There’s nothing like crossing the Nile River in a huge flying tube to put things in perspective.
The perspective that being away from home can be just as good as coming back.
That stepping away from the routine, from the everyday, even from what you know and love; that this is where the magic happens. This is where life SPARKLES.
Yesterday I boarded a plane, a plane just like the others I had been fortunate enough to board in my life. What made this plane special however was that I wasn’t crapping my pants to be getting on it. When I woke up that morning, when I ate my granola, when I was in the car, when I checked in, when I cleared immigration and security, when I enjoyed a fresh juice, when I cleared security again and even when I was in the boarding tunnel with the plane in sight (and smell) – nothing. No fear, no anxiety, no concerns.
Instead I took one look at my new husband thanking him for his company and love on our trip, bid farewell to Dubai and simply… boarded the plane. The thing is I have not just boarded a plane for close to 15 years. Not even for a 1.5-hour trip to Melbourne and certainly not one with a 14-hour journey ahead of it.
When I thought of how simple tasks were completed everyday by each of us and how the physical act of stepping onto a plane had become such an incredibly big deal to me I was elated. Because maybe, just maybe, this was one less challenge that need not be on my journey. That for me boarding a plane, and all of its’ associated steps would be in the same company as breathing, speaking, listening, sleeping, walking; automatic.
Straight away my analytical mind wanted to know all about why and how this happened. Why today? What was it about this particular flight? Had I done something differently?
The answer was right there.
Things were different.
2 nights prior had been a restless night. The thought of leaving our little slice of heaven in the Maldives after such an incredible 7 days was not the concern, rather the how we would be departing.
Plus sleeping before an early flight is near impossible!
Our planned path back to the capital Male, via a traditional boat and seaplane on stormy seas was causing me immense anxiety and the day hadn’t even arrived yet. The all-too-familiar grip of anxiety had hold of me and the butterflies in my stomach were now knots.
My breakfast that next morning was a protein-filled veggie omlette and peppermint tea (always a good idea no matter the situation!) and my anxiety was subdued when I saw the storm had eased somewhat overnight.
The boat ride was choppy and totally out of my comfort zone. Those 10-minutes were enough to really rattle me however I found myself with an eerie sense of calm amidst the usual fear. I chose to do what I could; I nestled into Tippy’s shoulder nook and took in the glorious surroundings.
I didn’t even need to practice my calm breathing techniques, though again this is never a bad idea!
During the seaplane journey I observed an even further heightened sense of calm. I kept looking for the fear that was noticeably absent. Even in willing it (yes strange thing to do I know), it barely showed up. What I felt was gratitude, joy and calm all the way to my bones, for everything that I am and have done, the million small challenges that got me to that point and which I could derive strength from.
Looking out the windows of that tiny seaplane I smiled to myself. I can do anything. I am capable of anything.
So the thing that was different is perhaps best explained by relativity. In relation to my fear and subsequent handling of the boat and seaplane journeys, boarding a new A380 with comfortable seats, loads of leg room (book an exit row it is worth it!) and all the gadgets in the world was a cinch.
This same theory can be applied to many tasks that we each undertake every day, both big and small. The technique of repetitive exposure was a large part of my successful treatment many years ago for crippling anxiety and harnesses incredible power.
Being out of my comfort zone repeatedly on this trip has allowed me to break entirely new ground and enjoy a new world. A couple of weeks ago, I spent the day a boat cruising the Amalfi Coast and this was the first occasion that I actually enjoyed my time on a boat. If I had been at home in Sydney on that particular day, the opportunity to be on a boat wouldn’t present itself as freely to me and it’s easier to ignore such challenges when we’re in our comfort zone.
Being away from your normality and routine is so powerful and I am certainly living proof of that. There are varying and wonderful ways to experiment with this for yourself and reap the rewards. One of the simplest ways to get started is to drive/walk/ride a different way to work tomorrow morning. Even if you are already saying how you will be late or it won’t work; is it really that great of a risk to try? The greater your resistance, perhaps the greater your need for experiment…
Other ways to live outside your comfort zone include learning a new skill, talking to that person at work or the gym that you have always wanted to know more about, cooking new recipes (no matter how they turn out) and my favourite, travelling; where in each case the rewards are infinite.
Whatever your course go boldly and have faith in yourself. The worst case is not really that bad and the upside is as I said… a whole new world. Living outside where we are comfortable allows us a greater opportunity to be in the moment and in this modern world of ours, that is a rare commodity so allow it. Let it take over you and enjoy the ride.
Xxx Nadia xxx
P.S. After watching the 9th season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on the journey home (don’t judge me), I have landed back in chilly and beautiful Sydney, super excited to get back in the kitchen and create more deliciousness for you to enjoy so stay tuned!