Dear girls of the world: Never let your boyfriend decide things for you

Dear girls of the world,

Do you have dream? Is there a clear vision for how you’d like your life to be? Do you dream of going places, seeking new horizons? Can you put yourself in the picture of your dreams or are you feeling caught up in the daily grind?

I’m probably a generation older than most of you and my very first memories are of wanting to travel – everywhere and forever – it was all I ever wanted to do. It was perhaps easier in some ways with less border restrictions but also a whole lot more challenging. Airfares were expensive and women didn’t travel alone as freely. There was no such thing as internet, mobile phones, Skype, Facebook or a location independent lifestyle.

The day Jane left home to travel the world with a motorbike. The day Jane left home to travel the world with a motorbike.

I think it’s really important to decide what you’d love to do with your life and to hold that dream tight and do everything within your power to make it happen. My biggest dream was to ride a bicycle around the world and when my then boyfriend asked me to marry him I replied “Yes, as long as I can still ride my bike around the world….” That was my dream but it was never his dream and after 11 years of marriage, living in suburbia and working behind a desk in a government job, I became very sick with chronic fatigue syndrome. I finally decided to leave my husband. Then I learnt to ride a motorbike (which seemed easier after being so sick), left my job and set off to ride around the world indefinitely.

If I’d followed my heart in the first place, I’m sure I would never have become so sick. I didn’t get far on that old bike, but I’ve had many exciting adventures since and have never stopped travelling. I always travel alone and have been around the world two or three times, driven around Australia and ridden my motorbike around New Zealand alone.

Riding her motorbike around New Zealand. Riding her motorbike around New Zealand.

Sometimes dreams, especially if they involve travelling to the other side of the world alone, can seem daunting. If you need to leave a job or make some ‘boyfriend decisions’ in order to fulfil your dreams, then it can seem even more daunting, but I can assure you that all you have to do is take the first step and follow your heart. Start small if you’re scared. Try going somewhere not too far from home for a week or even a weekend. Practice eating alone in a cafe or going to a movie alone. Every small step you take towards your dreams will make you stronger and more confident.

Taking a self ­defense class will also improve your confidence for travelling alone. I’ve been travelling alone now for more than 30 years and it’s extremely rewarding. I’ve never been afraid. Sometimes I’ve been lonely but that’s completely different these days with the internet. With every step you take, your confidence will grow. Think of it as ‘expanding’ your comfort zone rather than taking one enormous leap. You will gradually grow stronger and more daring and wonder why you didn’t start sooner. I urge you to decide what you want your life to look like and start making it happen. I spent many years worrying about money and how I could possibly get away to do some more travelling and now, looking back over the years, I can see that if I’d simply followed my heart from the start, I would have achieved a whole lot more travelling and probably ended up just as well off financially as I have after many years of hard work and stress. Life passes by extremely quickly – it truly does…. And you never know what is around the corner or how long you might have. A great exercise is to think about the later years of your life and how you would like the memories to look. Will you be able to live with regrets? Start with baby steps and grow confidently into your dream life.

Selfie in the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, the tallest building in the world. Selfie in the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, the tallest building in the world.

Treasure your beautiful, unique self. Stay fit, healthy and interested in the world and those around you and NEVER, EVER lose sight of your dreams. You CAN make them come true.

With love,
Jane
who is wandering amongst the wildflowers on Australia’s highest peaks

The smorgasbord of life called Jane St Catherine from a secure suburban existence. Leaving her husband and an office job, she set off on an old 250cc trail bike to ride around the world. With determination, persistence and courage she has overcome many challenges. University educated and continually learning from diverse experiences, Jane has worked in Parliament House and on prawn trawlers, driven 400 ton mining trucks and taught children on outback Australian cattle stations. Jane has travelled extensively around the world, mostly alone. Follow Jane’s blog: inspiringwomenwhotravel.com

Comments

  • Mackenzie Fly
    January 1, 2015

    Jane is so awesome! I’ve had not just one, but several boyfriends who have tried to tell me that my dreams of traveling were not what was ‘right’ or that ‘it’s too hard and expensive’ or ‘It’s not safe’. I couldn’t quite understand why they were making all of these excuses for me, but I realized that this is my life and I’m going to chase after my dreams no matter what anyone tells me! 🙂

    reply
    • June 13, 2016

      Thanks Mackenzie. I truly encourage you to follow your heart and start now. Don’t let anybody else’s fears hold you back. You will gain so much from travelling and there are plenty of lovely men travelling the world too!
      I wish you safe and happy travels.
      Jane

      reply
  • January 7, 2015

    This is great and so inspiring – I cant wait to travel! It’s incredible that you were able to follow your dreams after being held back for so long. And amen to not letting the boyfriend make all the decisions! Hehe 🙂

    reply
    • June 13, 2016

      Great to hear from you, Bambi and thanks for your comment. If you’re a traveller at heart, I encourage you to start now. If you’re a bit scared, perhaps start by looking for a bargain package, grab a friend and go for a week or two. Practice packing light, working out your travel currency cards and how your budget will work.
      I’ve put every spare cent into my ‘travel fund’ for as long as I can remember and never, ever let go of my dream.
      Make sure your passport is always valid and you’re ready to go.
      All the best. ?
      Jane

      reply
  • January 6, 2016

    Love this piece – and so very true. Great to see Catherine living her dreams!!

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.