Fumbling my way around
It's so funny, that whole, creative ideas come to you when you least expect them and in the shower thing, both totally true.
Over the last seven years I was good, no I was flipping fantastic at my job. I was great at knocking the socks off of retailers in presentations, coming up with large-scale roll out plans and project plans. Slap on a big budget and let me fly with the figures. I was GREAT at being corporate and its great being great right? Nothing more addictive. Then as most of you know, even though I was on the fast track to the top (Wherever that even is), I decided to give it all up because even though being good at it made me feel great, appreciated, needed, I was not happy. So I decided to go and explore. Go find what set my soul on fire and chase it. Take it and turn it into my new GREATNESS.
This blog post is all about how starting or trying new things inevitably comes with that fumbling stage.
Last night was my first night staying at a backpackers, completely alone, as in I knew no one. The last few years I've always traveled with friends or family then this year I decided to do the solo travel, take on the world thing. In Bali and Sicily I had my own room and in Rome I shared a room with my mom to save on costs. So yes, this whole backpacker thing is totally foreign for me. Shocking. At the age of 26, it's my first time actually staying in a dorm at a backpackers as a backpacker of sorts.
When you're 26 and learning to do things for the first time, asking questions is so intimidating. My "I'm in over my head" insecurities tend to make me paranoid and I often feel like everyone's looking at me like "you should know this". Doing things for the first time as you get older seems to get clunkier and messier. It's like fumbling your away around the dark. One thought that seems to consistently pop into my head is "am I doing this right?"
Some situations I've fumbled around in lately include:
1 - I'm looking for my socks in my Dorn room but for the life of me can NOT find the f**king things. I've felt around every nook of my bag. Short of turning on the light I'll never find them, but the girl in the bunk next to me is asleep. Can I turn the light on? Is this allowed? What.is.backpacker.etiquette?
2 - I am boarding my flight to Rome from Sicily in one day's time. All of a sudden I think, do I have too much hand luggage? So me being the smartest person I know (Naturally), I just go check the restrictions on the site quick. Oh my gosh, panic. I have to pay an extra cost for ANY hand luggage that doesn't fit under my seat!? What is this RyanAir? I have never heard of it! Up until about 2 years ago in South Africa we didn't even have any airlines where you needed to pay additional for checked baggage, never mind for an onboard backpack that fits in the overhead compartment. Every time I fly I seem to do at least one thing wrong but my mindset is that eventually ill have flown so many times, made all the mistakes and then have all the knowledge to make no more.
3 - The fumbling of having to teach myself to ride a bicycle at 26. Of course I refused any help (a moment of stupid pride), so ended up falling a fair amount, looking like a long-legged wierdo with no coordination for a good few days. I think I got the hang of it now.
5 - Packing for a month overseas. I've never done this. Why do all these backpackers on social media make it look so easy? Do I pack one pair of Jeans of two? What if one rips or stains? Should I take everything in medicine cabinet, what country's have what kinds of pharmacies?
6 - Everybody on the plane is asleep, I can't sleep and would love to read. Can I put my light on? I promise I'll shine it in my direction only. This thought plagues me for a good 30 minutes before turning over and trying to sleep.
7 - What do ND or polarised Filters do? What's the difference between Canon and Nikon? Why do so many of my photos look flat? How do a catch a still of that wave so you can see the movement? Soooooo many questions.
I'm trying to get into surf photography and I'd really like to actually try surfing but the thing is I'm one of the most clumsy people I know, just a bit afraid of the board hitting my face and getting stitches and the possibility of drowning. But heck I still want to try. So I'm bracing myself to fumble.
I want to be a better photographer, so I'm bound to fumble as I learn. I want to mountain bike, rock climb, write articles, freedive and so so so much more.
Learning to LOVE the fumbling stages:
It's so funny when you wake up like I did at a certain age and want a whole new lifestyle. Then you have to go and actually get it. So for me, to dedicate my life to living the things I'm passionate about like traveling, photography and outdoor adventure, I have to push myself and above all I have to fumble in order to learn.
A big part of fumbling is also accepting help and not being embarrassed that you're trying to learn something new, but rather proud. When trying anything for the first time, you have to begin. One of my favourite quotes is “To begin, begin.”. It is hard. It's 80% fumbling around like a fool over and over, all wide-eyed and lost looking but after the fumbling comes the knowing which is pretty darn satisfying.
At the moment my life seems like one big fat fumble! But guess what!? The fumbling is F**king great! That's why kids always have that jovial joy wiped across their faces, like the world is great and can do no wrong. So bring on all the fumbling, I'm learning to accept the "Don't give a shit what people think" thing, to not be embarrassed and to remember we all began. The fumbling make's me smile at myself, poke hundreds of wholes at my soft vulnerable spots and push me ever so slightly each time to being a little braver. A wide-eyed girl facing the fierceness of a lion with quivering legs, a beating heart and an unwavering determination.
Everybody, go after it and remember we all fumble. No one knows what they are doing at the start. Those super star sportsmen, they fumbled. The insane photographers, fumbled. The ultimate traveler, fumbled. At some stage everyone started and did what they are so good at, for the FIRST time. I have a whole new admiration for people who go out there and change their direction or try new things. Go out and fumble, then be great.
Next weeks blog post will be a guide to the SanPark, half collared kingfisher hiking trail in Wilderness, South Africa.
Keep your eyes peeled,