It was 4:40 a.m. and I jumped out of bed afraid I’d missed the sunrise since the sky was already light. I walked into the next room to wake my daughter. “Honey, do you want to get up and see the sunrise still?”
Sleepily, she got out of bed. We opened the windows and leaned out to take in the sunrise from our 4th floor apartment in Prague. It was cloudy, so the sunrise wasn’t as spectacular as we hoped, but we were seeing it in freakin’ Prague, looking out over rooftops of centuries old rooftops, the spires of the gothic cathedral looking ominous against the dark clouds in the western sky.
We were nearing the end of our family’s first European tour, a trip I had spent many an anxious moment scheduling and planning and agonizing over the tiny details (like parking a van in an old European city). I had traveled in Europe many times before, but I had never taken all of my children, never rented a car, never traveled in this area of the continent…there were so many unknowns.
And it was the unknowns of the journey that caused my chest to clench and my breath to shorten prior to our plane taking off. It was a real battle to keep from obsessing over the things that “might” go wrong, things I couldn’t foresee or plan for because I simply did not know how it would pan out.
The absolutely “safest” thing to do, I told myself at one point of intense stress, would be to just stay home. Who cares that we have non-refundable tickets. Who cares that I’ve already paid for our lodging in Slovakia. Who cares that the kids are excited and ready to go. We could just cancel the trip, and I wouldn’t have to worry about all of these unknowns.
But then I would have missed the sunrise over Prague with my daughter, missed the oos and ahs of everyone as we entered the old city apartment for the first time, missed the outrageously modern parking experience (which worked something like this), missed the thermal spa in Hungary, the daily walks for coffee and gelato, the dinners with my son’s host family, exploring medieval castle ruins, Blow Pop breaks, seeing my big sister in Vienna, gazing at extraordinary architecture, bubbles in the old town square, experiencing new languages and cultures with my husband and kids…
I could have shut down the adventures, the extraordinary gifts that awaited me each day, for fear of what I didn’t know and couldn’t control.
The riches I would have missed out on and the benefits I/we are still experiencing for having chosen to take the unknown path.
The day we visited the medieval castle ruin atop a hill in the Slovak countryside, we had finished exploring and were heading back to our van when our daughter started off down a short cut. My husband and I hemmed and hawed over the wisdom of taking an unknown path. Our daughter laughed gleefully and took off running down the path shouting, “This is what it means to live untethered!”
And she was right. Living untethered means embracing the unknown as a great adventure and running down the path, arm held high, face stretched in a grin, eyes open wide for the gifts that an uncertain trail is sure to hold.
Sure enough, this particular trail did lead right to our vehicle. And if it hadn’t, we would have only needed to walk back up the steep incline to get back on the sure road, a little more tired perhaps, but still the richer for having taken a risk.
That’s what the untethered life is. It’s taking a risk into the unknown, knowing that things aren’t going to be perfect, that you’re going to make mistakes, that you’re going to have a learning curve, some bumps and bruises, a few wrong turns and stressful moments, a bit of miscommunication and perhaps some language barriers, but you can always find coffee and gelato around the corner to help things feel normal again.
Our trip stretched me and tried me in ways I didn’t dream possible. I worried a lot about what might happen, what might go wrong, what I might forget…and guess what, not a single one of my worries ever came to pass.
And I could certainly have canceled the trip to ensure that not a single one came to pass, but I’m so thankful that fleeting thought flew on through, thankful I didn’t exchange the European unknown for the comfortable unknown of my everyday life (because, seriously, while it may seem predictable, it’s every bit as unknown as the adventure we just took).
So would you like to join me on a journey into the untethered life? Would you like to step out and see what a fresh view and a fresh perspective might look like for you? What is holding you back from living out your adventure?
I am passionate about helping people to become all they are created to be, leaving behind old patterns of thinking, of eating, of feeling, to embrace the life they are meant to live. If you’d like me to walk with you on this journey, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss a plan that works best for you.