Last year, while I was doing the publicity for my book Vantastic, I found that at some stage in almost every interview I did someone would ask me about the process of decision making. How did we decide to go on a six month caravan trip around Australia? Where did the idea come from? Why did we need to do it? Once we'd come up with the idea then what did we do? And why on earth would a family of five make the decision to leave the comforts and safeties of their own home and business and make the risky decision to set off on an adventure? Why indeed.
Considering the fact that I was doing most of these interviews a year and a half after we'd returned from our trip, it was often hard to remember all the minor details that led us to the decision making time three years before.
For the past couple of weeks we've been making a similar decision. We've been discussing and planning our next adventure. Another possible trip, another lot of crazy thoughts. But this time I've been aware of the decision process the entire time. I recognised the seed of the idea when it was planted. I watched and noticed how we as a couple looked at that germinating seed from every angle, discussed the pros and cons, analysed the dreams and the realities, our fears and expectations and then introduced it slowly and carefully to the girls and then our extended families.
This time we left the idea as an idea for a while not making any concrete plans or doing anything to make this dream come true. 'This is what we are thinking about doing' we'd say, and it felt safe because it was only words. Words are so easily spoken and then forgotten.
Until a few days ago when someone asked us for potential dates and we realised that it could all be happening less than a year from now and it was time to knuckle down and do some research and write some emails. But before that we had to make the decision to actually do this. Were we serious? Did we really want it? Could we really do it? How on earth were we going to make the decision to leave the comforts and safeties of our own home and business and set off on what sounded like another crazy adventure?
We talked, we wondered, we dreamed and we googled, and then I flicked open page 124 of Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things. A page I'd marked a few weeks ago and now knew exactly why. An interviewer asked Cheryl what she does when she doesn't know what to do about something and Cheryl replied;
I talk to Mr Sugar and my friends. I make lists. I attempt to analyse the situation from the perspective of my "better self" - the one that's generous, reasonable, forgiving, loving, bighearted, and grateful. I think really hard about what I'll wish I did a year from now. I map out the consequences of the various actions I could take. I ask what my motivations are, what my desires are, what my fears are, what I have to lose, and what I have to gain. I move towards the light, even if it's a hard direction in which to move. I trust myself. I keep the faith. I mess up sometimes.
And then my sister Meg emailed me with a quote out of my Dumbo Feather article. She quoted me!! I had no excuse not to listen.
My feeling is that there's never going to be a right time for anything. There are excuses for everything. The caravan trip taught me that you can do it. How do you know what's around the corner? I felt that really strongly while we were away. Everyone we spoke to had these amazing stories of why they were away. And most of them were because something terrible had happened in their lives and they were recovering. Somebody had had a horrific heart attack, someone lost their job. Crazy things happen. So you just have to live now. Your family are so precious, time is precious. They're more important than schooling or the same olds. So that caravan trip really gave me the courage to think that we've got to live our lives. We've got to take control of them and engage with them. Not sit back and be passengers.Not long after reading those two paragraphs I sat down and wrote an introduction letter, this is who we are - this is what we want to do. I sent it to farmer Bren for approval and edits and once he sent it back I took a deep breath and sent it on. Now we're waiting, (and pressing refresh on my email a few times too many each day).
This is how we made this decision. I promise to fill you in on the details as they become a firm plan. I'm excited but also a teensy bit terrified. I'm nervous to even press publish on this post. But I guess all the great adventures have to start somewhere.
Now to make the next big decision for our family, what to have for dinner tonight, lasagna or felafel and salads?
Be well and make the good decisions lovely friends.