With a baby sleeping in the Ergo on my back and a pit in the middle of my stomach, I paced along the sidewalk outside my hotel in Wincester, England. It was the third day of our 14 day trip to England and it was the first time I had been outside the hotel since our arrival. Of course, the Mister was working at a nearby office complex, so he had been coming and going, but I had remained stubbornly inside the walls of the slightly shabby hotel. Of course, I had reasoned with myself that I was just giving the baby plenty of time to adjust to the jet lag, but that was a lie, and even I knew it. I was hiding out. Afraid.
It’s not like I had been forced to take a trip to England. In fact I had practically begged to go along on the business trip, as I declared the obvious unfairness of Gary getting to have all the fun while I stayed at home alone. As a fine arts major, I had studied with delight the architecture, the art and the drama that England had to offer, and I was practically giddy at the thought of seeing things in person. I had carefully planned an itinerary that left me breathless: Stonehenge, Westminster Abby, the Globe Theatre. Although the plans in my head were grand, the reality left me paralyzed.
As a brand new mom, I was still adjusting to the life shaking experience of becoming a parent. Not only was it my first trip with my young son, it was my first overseas trip, as well and I was completely unprepared for the culture shock. While all of that makes pretty good excuses, the simple truth boiled down to the fact that I was scared. Scared of the unknown. Scared to try something out of my comfort zone.
There comes a point, though, when giving up your dreams is scarier than facing your fears. That happened for me with the dawn of third day in England. Gary rose for another day of work, and I rose determined to do something other than hide out in the hotel. I white knuckled my way through calling a taxi from the hotel lobby, and took the quick ride to the center of town only to discover that I only had American money in my wallet. The taxi driver waited patiently while I faked my way through changing money for the very first time, and then asked for a ride to Winchester Cathedral. Instead of climbing back into the cab, the driver began giving directions for walking to the cathedral.
The idea of wandering my way through a foreign city seemed frightening enough to send me right back to the safety of the hotel. I must have gulped audibly because the driver gave me an encouraging nod and pointed in the direction of the cathedral. With resolve, I took the first step across the city square towards the cathedral and never looked back.
In that moment, I became a living picture of every inspirational cliché imaginable. That step did begin a journey of a thousand miles. The only thing to fear was fear itself. Success was the sum of small efforts. The simple tasks of calling a taxi, changing money, and navigating foreign streets set in motion a string of success that took hold in my soul and spread like wildfire. That day, I stopped letting fear have control and let my dreams take the reins instead.