who a week earlier had not known me and who had made quiet observations during the week we walked gave me strength, reassurance and a new sense of freedom in walking my path.
What is your snake and how have you overcome your fear?