A little over 12 months ago I realised that I was stuck in a rut and needed a huge goal to help me find a way out of it. I was approaching my 27th birthday, the same age my mother was when she passed away, and I wanted to do something big, bold and adventurous to make sure that my 27 was something to remember, and so the 27 adventure was born.
I worked two jobs for most of the second half of 2012 and planned an adventure that I’d never forget. The plan was 9 stops across the USA including Alt Summit and one last hop over to Canada for a two year stay. On January 17, 2013 I stood at Melbourne airport, said goodbye to everything I knew and got on a plane towards a future and an adventure that had more unknowns than I’d ever imagine.
Those first nine stops across the USA were a whirlwind of laughter, tears, relaxation and allowing myself the time to think about both who I was and who I wanted to be. I felt relaxed and happy and almost fearless, in a way that I hadn’t in years. Not everything went to plan but I handled each twist with the resilience that came from taking those big scary steps that it took to get on the plane.
I met many lovely people along the way who reminded me that there is more good in the world than bad – something you can never be reminded of often enough. New York, my final US stop, left me feeling elated and ready to take on whatever was coming my way. I was ready to settle in Canada and make it my home.
Things quickly became more of an adventure than I bargained for once I got to Canada. Accommodation fell through; red tape sprung up everywhere I looked; all the research I’d done was woefully incorrect and terrible news came from home. I tried to shake it off and look at things from a different angle and I relied heavily on the kindness of near strangers who helped me out without even thinking twice. I am forever grateful to them.
I did the sums and I really thought it through, every part of me knew that all solutions pointed to home. I tried to ignore it for a while, but I have never felt like a decision was more right, than I did that day. I made a point to see more of Toronto and took a bus out to Niagara Falls and the next Wednesday morning I got on a bus that would take me to Detroit, Michigan and to familiar faces who would make me feel at home until it was time to make that 29 hour journey back to the other side of the world.
As the plane landed back in Melbourne, my heart swelled and I knew instantly that it was where I was meant to be. Sometimes you need an adventure to take you half way around the world to realise that you belong back where you started. I came back a different person to the one that left. My adventure gave me the clarity to see what kind of future I want for me: one that slows down to smell the roses; one where laughter and happiness reign and one where a happy home is a priority.
All the adventuring made me realise that if I could make all that happen just 7 months after I first thought about taking that leap, then I can must be able to do it again with another dream and another timeline and if I can do it, with a little willpower and a great plan, anyone can.
Here are some tips to help you make your crazy big adventures/dreams happen:
- Write all the things you want to do down and pick the one you really want to happen first
- Break that down into actionable steps that will take an hour at most to complete and just focus on one step at a time
- Decide early on what is a ‘must have’ and what is a ‘nice to have’ so that you know from the beginning what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re not, and be ok with both
- Get out your calendar and make a realistic timeline for when you can aim to have each actionable step done by. Be kind to yourself and don’t overestimate what you can get done in a day or a week
- Ask your community for their help or support. Don’t go it alone, you may just find someone who can help you with one or two steps or knows someone who can
- Know your numbers. Whilst budgets can be scary and look huge, you’re more likely to get what you need to make it happen if you know that figure
- Know what you’re willing to sacrifice to make it happen, (like giving up your daily trip to the coffee shop) but also treat yourself once in a while, because you deserve it!
- Remember that you CAN do this and that it doesn’t matter if it takes longer than planned or that there are twists in the road, it’s all part of the adventure
Dannielle is a former web designer, constant dreamer and sometimes crazy adventurer. She is starting over and is on a mission to help people bring happiness (and fun) back into their homes with a dash of organisation and a sprinkle of their own awesome style.
Wonderful post and wonderful adventurer! I do believe your real journey is only just beginning !!
Thanks so much, Elle! That’s so lovely of you to say!
What an amazing story Dannielle! Bravery + inspiration all in one 🙂
Thanks, Sara! So kind of you to say. Thanks for reading 🙂
Hey Dannielle! It was great to meet you at Alt! I applaud you for coming to the conclusion that it’s okay for plans to change, and that it doesn’t mean you’ve “failed” somehow. “When one door closes, another opens” (and other such aphorisms).
Thanks, Arianne! It was so great to meet you too! 🙂
Yay! I’m so glad you posted here, Dannielle! It was an awesome adventure, and I’m so happy we got to hang out together, even if I didn’t have time to plan much for us to do. It was great anyway. Sometimes, I think it’s when things don’t turn out as we plan them that things turn out the best.
Thanks Tif! Having experienced this, I now totally agree! Sometimes when plans go off course you find what’s meant to be. It was so lovely seeing you! 🙂
It was interesting reading about your journey and the bits of wisdom discovered along the way. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now, trying to obtain something I’ve been working at for years yet always coming up short and reliving failure. Something my mom says is “every problem has a solution”. However, I’m learning that we need to be creative in our solutions and that failure doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing, but a way to get us to learn something that we can use in the future.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment! Having taken this trip I now see that twists and turns aren’t always the failures that we initially see them as. Sometimes they are challenges that help us to find our way, even if it’s different to the one we initially pictured.
Getting creative with solutions can really help, as can looking at the problem in a different way. Just hang in there and remember that you can change your mind and reassess if you need to.
Sending you best wishes for your adventure, here’s to wonderful things ahead! 🙂
Adventures are great! Glad you took off on yours and came home with renewed enthusiasm. I really like your breaking down into 1 hour tasks. I’ve never thought to put a time limit on things Busch an easy way to make any task more achievable!
Thanks, Laney! The one hour tasks are great. Things don’t feel so big when it’s just an hour here and there 🙂
Hi Dannielle! You did a great thing setting off on your 27 adventure as you did, learning heaps, and now finding a new and equally awesome direction. Congratulations and thanks always for your help!
Thanks Jane! So lovely of you to say. 🙂
What a great read Danielle – there is no place like home but
sometimes we just need to venture out and explore and see what happens! Coming back is always an option too – when we
are back to familiar ground it always feels good even though we come back a
Thanks AC! So kind of you to say! 🙂
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