Prose & Words: Chapter 2

“There are no good or bad emotions, there are only emotions. There are no good or bad thoughts, there are only thoughts. There are no good or bad experiences, there are only experiences. Don’t categorize what is normal, what is part of nature, what is simply being human, and allow your inner scale to align.”~Dangie

“Don’t lose yourself in the process, wherever you go, whatever you do, remain faithful to yourself.”~Dangie

“Life is not fair, life is not unfair, life simply IS.”~Dangie

“You are like a complicated, beautifully written story with a deep meaning. And not everyone that experiences you will understand you, but darling, the problem is them not you.”~Dangie

Thank you for reading and make sure to leave your favorite poem, quote, prose, or thoughts below in the comments; I would love to read them!

Disclaimer: you are welcome to use and/or share any of my quotes but please give me credit and/or tag me @barefootinpai (Instagram).

Sit Still

I love to travel, for me it is more of an inner journey than a physical one. The experiences I’ve had, the people I have met, and the places I have been fortunate enough to explore have opened my eyes to a world and humanity I hardly know anything about. It has made me question my beliefs, my reality, my opinions, and my idea of how life should be. And questioning is a good thing because it has made space in me for seeking, for learning, and for realizing that my perception of life was confined to a small bubble that needed to be burst.

So, it came as a surprise that from all the obstacles I anticipated threatening my globetrotting journey, fear of flying was never one of them. It felt like a macabre play from destiny that my passion could be jeopardized by an invisible monster that sneaked up on me. Macabre because its coming was not evident, it meticulously and gradually developed and by the time I realized its enormity, it was too late. I was already finding myself in the middle of anxiety attacks pre and post boarding flights. Why this fear? What was the trigger? Fortunately, I have not had any bad experiences while flying that might merit this change in me. Thus, I cannot understand what happened in between the me that used to enjoy flying and the me now: having to sit, terrified through my fight-or-flight response every time I fly.

It was in 2016 during my flight from South Africa to Germany when I had my worst panic attack up to date. Passengers had boarded the aircraft and everyone had taken their seats when my anxiety began to manifest in such a way that it quickly turned into a panic attack. There I was at the edge of my seat, my heart racing, my body trembling, hyperventilating, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, and feeling ice-cold. I was ready to run out of the plane but it was too late, the doors had been shut. My fight-or-flight response was so intense that I had no doubt that had the door been open during take-off I would have jumped off the moving plane. It took me about two hours to calm myself down and relax, and I did, for the rest of the flight I felt calm. I understood then how irrational my fear was—one moment petrified and the next calm and relaxed—however, it already had a tight grip on me.

Time went on, I lost countless flights, opted for long bus rides rather than flying, stepped out of planes seconds before the doors were shut, sat outside airports crying because I couldn’t get myself to step out of my car. During this time I would spend the majority of my days contemplating the thought that I may never fly again; intuitively I couldn’t accept it, nevertheless it was becoming a real possibility.

Until one sentence changed everything for me: simply sit still in complete acceptance. Inside my mind this sentence works a little bit like this:

Breath deep, become a witness to yourself, to your mind and to your surroundings, then breath deep again. Acknowledge your fear, do not fight it, do not run away but rather accept it completely, accept it like if you had chosen it, welcome it even and sit with it. Abandon any attempt at controlling your emotions, at rationalizing them and making sense of things. Rather, sit with your fear in complete acceptance, letting go of any notion, of any feeling, and letting go of your mind. Accept any terrifying scene your imagination throws at you, accept any outcome, accept any possibility, accept that you have no control. And in complete surrender sit still only as a witness that is not there to judge the situation but to live through their fears as calmly and gracefully as possible.

It has been a few years since my first, major panic attack during a flight and to this day I continue to fly and I do so in complete surrender.

Prose & Words: Chapter 1

“The mind-struggle is a game, the key to winning the game is to simply stop playing.”~Dangie

“The path you now walk is not created by dreams, desires, or perceptions, it is carved only by actions and by every step you take. It is carved in the moment as you walk, there are no wrong or right steps to take, there are only experiences and there is only life.”~Dangie

“Mistakes don’t define you, they create you.”~Dangie

“There is beauty in pain, in loss, and in hurt because there is beauty in knowing that you will emerge from this with new knowledge. New knowledge about experiences, about life, and most importantly about yourself.”~Dangie

Thank you for reading and make sure to leave your favorite poem, quote, prose, or thoughts below in the comments; I would love to read them!

Disclaimer: you are welcome to use and/or share any of my quotes but please give me credit and/or tag me @barefootinpai (Instagram).

I Left Everything To Travel The World And I Failed

What am I supposed to do now with the broken pieces of my life? I don’t know.

In 2015 I was working a nine-to-five cubicle job and living the corporate life; it was a confusing time in my life. Seemingly, I had everything I thought I needed at the time: a cozy apartment that felt like home, a good job with a steady income, a stable routine, and a tight-knit group of friends. However, despite the apparent security and comfort of my life I felt lost, uninspired, and unsettled. Unsettled because I have always been a dreamer and an artist at heart and there is nothing more unnerving for someone like me than a routine centered around a nine-to-five office job. 

I needed a change and not just any change, I needed a life-altering change. One that would rock me to my core, push me out of my comfort zone, and flip me inside out and expose me to who, I was sure, I was meant to be. I desired the freedom to explore, fly, create, and play with my dreams; I wanted to jump from country to country, discover, and learn. I wanted to be fearless and push my boundaries like I never had before because I knew that at the end of the road, wherever that might be, I was going to be a different person. I was going to be the truest version of me. 

It never occured to me that I could fail. 

Let me take you further back to when I was eight or nine years old, it was then when I began to daydream about traveling the world. I fantasized about being an adventurer, I had a thirst for knowledge and history and one day I was going to walk the quaint, narrow streets of Italy and experience the majestic presence of the pyramids of Egypt. I had no doubt, it was an innate feeling, at that tender age I knew that one day I would visit these countries and travel the world. 

So, in 2015 I packed my belongings and left everything I had ever known behind: my home, my friends, my financial security, and my comfort zone. I drove to my parent’s home to drop off my things for safekeeping and to say goodbye. It was done, there was no turning back, I had a plane ticket to Amsterdam booked—my first stop—and my backpack packed. I was ready to walk into the unknown. 

For the next three months I backpacked through Europe, including Italy of course. I then flew to Uganda, Africa where I volunteered at an impoverished orphanage for three months. After Africa I flew to Cambodia to volunteer as an English teacher for young kids in a small village. I was not following an itinerary, I was simply allowing things to unfold, however that might be, wherever that might take me I went with the flow. I visited many other countries in between these and after two years of mindless traveling I knew that I did not want to stop. I was determined to find a sustainable way to keep traveling, to keep discovering myself, and to keep pursuing that illusion of finding who “I was meant to be.” During this time I began to think of and plan different ways that I could generate an income that would sustain my nomadic lifestyle. I have always been a creative person, therefore thinking of ways to make a living was not going to be a problem. I had what felt like a million and one ideas. 

Well, I failed at every single one of those ideas.

Teaching English abroad? I failed. Teaching English online? I failed. Becoming an Instagram travel influencer? I failed. Using Upwork, Fiverr, and similar platforms? I failed. Finding random, odd jobs? I failed. Becoming a freelance writer? I failed. And so forth, it was almost two years of failed attempts. Why did I fail? I don’t know. Did I not try hard enough? Is it me? Is there something wrong with my character? What am I doing wrong? Am I quitting on myself if I don’t keep trying? I don’t have the answers to these questions but they have been lingering in my mind fervently.

Presently, I am writing this while sitting at a cafe in Central Europe, with a return flight back home booked and an almost empty bank account. This is it, this is the moment that I never anticipated, this is the reality that I did not know would hit me like a tsunami of cold water. What next? When it feels like I have been stripped of my sense of self, been left blank and without color, and full of uncertainty. What next? I don’t know.

I left everything to travel the world and I failed. However, I must admit that life gave me exactly what I asked for: a life-altering change, one that would rock me to my core, push me out of my comfort zone, and flip me inside out and expose me to who I was meant to be. And who was I meant to be? No one other than the person I was in 2015 and no one other than the person that I am today. The acceptance of this has been my biggest lesson. What began as an inner journey of self discovery unexpectedly turned into a journey of spiritual awakening and I have nothing left to do but to attempt to gracefully lay to rest on my sense of “failure.” Where I will remain open to witness the broken pieces of my life remain broken until they organically and without disturbance fall into place.