My Worst Fear Realised

nogassmallSo it finally happened. One of my worst fears. Now to many it may not sound that bad but to me it has been something I have dreaded happening for some time. Not only did it just happen it happened at one of the worst times in one of the worst places.

That fear? Running out of diesel in our bus while on our way to the gas station. Yup, we were literally a block and a half from the gas station to fill up and we landed a red light at a very busy Auckland intersection right on peak traffic. Not only that but we were parked in the only lane that allowed traffic to go straight ahead meaning all straight through traffic now had to divert from their intended course.

The thing is with an older bus like ours. If you pour a can of diesel in to an empty tank there is a very good chance you will need to manually pump it through, arrrr more dollars!

I couldn’t believe it, I felt that warm flush come over me as I realised what had happened. The bus just would not move. Yes I hear you saying, why did you let the diesel get so low. Normally I wouldn’t but we had had one of those weeks where the finance got sucked into the vortex of the unexpected and as most bus people will be able to tell you, it can be a life of faith at times.

So here we are sitting in disbelief as the lights turned green and the bus just sat. I was suddenly aware of a very large number of cars behind us most likely wondering what on earth am I doing. Time for action!

Cindy made a quick dive out the door to grab the gas can out of the car and make a dash for the closest petrol station while I sat with the thought of having to go to the back of the bus and encourage the line of traffic now backed up to make their way around either side of the bus.

Here I go, one of my greatest fears unfolding right in front of me. I make my way to the back of the bus expecting to be greeted by some angry drivers but was nicely surprised to feel myself relaxing as everyone with no exception was so amazing. I had so many offers of help that I had a now very rehearsed response of “thanks, but help is on it’s way”. I even had one guy on a push bike suggest he would like to help but felt he may have a few problems trying to tow the bus.

I felt my anxiety melt away as more assurance came from those who encountered the rear of our bus with no intention of going anywhere. Someone even yelled out to Cindy and offered her a ride to go get the diesel. She returned with the diesel, I poured it in the tank and after a few turns of the starter the bus began to fire back to life and off we went with no hesitation to the petrol station to ensure this was not going to happen again.

So it had happened, I realised my worst fear in the bus and I am still here to type the tale and even look back at the experience and wonder what it was that I really feared.

See I had set up preconceived ideas in my mind what it would look like if I ever ran out of diesel at an intersection in our bus let alone a very busy one in Auckland. I had already played it out which gave the fear grounds to sit in the back of my mind and cause a sense of anxiety.

Now I would be the first to say we live a pretty amazing life, but I am still just like the next guy or girl who has dreams and ambitions in life yet fear can get in the way. For me the fear wasn’t enough to stop me living in a bus but it was still something that effected my stress levels when driving in a city on a tight financial week.

The thing is though I have realised a lot of fears we have as people, when they do happen, may not actually be as bad as we imagined and at times can be totally unfounded.

We hear all the time from people that would love to move into a bus and travel or similar goals. We also hear all the reasons why they don’t. What about money, what about my job, what about security (next blog), what if this? what if that?

In life there will always be what ifs. There are no guarantees or promises it will all be ok. But if we allow those fears to take root in our minds there are so many things we may never accomplish. I know for some we grow up with, don’t climb on that you will get hurt, don’t quit your job you will go hungry and die, don’t, don’t, don’t.

Well I’m here to say DO! and do it big! You will survive that thing, and what’s more it may even become an experience that you will look back on and smile. I still have a giggle at some of the witty but supporting comments a lot of drivers made and with some it even lead to quite a conversation, some quite amusing, while waiting once again for another red light to pass. There are some funny people out there.

So embrace the fear and Live Life!

My encouragement to you? What is something that fear has held you back from? What have you already decided in your mind as to the outcome? They say the thing you fear most will come upon you, so best get it out of the way quickly, then you will no longer need to fear it. Now that I have been through the experience I no longer fear it. Not saying it is a wise thing to drive so low on diesel, but should it ever happen again, there will be no sting, no panic, just a realisation, hey, stuff happens it’s not so bad.

One thing I have learnt in life is either life dictates to us which can really effect the way we view most days. Or we can begin to take control and pursue an amazing life. This does not mean crap doesn’t happen, but it prepares us to deal better when crap does come our way and not allow us to miss out when life is good.

So What Stops Us? Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk

breakfastsmI was laying on the couch in our bus, headphones on, listening to some great music feeling the warmth of the sun thinking about the day ahead. Out comes a blurry eyed Judah with the intention of enjoying his morning ritual of Nutragrain and milk. I watched with a smile on my face as my 6 year old begins the process of preparing his favorite breakfast. Bowl out, cereal in, then the milk from the fridge. We use milk powder, just one of those more convenient things in a bus, so our milk is in a large glass jug. Milk poured and it’s time to eat. Judah decided there wasn’t quite enough milk in his bowl so off for a top up. Milk comes out again, topped up cereal, then as he turns to put the milk away it slipped from his hand and we had a white river running down the isle of the bus.

I was so impressed watching my 6 year old son taking responsibility for his life in the form of preparing his own breakfast every morning and probably the fact I was also still half asleep that it took me a moment to register what had just happened. Once it had sunk in that we had a wee milk disaster on our hands I realised I had a choice at that moment. I had the opportunity to respond or react. The tears came as Judah also came to realise the extent of the problem. So I quickly got up and encouraged him and said hey let’s grab a towel and we’ll get this mess cleaned up, no worries! We got the mess cleaned up, Judah had a great breakfast and is now playing nicely with his sister with expectation of a great day ahead.

I sat back down and thought about the event and how things may have turned out if I had reacted instead. Judah! What on earth do you think you are doing! Now you have spilt milk ALL over the bus and I have to clean it up, YOU need to learn to be more responsible, and what on earth were you thinking trying to get the milk out yourself! Mmmm maybe this is what they mean by don’t cry over spilt milk?

So what if that was my response? I wonder how Judah would have felt tomorrow morning when he thought about getting up to prepare his breakfast. I wonder how that would contribute to they way he feels about trying new things and wanting to grow and build confidence and begin to feel like a big boy now.

I’m sure if I had reacted this morning he would have been fine, been upset for a while then eventually got on with the day. The thing is what if I react like that often, I wonder how long it would be before his confidence began to wain and he began to stop those small growth steps of making breakfast at 6 and taking responsibility for himself.

It made me think how often I can look at situations and see the worst, the one thing that went wrong rather than the several other things that went right.

Recently I had a go at launching a new website which I am very excited about. I am one of these people that think, you never know unless you have a go. I’m a bit of an ideas person. Within two days of putting my website live it had a really good response and is slowly getting momentum. Then it came the first comment from a “well meaning person” about yea it’s a good idea but… Even after I responded they felt the need to point out another reason it wasn’t so great. At this point again I find myself having to make a choice. I have always struggled finding confidence in the things I do and you will find a few unfinished projects behind me. Some for the right reason others because of allowing myself to be influenced by what others may have said that chipped away that little more at my confidence to try new things and take myself out of my comfort zone.

My decision was to once again respond politely to the comment made about the website and remain excited about the potential and I am sitting back watching the website grow. I could have been shaken by the comment but instead I decided that sometimes people will just continue to see the things that are wrong with something rather than the several things that are right.

See it took all of a minute to clean up the milk in the bus this morning and to have a son who walked away with his confidence and dignity intact and I am pretty sure he will be up bright and early again tomorrow morning ready to give it another go knowing that if things do go wrong, it’s ok. And most likely he will be that bit wiser tomorrow and get a better grip on the jug. A lesson learnt from what some would see as a failure.

I really believe we need to see the mistakes our children make as a great opportunity to see them grow into healthy confident kids, teens, adults and this starts with us encouraging the good and the not so good when attempting to be responsible for their lives. That they come to realise it’s ok to make a mistake as long as we use it as an opportunity to learn. So when they are adults they will have no problem trying new things without the fear of failure and what follows, but instead see those failures simply as a stepping stone to getting it right.

The same can be said for us as grown ups, don’t let that fear of failure, or what people may say, or the fear of embarrassment if it all goes belly up stop you from pursuing the things you deep down wish you could be doing. I don’t know what your childhood was like, but if you had one of those ones where you just couldn’t get it right, it’s time to start spilling the milk and feel ok about it :) Now go make some breakfast!




I Burnt My Feet

hw3Wednesday morning, the bus starts up and we head out of the Cathedral Cove car park with the usual stares at a little car trailing behind the bus. Funny site this morning as we were leaving Hahei. Two hitchhikers on the side of the road with their thumbs out. They put them down when they saw our bus assuming we wouldn’t be able to stop to pick them up where they were standing. Next minute one of them catches a glimpse of a small car coming up behind us and the thumbs go up again then a total look of bewilderment as they realise no one is at the steering wheel. Love our little tow car.

Off we set to dig holes, Hot water beach here we come! Arriving nice and early we got a great spot to park the bus, relax for a bit, then headed down to the beach.

It was a funny site watching as people began to gather and take their place on the sand with shovels in hand in wait of the low tide. People seemed uncertain at first as to where or when they should start digging. I watched one man standing on the shoreline with his feet buried in the sand so decided to go say hi and see if his toes were toasty. Burying my feet next to his I had to remove them quickly as they reached the hot spring water under the sand and felt like they had been burnt. It was an unusual experience to be standing in the cold waves of the ocean and feeling the sensation of very hot water only inches below the sands surface.

More people began to show curiosity and slowly made their way closer to ask if the water was warm. Fun to watch their reactions as you encourage them to bury their feet next to yours and they feel the heat.

Once people began to hear our chatter about the hot water they began to converge shovel in hand and the dig was on!…..Then it got interesting.

I quickly worked out by noticing patterns in certain places of the sand where you were going to find the hot water. Patterns caused by the hot spring coming to the surface. People were madly digging, then I began to notice something. Listening to the chatter of several different languages you soon worked out that some were getting excited about the hot water while others made sounds of disappointment as they continued to dig cold pools of water literally a foot away from the others. We managed to dig right on top of one of the places the hot water was surfacing which made it too hot for us to dig. We began digging next to our original hole finding cold water to flow into our hot pool.

A small crowd quickly gathered around us asking how we found the hot water, I think having a kiwi accent people assumed we knew all about the beach. Some people caught on quickly and found their hot spots while others still dug in frustration trying to find theirs.

Our biggest problem was we didn’t have a shovel so I was burning my fingers trying to dig our hole deeper while the people next to us had a shovel but kept producing cold water. I suggested we connect our holes so they could benefit from our hot water but then all our hot water started to disappear as it drained into their hole. Problem solved, I asked to borrow their shovel so we could get our hole deeper, yay for collaboration! Then it began, others started to connect holes and share water to get the right temperature so everyone could begin to enjoy the experience. Then others came up with great design ideas for placing sand to get the best results of capturing and sharing water. By the end we had quite the community going on with all enjoying the company of others. Connections were made, people were laughing, and a new community was born!

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Be it for a moment it was great to sit back after we had enjoyed our little hot pool and observe how people were working together to produce the desired result, not just for themselves but for everyone involved.

This got me thinking about or lives in general and how most of the time everyone is trying to build their own life and there own space. Some do well and become very successful but usually at a price. Others seem to struggle and continue to dig up cold water. The saddest thing about both is neither of them will ever connect and possibly find a better way to do things. To collaborate and produce a life where everyone is laughing and enjoying the experience.

I wonder what our country would look like if we were to begin to connect more, to bring together our ideas and strengths. Building a real sense of community. I think Hot Water beach will be one of those experiences I will never forget and how much fun it was to briefly connect with others and enjoy a common goal making the experience great for everyone involved.

Were there barriers? Yup the most obvious being language, quite a mix of tourists from all over. Did it stop us for connecting? No, to be honest the variety actually made it even more interesting and fun.

I look at our country and there are so many barriers, different cultures, wealthy and poor, religion, and the list goes on. It’s almost sad that we feel we have to stick to our own. I would love to build a giant hot water beach and invite everyone in New Zealand to gather!

One of the best things with travelling is the people we meet. Living in a bus seems to pull down any barriers and it has been an amazing privilege to connect with all the people we have. People we never normally would have otherwise.

Here’s a fun idea, this week maybe go out and connect with someone you never normally would (heck really go mad and find someone living in a car and take them home), invite them for a meal and just hang out, you just may be pleasantly surprised not only how much fun it is but they may just be the people you need to meet right now to move forward with your next step in life. I really believe it is time to build a true sense of community in this country and begin to collaborate and create a new way to enjoy life.

One thing I have learnt is we can continue in life believing it owes us and becoming victims and playing the blame game or we can begin to build a life where people come together and build something of value that everyone will not only enjoy but benefit from. One that will benefit our future. Start digging!

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