Gidday from Down Under, fearless friends! What a privilege to be invited to blog along with the rest in this powerful Becoming Fearless segment. I'm an Atlantan by birth and have been a resident of New Zealand for almost 10 years now. Met a couple of young newlyweds in Cyprus over 20 years ago when visiting by chance, and two years later, they invited me back to stay with them. My life took a turn that I'd never expected when I met the Kiwi bungee jumpmaster who wouldn't accept "no" for an answer that summer! Three years of living in the Mediterranean before getting married made me start thinking my life might end up just a little bit differently, to say the least. Truthfully, adjusting to life in NZ was really hard for me. I sent email after email home to friends, explaining all the idiosyncracies of life here (which made them howl with laughter). My sister, living comfortably in Los Angeles, said this was my time in life to "get back to simplicity," but meanwhile I was craving my gorgeous shopping malls, Mexican food and Tootsie Rolls!
When I finally let go and gave in to the universe, I started appreciating the little things that make a place far from home seem special. Seeing everyone barefooted at the grocery store and having no screens on windows nor central air conditioning or heating isn't quite so offensive now. The lifestyle here provides an easy balance between work and home; no matter where you live, you are never far from the mountains or the beach, and you can be part of the great outdoors that all Kiwis adore. Though there isn't the choice of 249 brands of junk food lining the supermarket shelves, I do find it comforting that I am not having to keep up with my neighbors and friends by wearing the latest fashions or having the biggest SUV with the most cupholders. Matter of fact, less choice can be quite calming.
When I turned 40 a few years ago, I signed up for Outward Bound and with that, the girl who couldn't be paid enough to be alone in the forest was actually at home with only a "convenience bucket," nuts, apples and possums as her friend for almost three days!
Last year, I decided to host the entire NASA Discovery crew here for a visit to inspire school children in Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes. Being able to call on this country's highest-ranking CEOs and politicians for help is something anyone with passion and drive can do here. And now I lead a charity that helps Kiwis who experience mental illness to live fuller lives. And to have such a beautiful job title? Well, that's an honor in itself.
So life is pretty good. I guess you can say that because I've tried life in a whole new realm, unexpected and special experiences have reshaped and helped expand my thinking so much more than if I'd played it safe and predictably, like most people.
Be fearless and let life flow, I say.
For more by Ree Varcoe, click here.
For more on becoming fearless, click here.