About a year ago I quit my job, packed up my flat, left London and went off to Central America to volunteer for three months. Lots of people told me I was brave. A few thought I was being reckless. All I knew for sure was that my 9-5 life wasn’t making too much sense to me anymore, and I needed a drastic change.
I was doing a job that didn’t make me happy, and it didn’t bring much joy to anyone else for that matter. I’d spent years worrying about what I *should* do – complete uni, build career, meet a partner, make money, settle down. But I hadn’t thought hard about what I wanted from life. I just knew in my bones that what I’d created for myself was not fulfilling.
I’d hoped that my time away would give me space, time and a wider perspective on the world. That I would return with a clear vision of what I wanted from life and how to get there. Hm. Yeah. Naïve. After 32 years of not having a clue, it was perhaps a tad unrealistic to think I’d magically figure it all out in three months.
I did realise that I wanted to lead a life that had positive impact. Not necessarily a grand world-altering impact. But small, sustainable actions that would be more mindful of others, the environment and my own wellbeing.
It’s an ongoing journey. It’ll take time to reach my destination – and I’m still a bit hazy on the directions. But I’m not the only one walking down this path. I’ve met so many people in the past year who share the desire to take a different route, to find a new way, to walk towards a fulfilling life that has clear purpose. For the majority, this isn’t just about themselves, but also about having a positive impact on the environment, local community, or global society.
The stories of these new friends are heartening to me. I love hearing them, and I like sharing them. These stories encourage me to get off my lazy butt and keep ploughing on down that path when I get the fear, or when I doubt whether I can make a difference. They give a little boost to my often elusive motivation. I hope they’ll also show others what can be possible when you show a little will.