I’ve been thinking about my final Fearkick challenge and what I want that experience to look like. I want it to challenge me on as many fronts as possible, and be momentous enough to serve as the end of my year-long experiment.
So I’ve settled on an extended vacation (I know, how tough, right?). Although I’ve traveled alone and am not really nervous about flying or travel in general, I’ve always had someone to meet at my destination, so I had the safety net of spending my time once arrived with someone else. The thought of spending a week in a city very far away from everyone I know simultaneously excites and terrifies me.
I’m planning a trip to Seattle, which is about as far as you can get from my corner of the contiguous United States.
I’ve wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest for a while now; in fact, I never realized that it was the kind of place I could fall in love with until I watched the first Twilight movie. (Something good came out of that experience after all!)
I’m a Florida native, and so I don’t dream of beaches and sunshine, but instead rainy, cloudy days and mountains, cold enough to wear several layers of clothes and still be comfortable. I adore cold weather, and if I’m lucky enough to get a cool day in South Florida crossed with a dark and dreary one, I am lost in transports of joy.
People usually think I’m joking when I express this excitement; and then without fail tell me that I’d change my mind if I ever lived in cold weather. Oh, BUT NO, Fictional Challenger! I lived in Boston for two years and loved every second of the coldest, snowiest weather I experienced. Granted, I didn’t have a car, which I assume is a huge difficulty in snowy climates.
So the thought of experiencing the Pacific Northwest in January is actually pretty exciting, if also scary. I’ll be completely responsible for my own enjoyment of the trip, for the planning of every piece, and for my security (emotional and physical) while I’m there.
At first I was thinking, this isn’t a great challenge. I’m not afraid of airplanes or airports or being alone. But then as I thought more about how it would look, I started to become paralyzed by fears that I didn’t know existed: Being alone in a city, especially after dark (and if I go in winter, there will be a lot of after dark) is terrifying.
Here’s the weird part: I lived in Boston for two years. I loved almost every second of it, and I was never in the least afraid of walking around after dark. And I had a lot of anxiety there–in fact, that’s where I was diagnosed with anxiety and the first time I realized it was even a possibility–even though I’m sure it’s been around since I was a kid. So why am I suddenly now quailing at the thought? Just because it’s a new city? Boston was brand new to me, too. Or maybe it’s just my anxiety is showing me the worst case scenarios and that’s got all my nerves on edge.
I’m also suddenly afraid of being alone and doing things alone. And I’m afraid to even plan it: what if I do it wrong, or I end up not making my financial deadline? Is it stupid to go in winter, when the only shoes I own are Reefs and Vibrams and nothing in my closet is wool?
Anyway. My point is: this is presenting a lot of fear for me. I’m scared to plan it, scared to think about doing it. But maybe that’s just today, maybe this will pass.
My therapist reminded me, when talking about eating habits and losing weight, to keep my focus on the present. I tend to either slip back into the past, or think about the future: like, by x date I’ll have lost x amount of weight and look perfect for x event. But that’t not getting me anywhere, even though it’s a motivating thought…because it’s so far in the future, I don’t feel urgency about making the right choices today. Plus, by giving myself such a hard to reach goal, I’m activating my perfectionist procrastination brain cells. Why start when I’ll never make it to that goal?
So my challenge for this week is to buckle down on money. No wasting money on paperbacks I’ll never read again, or bottles of my beloved illegal Diet Coke (I’m trying to quit again!), or trying out new skin products.
A few years ago, a few of my college friends were planning a trip to Iceland, and had one person cancel at the last minute. They invited me, and I’ve fiercely regretted ever since not going. Although it was impossible: I didn’t have $2,000 and I couldn’t save it or make it in the time before they left. I don’t want to miss out on any more experiences because I’m sort of lackadaisical with my money.
I’ve set up a special savings account for this trip at SmartyPig.
There will be a widget in the sidebar from now on so you can keep an eye on my savings…my hope is that having that viewable by other people will motivate me to not throw up my hands halfway through and go on a Target shopping spree. (Never mind…widget is on hold for now!)
I’ve also got a giant jar for coins in my kitchen, with $50 collected so far. I don’t use cash often, so I’m not sure how much I’ll get out of emptying my pockets of change daily, but maybe I can convince visitors to my house to donate $0.30 here and there.
Obviously, none of this is going to be enough, so I need to earn some chunk of money between now and January. My current plan for this is to work harder to advertise my freelancing copy editing skills (P.S. Anyone need a copy editor?). We’ll see.