Updated: Apr 21
“Travel brings power and love back into your life” – Rumi
I find myself here…..again, about to disrupt my life in a major way. I seem to have a habit of doing this. The first time was back in 1999. I was 25, and already feeling worn out and tired. My life of being a social butterfly and partying (aka the one who had no off button) was taking its toll, and I didn’t like the trajectory I was on. History was repeating itself, and I knew something needed to change BIG TIME.
So I packed up my life and travelled for a year, discovering new places and in the process, a new me emerged. This gave me the space needed to make a course correction – stopped drinking and using recreational drugs, started eating better (became a vegetarian) and fell in love with yoga and meditation. What didn’t seem like very…..well, ‘me!’ at the time, has turned about to be the foundation from which my entire adult life was formed. Who knew?!
(Pic of me hiking the Andes in Peru 2009, dreaming up opening a yoga studio)
Since then, I’ve pressed pause on my life several times – sensing when things are sliding off course and needing a self-administered intervention. It’s like I can see a collision up ahead, where the momentum of my life is about to side swipe the truth of who I am and what I really want, and I need to ‘back the truck up’ before it’s too late. The collision is often not as dramatic as the one in my 20s, but left ignored, I know it will be deadly in a more subtle way. Something essential will be quietly dying inside of me, leaving a persistent feeling of restlessness and discontent (and dare I say it, blame. Oh, how I love blame).
In my 30s, I took road trips through Africa and stayed in ashrams in India and South America. This led to another major course correction, as I left a successful career (whatever THAT means?!) in finance, to open up a wellbeing centre that was much closer to my heart; finding purpose and meaning.
Each time I travel, it’s not for the place, but rather for the space. There is something about stepping out from my daily context, routine and relationships, where I can let go of any sense of ‘Deborah’ and make room for, feel into and allow for something else to emerge and unfold. Weird I know, but true.
And as I get older, I’ve come to know the feeling of something new quietly forming in the wings. That thing may be so subtle, no one else will notice. But it will be something so fundamental and essential to the person I’m becoming, I don’t want to miss it. These days, it’s less about what I do and more about who I am.
I’m getting better at listening to where my life is taking me, and braver at following that call. I’m quicker at noticing when the momentum and routine of what used to be so right, just isn’t anymore. Sigh. Still it takes a wee while to get through the denial, resistance and refusal to accept the (somewhat inconvenient) invitation for change, especially when it impacts others who I care about so deeply. Only to realise, that there’s really only two sane choices – stay as I am and suffer, or follow the call into the unknown and trust. At times, I’ve chosen both. The latter is ALWAYS where the peace is at! It’s just sometimes a bit of a sh*t show getting there.
So I’m off again, taking a few months away - putting down my life, getting quiet and listening in closely to what wants to be heard. There’s a beautiful synergy doing this in midlife “the second act”, when we’re exploring ways of living a more authentic, more courageous life, on purpose. And of course, I’ll have a hellava good time and lots of adventure along the way!
It’s worth stating, I absolutely recognise the fact I can make these changes and even take ‘time-out’ is a privilege. Yes, I’ve made choices and created a life where it’s possible (despite a pretty awful upbringing). AND YET, I still recognise because I am white, straight, able and average-bodied and financially secure, I am afforded a certain degree of opportunity in our society (and if you’ve never thought about it like that, it’s probably because like me, you have a lot of unearned privilege). Not everyone has this same opportunity, especially those from historically marginalised groups
What I also want to add, is that it doesn’t have to be a grand event. Travelling is a tried and tested method for me, but so is going for a walk, or a weekend with my closest girls. Figuring out the minimum dose for maximum effect is where it’s at. A soulbbatical is a very unique journey for each human. It’s not a defined period of time. It’s not about leaving your job or marriage (although that may be what’s needed); it’s about becoming the “Chief Soul Officer” of your life.
If you can hear your life calling you, I’m pleeeeeaaading with you – find a way to put down your life, even for a beat (10mins counts!), and listen in closely. This is important, and I don’t want you to miss your one wild and precious life.
I'll keep you posted on my travels and may do some online 'pop up events' along the way - watch this space!
Sending you ALL LOVE 💛