6:30 am. I was still thinking about the latest live session of Write of Passage that had ended half an hour ago.
I had set an alarm for 4 am to attend that session after getting only 3 hours of sleep.
Yet I was as fresh as someone waking from a deep sleep, both literally and metaphorically.
It was as if something inflammable was within me that had caught a spark. And the fire was burning any fatigue I might be feeling.
I had a chat scheduled at 6:30 with one of the mentors in Write of Passage, Adam Tank.
We talked about a range of things like having mindful conversations on Twitter, developing deep connections online as an introvert, and how travel can get you out of your comfort zone.
The last point, about the travel, led to one moment that stood out during the entire conversation- a moment that poured gasoline on the fire within me.
It was the point when I shared with Adam how interacting with different people in WoP has re-ignited a strong desire and a soul call within me towards the idea of meeting people from different countries and experiencing diverse cultures.
I shared about how I am already thinking about funding it next year with a location-independent freelance career and embracing a digital nomad life for a few months.
At that moment, Adam just leaned back and looked at me with an expression of hope and wonder. He says, “I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU” followed by a smiling sigh of silence.
Goosebumps. Literal goosebumps.
I felt someone had just sanctioned the trip I was secretly dreaming of. He followed it up by sharing his experiences and even shared some of the resources that could help me out.
Thanks to the conversation, I floated in the endless blue sky of dreams for the entire day while I powered through my day job like a sleepless ninja.
Once I managed to have 8 hours of sleep the following night, the clouds of fear had begun to form in that blue sky of dreams.
I was still excited but it was accompanied by another familiar guest- fear. The fear of the unknown, threatening to overpower the sense of safety.
The Dilemma of Safety
I have had a pretty safe life so far. I followed all the rules as a kid managing to stay in the top 3 of my class for a major part of school life.
I had a decent engineering education followed by a liberal arts one (okay, that one was kinda scary but to be honest, it was scarier for my parents! If you’re curious, you can read about that adventure here).
I have a full-time job which I do not really hate. Plus, it pays alright.
Maybe soon I might fall prey to the cousin of safety- ‘settle down’ with someone for the sake of society and parents. That would complete the safety net.
But thinking about it sinks my heart. The net does not lead to any sparks. In fact, it even threatens to extinguish the fire that I have felt in the past 4 weeks.
These are the sparks of different ideas I have rarely explored deeply so far. These are the sparks of constant learning, writing online, finding my tribe and personal monopoly, being a solopreneur, interacting with people across the world, and unlocking serendipity.
Among these sparks, the biggest one is interacting with people across the world and immersing myself in different cultures.
It is the biggest because it is probably the toughest given that I have neither gone outside the country before nor do I have the financial means to do so currently.
I have had dreams of exploring the world. But The Write of Passage has turned them into dreams that don’t let me sleep and make me feel alive like anything.
And the resultant sparks are threatening to turn into a raging fire that can burn away any safety net, whatsoever.
But I sense and anticipate a certain comfort in that discomfort of burning in the raging fire.
It might not be safe in the traditional sense. But maybe that is what is needed to propel my rocket into the space of the unknown.
Venturing into the Unknown
As humans, we love routine and safety. Thanks to evolution, the fear of death at any point of time is replaced by fear of the unknown or stepping outside the comfort zone.
For me, the unknown is leaving the comfort of a full-time job.
It is also about the fear of not making enough as a freelancer/solopreneur to fund my dream of exploring the world. It is also about the fear of finding that I do not have it in me to become a solopreneur.
Perhaps the biggest fear is that this is a naive, unrealistic dream because of repeated viewings of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Eat, Pray, Love, or reading The Alchemist. For the love of God, I hope this is not the case.
But, nothing great is ever achieved without overcoming fears and stepping outside the comfort zone. Be it any invention or self-discovery.
Something deep within me tells me it is a genuine call towards a treasure I do not know yet. I know there will be discomfort and fear along the way.
But I also know if I can make it happen, there will also be a lot of possibilities, excitement, thrill, and learning along the way.
Isn’t that the point of all of it?
If we can just look at the unknown from a lens of unlimited possibility where anything can happen, maybe the fear starts to disappear.
Like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I just want to thrust one foot forward into empty air and put it down while trusting that I won’t fall.
And hopefully, I won’t.