Between a rock and a far away place


Lately I have felt stuck; caught between a rock and a far away place, in that almost but not quite there phase of making your dreams come true. I remind myself daily of the well-known saying that nothing worth having comes easy. I bob around in this seemingly endless sea of chaos, of boxes and backpacks and dwindling belongings, clinging to the words like a life raft. I know that eventually I will reach the shore, but right now it still seems so distant, and at times I wonder if it would perhaps be easier to simply let it all go and sink beneath the safety of my bed covers.

There’s an area of Mount Everest known as The Death Zone. It’s the home stretch, just before which is a small camp where climbers rest prior to making their final ascent to the summit. The oxygen levels are so low that many people fail to make it beyond this point.

That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m so close to reaching my dream, and yet it has never felt further away and I’m struggling to breathe through it all.

I never fully anticipated the emotional effects this whole process would have on me. In the beginning I was just focused on paying off my debt and building my savings. I enjoyed the challenge, digging in and pushing myself ever onwards. For almost two years I climbed closer and closer to the summit, never once doubting my ability to reach the top. I was driven to the point of obsession.

Now I am here in an almost empty room, my belongings all sold or stored, wearing the same pair of jeans and rotating T-shirts daily, with my new life waiting for me in my 40litre backpack. It is a desolate place to find yourself, staring back at your old life, with your new one shining in the distance. I feel like an asshole for leaving my family and friends, and frequently battle with my guilt at having so casually discarded a life that had nothing wrong with it, simply because it didn’t feel right to me.

Lately I do doubt my ability to live out my dreams, and I wonder if I deserve to have them come true. I am arguing with Lee, and testing the patience of everyone who loves me. I am starting to crack under the weight of my own expectations.


And then I remember the one thing that always brings me back; gratitude. I remember how unbelievably lucky I am to be here, standing on the precipice of greatness. I suck it in to my lungs and feel its warmth flood my entire being.

Lee sent me a link to this video the other day. It is a beautiful ode to Palolem, the beach in Goa where we first met, and where we will be setting up home in just a few short weeks. As I watched it for the first time, everything fell away… all my bullshit and emotional overindulgence. It took me back to the bottom of the mountain, and reminded me why I began this long and arduous climb in the first place.

Because life is short, too short not to live it the way you want to.

And so I have found my feet again, and am ready to finish this journey. Except now it is not the top of a mountain that I am walking towards, it is the soft lull of the waves against the sands of a beach where I first met the man of my dreams, and dared to imagine a life of endless possibility. It is where my soul truly feels at home.

There’s a line in one of my favourite songs that goes “Live through this, and you won’t look back.” That’s all I have to do; breathe in and out, and remain grateful.












18 days to go.


{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica September 11, 2012 at 13:47

“…just because it didn’t feel right” is all the justification you need. The letting go is the hardest part. But you will get through it (of course) and be amazed by the path you’ve chosen. And I can’t wait to come visit:)


Hannah September 12, 2012 at 23:49

I can’t wait for you to come visit as well! I hope to be able to show you around Palolem one day very soon x


claire September 11, 2012 at 13:48

Aw Hannah, I was emotional enough by the time I finished reading this post; by the end of the video I was in floods of tears.
Don’t beat yourself about leaving your family and friends; this is YOUR journey and none of them would tell you not to do it. Besides, the world is such a small place now…but such a big place to discover =) Go go go, be gone!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hannah September 12, 2012 at 23:51

I’m going!


Carmel September 11, 2012 at 15:48

Why do we doubt our instincts about what is right for us so frequently and so vehemently? As if somehow we’re going to be so wrong. So what if you’re wrong? What would you do? Come back and set up life again. You’ve done it once before, you can do it again. It seems so simple, but we overcomplicate things.
What an incredibly honest and real post…nice to see in a sea of b.s. and over-hyped stories on the internet (did I mention I’m kinda grouchy today??)


Hannah September 12, 2012 at 23:56

Thank you Carmel, you always write such lovely comments and I really appreciate your support. I’m grouchy too – if only we lived closer – we could go be grouchy together over cocktails 🙂


Pamela September 11, 2012 at 16:03

I can’t denied is hard sometimes, if I could plan it all over, I would go back once a year to visit family, that is the hardest part of my travels , but technology helps a lot, google + is awesome. Take a full advantage of your last days and then enjoy the ride! There are no rules, follow your heart to where it takes you 🙂


Hannah September 12, 2012 at 23:57

We will definitely be circling back every year for a visit – I don’t think I could manage longer than that. We have planned to come home for a few weeks next September before heading over to Central and South America 🙂


Sarah Somewhere September 11, 2012 at 16:11

Dear Hannah, so nice to read your heartfelt words again after too long without them! The guilt and the fear and the confusion and the conflict is all part of how we grow, widening our views and perceptions of the world. Growing pains, if you like. Thanks for sharing yours, you must be growing a LOT girl! I know you’re doing the right thing, does that count? Can’t wait to stroll that beach with you and laugh about all this…


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:00

I can’t wait to stroll that beach with you too. It will be so wonderful to share my favourite place with you – I know you are going to love it, and it will be the perfect place to relax before the madness of the Rickshaw Run!


Ayngelina September 11, 2012 at 17:49

I remember this feeling, I was full of anxiety and doubt. But you know when I walked through the metal detector at the airport all of it washed away and it was replaced with confidence. I finally felt deep down that I was doing the right thing.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:03

Thanks Ayngelina, it’s good to know other people felt the same way too. I know I’ll feel fine once I’ve said my goodbyes and boarded the plane, it’s just going to be an emotional journey until I reach that point.


Kim September 11, 2012 at 20:14

I so totally know exactly how you feel- I felt the exact same way. Once you are on that plane to India it will all melt away… XO


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:03

I can’t wait for that moment. I think the free drinks will help too 🙂


Rhonda September 11, 2012 at 20:36

love this post! Don’t let the expectations of others change what you are looking for. Life is, indeed, much too short and unexpected to feel you need to please everyone. You know you’re moving in the right direction…just keep on walking!
p.s….. we LOVE Palolem Beach too and can’t wait until we can return. Would love to hear about where you’ll be lucky enough to stay for 3 months.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:05

Ah, I’m so glad you love Palolem too. I’ll be sure to write all about our Indian home and share lots of photos 🙂


Hannah September 11, 2012 at 22:04

Hannah, I can completely feel what you are feeling right now. I only have 6 days before I leave for my big adventure, and I’m going through a whole range of emotions including fear and doubt. Stay strong, and in a few weeks when you are finally on the road, you are going to be sighing with relief and happiness.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:06

6 days! Wow!!! Good luck on your adventures, I’ll be following avidly 🙂


Sylvain September 11, 2012 at 23:22

Thanks for the post… it’s nice to get in touch with the feelings.
I’ll be in that position in about 9 months… just about to do the final jump.
I guess that’s a bit like the cold feet before a wedding.
But you can always remind you that once you made the move, it’s not irreversible if you want or need to return home with family… even if it’s just for a short while… to get ready to leave again. Yes, we all hope to leave forever… but the important is to be comfy. If thinking it’s for the next 50 years scare you (and it can without being ashamed of it), just remember to breath and say you’re leaving for a year. A year from now, you tell yourself again it’s for another year, etc.
The important is to make it the way that’s right for you. Also, don’t plan too much ahead of time… and be prepared to throw your plans by the window if you realize at one point you’re not comfy. The idea is to do what you want… not to stick to plans you thought were right 6 months ago.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:08

Thank you Sylvain. I wish you all the best on your own adventures 🙂


Scarlett September 11, 2012 at 23:47

Another beautifully written piece Hannah. As you said; take one step at a time. We all begin to doubt ourselves when we get close to things we’ve worked for for so long – but you should be so proud of yourself and so excited that all your hard work is about to pay off. Welcome to your amazing new chapter xx


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:09

Thank you so much Jenn, I really appreciate that x


Whitney Anderson September 12, 2012 at 00:04

I’m new to your blog. HANG IN THERE! That video was so beautiful. Thanks for sharing and best of luck to you.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:10

Thank you Whitney, I’m so glad you found me! I’m about to head over and check out your blog now 🙂


Rika | Cubicle Throwdown September 12, 2012 at 04:09

I can relate – I spent so much time consuming myself with getting everything in order to go, and now I’m here and dealing with a lot of things I didn’t deal with before I left. Still a million times better than staying and wishing I would have gone though…enjoy your last days, say some lovely goodbyes and then set off on your adventure with a happy heart!


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 00:12

Yes, going is definitely better than staying. I have been reading your blog and find your story so inspiring. I hope you can deal with everything and continue to make the most of your new life in Roatan 🙂


Clare September 13, 2012 at 04:27

I just found your blog. So glad I did. This entry and video are stunning.


Hannah September 13, 2012 at 16:41

Hi Clare, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it. I’m off to check out your blog now 🙂


TammyOnTheMove September 14, 2012 at 09:08

I know what you feel about leaving your friends and family. It breaks my heart every time I am speaking to my parents and telling them that I am extending my stay in Cambodia (I am working here). But in the end they understand that this is what makes me happy and so they are happy as well. It is normal to feel nervous, but in the end all of the hard work will be worth it. You are going to have an amazing time and I can’t wait to read all about it.


Hannah September 21, 2012 at 13:58

Thank you for your comment Tammy. My family and friends have been very understanding and supportive as well, and I know they always have my back. I think that is why it is so hard to say goodbye to them though! But like you, I know the sacrifice is worth it.


Jeremy or IHeartTravel September 16, 2012 at 22:43

first welcome back !! So as I read the beginning of this post I couldn’t help but to think of a quote (geek is about to come out), it’s a quote from one of my favorite films it goes….
“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.” -Harvey Dent
I commend you for what you have accomplished and I know that when you depart on this adventure, on that day everything will all make sense !


Hannah September 21, 2012 at 14:00

Thanks Jeremy, that’s a really great quote. I’m looking forward to the dawn 🙂


Margaret Hogan September 21, 2012 at 13:06

Remember this Hannah…
No matter where you are … you’re there.
Get it?


Hannah September 21, 2012 at 14:02

Thanks Marg, those are definitely wise words to remember 🙂


Vicky September 24, 2012 at 16:46

Aw hun it sounds stressful, but I hope you were just having a down day when you posted this. You need to follow your dreams, no one else will. Good luck and I hope you feel a bit better now x


Hannah September 25, 2012 at 01:08

The path towards my dreams came with a lot of down days. I think they are an inevitable and essential part of it all, and this certainly wasn’t written on a singular day, but was rather the result of many. I think it’s important to show the other side of this life of travel, and share every aspect of our journeys.


Steph | October 4, 2012 at 00:52

Your honesty never ceases to amaze me! I wish I could be so honest in real life and on my blog, and stop pretending everything is so perfect all the time. We all have ups and downs. Cant believe as I read this you are already in India! So happy for you and Lee! xx


Hannah October 5, 2012 at 01:13

Thank you Steph, that really means a lot. I truly believe that if we all did that – stopped pretending – then the world would be a much better place. To begin with it was terrifying to be so honest on my blog, but now I couldn’t imagine being any other way. I think it is so important to show every side of our journeys, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Give it a try, and see where that voice takes you.


Anna December 6, 2012 at 23:55

Hi Hannah. I really like your blog and I love your style of writing. I can totally relate to alot of what you say. I too have spent 18 months obsessivley planning and saving and 4 years dreaming for a trip that is starting in India in 18 days. Only today after quiting my job, selling my stuff and starting to say my goodbyes it suddenly started to feel real I started to question whether I was doing the right thing and I felt mad for feeling this way after planning the trip for so long. Reading your blog has been great as Im not alone! I hope you are having a wonderfull time in India and good luck with the Rickshaw run.


Hannah December 28, 2012 at 01:27

Thank you so much for your kind words Anna, I’m so glad you were able to find some comfort in my post. You are certainly not alone, and I hope that now your travels have started you have realised how very worthwhile your struggles were.


Peter Korchnak May 20, 2013 at 16:22

I just discovered your wonderful blog while doing research for my and my wife’s (Further Bound made it on our blogroll). We’re setting out on our trip in less than a month, so reading about your experience hit close to home. And what a joy to read your post reflecting on 6 months of travel! It all works out in the end.
Thank you for sharing and for honest writing in general. There’s precious little of it out there.


Hannah May 28, 2013 at 01:21

Thank you so much Peter, it does indeed all work out in the end! I knew it would, but also truly believe it is important to show every side of this journey. Making my dreams come true was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I think it can be all too easy for people to say things like “You’re so lucky”, without every actually considering what the person went through to be living this life. It’s not about luck, it’s about working your butt off, and prioritising your dreams every day until you finally make them a reality. Good luck with your own dreams!


Krista Beauvais August 23, 2013 at 17:05

Ah, I love this… It was so great to meet you tonight – and I’m loving reading through some of your posts. I’ll email you some interview questions in the next few days. This post is exactly what wodara is all about; I loved every word of this!


Hannah August 24, 2013 at 00:56

It was lovely to meet you too Krista! Thank you for taking the time to come and read some of my posts, I’m so glad you are enjoying them. I look forward to taking part in your interview series, and to crossing paths with you guys again one day.


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