When we told people about our decision to cross the Australian dessert on foot, with our one year old, naturally we were met my many mixed reactions.
One of the first questions I was often faced with was why?
My simple answer is that it just feels right.
The deeper answer is that I’ve been grappling with a few questions, the “big” life questions that aren’t quite so easy to answer.
I feel I will only find clarity if I am able to create the right time and space for them to be answered. If I am able to push myself out of my comfort zone, simplify, be mindful, get outside and try something different.
And this is exactly what I believe the reason for this expedition is. It’s an opportunity for self exploration, family exploration, life exploration and fun. It might not be the hardest, the longest, the fastest or the first of anything in the world but it will hopefully be great.
So here they are, my top 5 big life Q’s at the moment…..
1. Am I living my best and most authentic life?
When I was 5 years old my teacher asked me what I wanted to be in 20 years to which I confidently replied, I will be a successful architect, living in an ocean front mansion, with my awesome family and a dog. I was sure I would have life all figured out by the ripe old age of 25!
Well I am happy to report to the 5 year old me that I do have an awesome family and a dog (whoo hoo – check!) but even now in my late(er) 30’s, even after starting a family, I still don’t have life all sorted out.
For me, I think that taking some time out and doing something different that is way outside of my comfort zone is a great challenge and learning opportunity – and that’s the adventure of it all.
And how boring would life be if we all had if figured out by 25!
2. Am I showing up everyday – and living life the fullest
“Tell me, what is it you are going to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
My dad was recently diagnosed with skin terminal cancer. It sucks, its hard and I would change it if I could but it has given me a new appreciation for life and the fragility and finiteness of it all.
As morbid as it might sound, it has made me think more about death and as a result the time we have left and how I wan to live. It has refreshed my desire to live a life of purpose, to be the best person I can be FOR the world vs the best person IN the world.
It has also reminded me to spend precious and quality time with my family, to invest in people, experiences and memories as those are the things we cherish most at the end of it all.
3. How do we have a family life AND live a life of adventure? How do we settle down differently?
Recently I read an article from TOMS CEO, Blake Mycoskie. He wrote:
“Frankly I miss living on a boat a lot. My life was so much simpler. I had no room for stuff so I had very little material possessions, and it was very romantic way to live. To come home, have a couple of beers and watching the sunset, it was a very awesome, liberating feeling. In some ways I think it made my evolution into being married and now being a dad much harder, because I think I lived – unlike some of my peers – a life of really, really radical freedom from a lot of things that hold people back. And then when you get married, you get a house and you get all this stuff and it’s hard. And I think its even harder for me to adjust to marriage and being a dad and having all these other responsibilities and stuff than had I not lived on the boat. But I am still glad that I did that.”
When I read this article something struck me, and I found myself wondering why can’t you have a family AND still live an adventurous lifestyle? Why does it have to be one OR the other?? Why do we have to settle down, get all this stuff and make it so hard on ourselves?
One big reason Justin and I decided to do this adventure as a family is to challenge the traditional norms associated with growing up and settling down and prove mostly to ourselves that it can still be adventurous, awesome, liberating and fun.
So for me this expedition has become a bit of an experiment. An experiment on merging an adventurous life, with a family life and with conscious living. Choosing a life that is deliberate, intentional and uniquely our own.
4. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – so how do we be and raise the best stewards for our planet?
Our world is changing and is often far from the safe, peaceful, abundant and fair place we all would love to raise children in.
Not to get all doomsday but if you listen to 98% of climate scientists, if we keep living the way we have been living, the future for our kids isn’t looking so bright. So how do we be the solution instead of adding to the problem?
For me that means living a curious and conscious life. It means waking up to our impacts as humans and doing something about them. It means asking questions and challenging the norm. It means doing things differently, more simply, more affordably, sustainably, more freely. It means creating a life of more meaning and less things. It means living more kindly, for ourselves and others.
5. How do we live and lead active, present and connected lives in the midst of so much distraction and technology?
In a world of social media we often have more virtual connections than real ones. How do we navigate through the ever changing world of technology and still connect to things that really matter – to each other, to community, to place and to nature? How do we not just burn out?
Parenthood is a great chance to reflect on what things you love about yourself and how you were raised and what things you don’t and would like to change. I love how technology can keep us more connected than ever but I hate how the connection has become more empty. I hope for Morgan that Justin and I can create a solid connection for her. Help ground her to family, community and the land. I hope to give her this as I know the world will challenger her and she will need to have the strength to take risks and the support when she falls.
So these are all the reasons WHY this trip just feels right and why I know it’s the right things to do.
When we told people what our family was planning, to my surprise, many expressed similar desires to simplify, reconnect, try something new, push themselves and to have more time with family and less time spent inside tied to a computer. Many expressed the shared desire to live life, not simply exist.
And to the people that think we are just plain crazy, to them I say, I am really glad we are….