Destinations Magazine

Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain

By Russellvjward @russellvjward

You're got a nice, safe job. You've worked at the same company for years. You're settled within your role and you know everything there is about what you do. But you're bored and you daydream. Still, you keep on doing what you do. Then your boss offers you the chance to join a team in a different location. Possibly overseas. After some thought, you politely decline. This isn't for you. And it's not as if you could ever move away from family and friends, is it?
Or perhaps you usually holiday for two weeks at a time in trusted, comfortable resorts in safe and prosperous countries. When a friend suggests you join them to travel for longer and further afield, maybe for three months not three weeks, you think about it and you weigh up the pro's and con's. Then you choose to let the moment pass. Maybe another time once you've more money saved up and the timing's right because, right now, you'd rather stay home.
Fear.  It's powerful stuff.
It can singlehandedly grab an opportunity in both hands and fling it to one side. It can change the course your life was meant to take with maximum impact and can deprive you of extraordinary experiences.
If you're comfortable in your own skin and happy to move through life doing exactly what you do, then that's fine. If a two-week holiday is your thing and the thought of longer-term travel horrifies you, again, that's okay. Whether it's travel or career, lifestyle or family, it's your right to do the things you like in ways that you want to do them.
But If you won't try something new because you refuse to leave your comfort zone, or if you see change and opportunity in a negative light unless you're guaranteed the perfect outcome, then I feel sorry for you.
Ultimately you will miss out while others gain.

Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain

Photo credit: Elyce Feliz (Creative Commons)

Fear of change
In my earlier life in the UK, I was fearful of many things. I feared growing up, getting older, leaving home and having to find my own way. My comfort zone was my family and my home - it was all that I really knew.
As a young boy, my grandmother suggested I visit my relatives in Germany with her. She knew I was a fearful child in need of breaking out of my comfort zone and she had the foresight to try to do something about it.
It was the scariest holiday of my life.
Away from my parents for the first time in my life, I cried and I cried. I played up and I fought my grandmother every step of the way. I was a miserable little wretch and my relatives remind me of it to this day. But by the end of the trip, I was a different child. I was braver, more interested by my environment, closer to my grandmother, and I'd learned, at a young age, how to stand on my own two feet outside of my comfort zone.
Whatever it was that I'd feared turned out to be nothing to be fearful of.
Fear of the unknown
Large numbers of British teenagers leave home every year to attend university across the length and breadth of the island.
I didn't attend the university I wanted to. With unexpectedly poor grades, I lost out on my first choice and had to settle for a university not of my original choosing. It was a cruel blow after previous strong academic performances and so I picked a university in the Midlands, a fair way from home.
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, all my initial plans flung out in the wind. And, with that, I headed in the direction of Coventry, bags packed and a month's worth of food stored in cardboard boxes. I wasn't mentally prepared for this moment in time, unsure of what to expect, but I knew I had to go with it, that this change would turn out to be a positive thing and I needed to embrace this fear of the unknown.
And the result? Five academically-challenging years of shandy-drinking adventure and a broad group of friends for life.
My fears of the unknown were unfounded.
Fear of taking a risk
To move abroad, we resigned from our jobs, gave up the associated perks - company cars, pensions, shares, security - sold our house and traded in a comfortable life for an uncertain future.
People thought we were crazy and told us so. Who would do such a thing and why? It was indeed a risk on a grand scale but we knew we would have regrets if we chose to stay behind. Even if a life lived abroad didn't work out, I'd rather have tried instead of spending a lifetime wondering what might have been.
In the coming weeks, I'll be launching a writing business, The International Writer, and hope to share more with you here. Starting a new business is virgin territory for me and the learning curve is already steep. It's a risk but it feels right and, anyway, what's the worst that can happen? If it doesn't work out, I go back to doing what I did before.
Last week, someone told me they gave up their job as a lawyer with just one week's notice and booked a one-way ticket to Vietnam. What a crazy thing to do - no future certainty, a career in tatters and a life on the road doing who knows what.
Three weeks into their trip and this person knew they'd never felt happier or freer in their life. They had faced up to their fears, realising all too soon that they should have been more fearful of living a life they weren't entirely passionate about, rather than fearing what would happen and what people might think if they quit their job and left. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
And they've been gaining life experiences ever since.
Did you fight your fears in moving abroad, starting a new job, trying something different? Do you feel that you had nothing to lose and everything to gain? Do you know people who have struggled to fight their fears?

A week ago, I ran a competition to win five copies of Dominic Knight's Man Vs Child. Picked at random, the five winners are Wren, Liene, Patricia Elizabeth Dolan, Carrie and Martin Joyce. Send a quick email to [email protected] and I'll get your e-copy sent out right away.
In other news, join myself, @HyattPR and other travel and expat bloggers this Thursday, Sept 26 at 8PM AEST (11AM GMT) for a 'Seamless Travel' chat where you can get travel tips and win prizes. Join the chat on Twitter by following the hashtag: #HyattWLFG

Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain

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