“They (leaders) surround themselves with the most able people they can find, they look at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they ask frankly what skills they will need in the future. And because of this, they can move forward with confidence that’s grounded in the facts, not built on fantasies about their talent.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset
If anyone had told me 10 years ago I’d be climbing a mountain in Mexico I wouldn’t have believed them because I could barely climb up to my second-floor apartment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 234 pounds, with a stature of 5’1′, and morbidly obese, I struggled to do anything. It wasn’t until I finally decided to make a change in my life that things changed.
During my recent trip to Mexico, I stood near the top of Peña de Bernal, a 433 m tall monolith, and one of the tallest in the world, I thought about all my self-limiting believes about who I am and how it’s up to me to make changes in my life. I had chosen to believe the “fixed mindset” that I am incapable or it’s not “who I am” and realized that I just defied all of it, and I did it because I wanted to, not because someone told me I “had” to change. I no longer identify with that “old” person, but with the new amazing, creative, and passionate person who’s a successful travel writer.
Check out Part 2 of my travel adventure.
Peña de Bernal, located in San Sebastián Bernal, a small town in the Mexican state of Querétaro, is one of the most touristic sites near the capital of Queretaro and considered one of the 13 Wonders of Mexico. I was traveling there with my Location Indie group. We departed from Querétaro early on my second full day in Mexico and I was feeling so excited to see rural areas of this country as well as challenge myself with this hike.
Standing on a rock that is 65 Million years old, and at an elevation of 8,235 feet above sea level, I felt that I had defied not only gravity, but all the limiting believes I’ve ever had about myself. It was real. I was here, with people who inspired me to be a better person, and challenged my limiting beliefs.
When I arrived at the bottom, I bought a coconut for 50 pesos and started to drink from it, inspired by fellow travelers who’d had this experience before. This was my first time actually drinking out of real coconut and it was amazing. A refreshing taste in my dry mouth, after a journey up and down the monolith, I had returned safely, in one piece, and felt alive.
Facing fears, Travel writing is my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
When I purchased the Paradise Pack about a year ago and was connected with these amazingly inspiring people doing creative work all while traveling, I started with a course called “21 Days to Discovering Your Passion.”
This course took me down a windy road about asking the hard questions towards where I want to go and what’s important to me. I clarified these desires and recognized that I could find my path. For me, travel writing was what I really wanted to do. So I decided last year I’m rebranding myself as a travel writer. I had a friend who connected me with the editor, and I started pitching story ideas. With the Denver Experience, it gave me the opportunity to have a reason to show up as a travel writer, and I returned with photos and details, getting my first article published online reminded me of what it felt like to see my name in print again. It was exciting, and as I planned more trips, and had more ideas, I started to write, and photograph for travel. I was becoming what I’d dreamed of!
A year later, I’m facing fears about taking action on my dreams. Recently I was comparing myself to others who’d done it all and have the t-shirts, and the byline. I keep finding myself wanting the “safe” route. I’d talked about finding a remote job so that I’d have more time to build up my location independent business, but the truth is, I haven’t really made a decision on what that was yet. I also had been struggling on getting a remote job, most likely because I don’t believe that’s my true path. I believe I need to be a travel writer, and my fears of being a failure are the roadblock in my path to finding my passion and living my dreams.
Just as I was ready to give up on the idea of travel writing, and double down on the idea of remote work, I was introduced to Tim Leffel, a travel writer, who spoke to our group about his experience. After learning about his story, I got reinvigorated, and when I got home, I ordered his book and another book about how to pitch stories to editors.
And just recently I’ve decided that I am going to do something that is scary, I’m going to continue perusing travel writing as a business, and find out how to make it work, and that’s awesome. I want to have more feelings of “Hell Yeah!” and that’s what gets me excited, creating photographs, writing about interesting places and meeting diverse people. Having a life that’s worth living and writing about it. I’m so thankful I connected with the LI group. They’ve challenged me and continue to challenge me to never settle for less than what I really want.
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