Is it your time to go solo?

You don’t need to wait for anyone else to join you on your fabulous trip. Just go and do it! Plenty of ladies are traveling on their own. The BA Global Solo Travel Study of almost 9,000 18-64 year olds found that over 50 percent of women have taken a holiday by themselves, with 75 percent of women planning a solo trip in the next few years. Why not go for it yourself in 2020? Where have you always wanted to go to… Thailand, Spain or some amazing landmark, to see a breath-taking natural wonder such as the Northern Lights or be part of a wonderful cultural event? Which trip first? You can go on your own.

When I speak to ladies who want to travel alone but feel unsure, there are a few recurrent issues.

  1. Can I get the money? Yes, you can, read this Blog.
  2. I’m not confident enough to go. You can develop your confidence to enable you to go traveling.
  3. Is it safe for women to go traveling? The answer to this last one is yes and I’ll share my thoughts on why.

I’m Sarah Nicholson. I absolutely love traveling…. however, I am culturally aware and extensively research the countries I am planning to visit.  Listed below are some of my tips.

Don’t assume anything. Be alert but not alarmed. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you.

COMMUNICATE

Be friendly and smile. You will meet some wonderful people who will help you as you travel the world. Learn a few local phrases like; hello, how much, no, yes and thank you. If you mean no, say it with your words and your body language. Don’t give mixed messages, be very clear.

CLOTHING

Don’t wear an expensive watch, jewelry or clothing. Leave anything that you’d be upset if you lost it, at home. Don’t look like a target. Remember many people in the countries we travel to are dirt poor. They need to make a living, and exploiting tourists is a way of surviving.

PERSONAL SAFETY

Taking care of yourself is your highest priority. Be aware that when you’re tired or sick you naturally let your guard down and are more vulnerable. Get plenty of quality sleep so you’re at your best. You need to make sensible decisions.

Read about the current scams operating in the countries you are planning to visit. Type into your web browser eg  ‘scams in Morocco’. Your personal safety is the most important consideration. Be aware that culturally they may do things in a different way to your home country. In some countries, a woman walking alone at night is an open invitation for sexual harassment. I arrive in the light and plan my route to and from my accommodation in the daylight so I’m confident later. If walking isn’t a good idea, I get a recommendation for a taxi or tuk-tuk. I make sure I know which are the no-go areas in a city and I stay away. Use what you have learned about the country to plan your trip and make it safe.

GUARD WHAT YOU DISCLOSE

I trust my gut instinct about strangers. I am always friendly but don’t need to disclose that I’m traveling alone. If I feel unsure about someone, I let it slip that someone is waiting for me at my accommodation / next destination.

LUGGAGE

I can’t stress this enough, the less luggage you take the better. Be wise with what you pack. It is liberating to realise how little you really need in life. You can wash your clothes along the way. I have one bag on wheels or a backpack (not too heavy) and a little daysack.

My backpack/luggage goes everywhere with me. Yes, this includes to the loo/toilet. NEVER put your bag on the back of a chair.

If you’re traveling on night trains, secure your bag with a cable lock so it can’t be removed.

MONEY

Never put your money in your back pocket. Use small denomination notes like a local. Estimate how much you will spend for the day and keep this amount in your day purse, hide the rest. I use a money belt, with the notes in little plastic bags.

Travel with a minimum of 2 credit cards! It can be a challenge when you arrive in a new country to know which bank card will work with which ATM machine. Having your money slit into different accounts gives you options. Avoid using public ATMs on the street, go into the bank. You can use an RFID sleeve to protect your cards from being scanned.

EATING OUT

Don’t eat from restaurants in the major tourist area. Walk at least one block away and eat with the locals – the food will better and cheaper. Use your instinct to pick the one run by the best lady, she will look after you.

COMPUTER SAFETY

There are fewer internet cafés than there used to be. People seem to travel with a tablet or iPad. DO NOT use public computers to access bank accounts. To enhance your security, use a VPN on mobile phones/computers to access bank accounts.

Before you leave, create a travel email address. Scan your passport and email your travel documents to yourself.

PHONES

Check your contract before you leave and know you can do abroad. If you use a travel SIM make sure the provider speaks your language.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Always take out travel insurance: if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can afford to travel. Check what your travel insurance does and doesn’t cover, e.g. does it cover repatriation? Most don’t cover adventurous sports such as riding a horse or a motorcycle. If you want to be able to go skiing or white water rafting while you are away, make sure you buy the correct policy.

Expect the unexpected

As I said, I love traveling solo but also like to keep it stress-free. I plan my trips and love learning about the places I’m going to explore. If you want to find out how to plan your own trip, sign up now and join me on Adventurous Spirit in January. You will be traveling solo in 2020. Where will you go first?

When does your New Year start?

The New Year marks a point in time, where we move from one year to the next, this is a culturally agreed date. Where you’re from, will influence how you think and the customs you’ve taken onboard as your autopilot. Travelling allows us to see these autopilots. Stepping out of our culture into separate set of beliefs and ways of acting makes us aware of what we’ve taken onboard as truth. But is it the Truth with a capital T? The ultimate truth? I’ll share my thoughts about New Year which help highlight our constricted thinking. I’m going to encourage you to turn off your autopilot and consider your Truth with a capital T. Then make some plans for your New Year and new you!

Which is your New Year?
There are many different calendars around the world that measure the passage of time. In China the first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20. This is huge festivity with people travelling home to celebrate with family and their community. It is known as the Spring Festival and its traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. This ritual is a conscious way of letting go of the past year to step into the New Year, clean, fresh and ready for opportunity.

The Gregorian Calendar is the most widely used calendar system today. New Year is celebrated on the 1st January. Wikipedia explains the variety of dates used by different places. You’ll notice the link between location on the globe and the amount of sunlight. Because the New Year is about the start of the new growing season. This is true for us internally as well – that’s why we make New Year’s resolutions to consciously develop our growth in ways we want.

Ancient wisdom
To ancient people the return of the sun was a time for celebration. It was the start of the New Year. More daylight meant spring was on its way, a time to plant crops and more food security. These were a very knowledgeable and sophisticated people. Neolithic people used stone tools and they had a very accurate understanding of the passing of the seasons through the movement of the sun. The Winter Solstice on 21st December marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. After this, we in the northern hemisphere get a little more daylight each day up to the Summer Solstice on 21st June. I travelled to Newgrange a Neolithic tomb to be part of this ancient celebration of the return of the sun.

Stonehenge in England a famous standing stone temple that lines up with the summer and winter solstice. There are more detailed carvings on the stones facing the Winter Solstice, showing that this was the more important orientation. The return of the sun was the most momentous time of year. Travelling to Newgrange to be part of the Winter Solstice celebration was a new experience for me. I was following my intuition. I knew I should be there, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.

At Newgrange I learned that Neolithic people clothed themselves using hides from deer and other animals. They knitted using the fibres from sheep and dogs. Dogs! I realised that I had culturally accepted that we use the fur of sheep. Dogs have fur, that’s soft. They need their coats cutting so why did this seem a new concept to me, as it is an obvious use of resources? I had just shone a light on a cultural autopilot. If this is one, then what else to I accept that isn’t True? What do you accept that isn’t true for you?

What is your Truth?
When I went to Newgrange, I realised that New Year for me was the Winter Solstice. I had been tidying my house and clearing out the old, so I could welcome in my New Year. It had been something that I just needed to do my internal compass was guiding me. Acknowledging where I’d been and what I’d learnt in the previous year. The return of the sunlight and longer days was a powerful feeling of renewal. I had been preparing for my New Year.

At Newgrange I clearly felt that Christmas is now a cultural festival of bling and consumerism. I know what it is and I don’t renounce it, I’m just not getting subsumed by it. I choose what Christmas means for me. It is a time for family to come together and relax in each other’s company. It’s a day off in winter, a time to rest, nurture and feast. We do this by sharing great food, a key part of our way of showing our care and nurturing each other.

The changing of the season though on 21st December was a powerful internal force. My Truth, my time to choose the path of my future. To make conscious decisions to move in the direction of my dreams. I spend time setting goals for myself, so I can develop myself in all my aspects – physically, spiritually, with family/ friends, improving my home, my career, travelling goals and volunteering.

Conscious choice – set some goals for the year
What is your Truth? When do you feel the internal compass spin and a need to move in the direction of your Truth? No matter what others are doing, what calendar they are following because “that’s the way we do things around here”, you should follow your gut and do what’s correct for you. Spend time reflecting and learning from the past year. Then its time to look forward and plan where you want to go. Break it down as I do and set little goals in each area of your life.

New perspective
Travel is a wonderful. It shines a light and allows you to see how you have just fallen in to autopilot. The unfamiliar environment, new people, may be even a new culture helps you to notice how you operate and how you could do things differently if you chose to. Think of it like this. A snake grows and a some point its skin then become restrictive. You have been growing over the last year, you now are at the point where you can internally choose to stay as you are in the same skin that feel familiar and safe, but a bit uncomfortable as it’s limiting, or you can choose to grow. This means leaving the safety of your old self, choosing to do things differently, to challenge yourself, to allow yourself to make mistakes and grow. You may feel vulnerable, but you will allow yourself to do new things, have adventures and be proud of your achievements. If not now when?

To understand the importance of setting goals to make your dreams come true read: https://explorediscover.me/2018/09/04/stuck-or-grow-which-will-you-do/ If you want support in this process then book a free Discovery Call and we can discuss how I can help you build the life you want.

When will you chose to develop into the New You? Next week? Next year? In five years time or now?

How to be a safe solo female traveller

Let’s be honest, people will tell you not to go travelling on your own because something terrible will happen. If you’ve the gumption to step beyond the nay-sayer’s personal fears, you’ll experience the most wonderful, liberating gift you can give yourself. I have brought together some important tips to enable you to be safe on your life changing journey. You’ll find plenty of wisdom you can use on your own trip.

Do your research
Before you head off to the destination of your dreams, do your research. Find out where’s good to stay in the city. Every city has good and bed spots, make sure you know where to go and what not to do. Don’t go offending anyone, be aware of the cultural norms, these may be different o your own. For example don’t show the soles of your feet to Buddhist statues.

Make a plan
Do your research before-hand and create a plan for your trip. You need to share this with friends/family, so they know your whereabouts. If you decide to alter your plans as you travel, keep them up to date. Let them know if you are going off-line for a few days to go trekking etc. so they won’t worry.

If you need help to create your plan, join my training course Adventurous Spirit where I clearly explain how to do this.

Arrive in the light
If you are travelling to somewhere new on your own make sure you arrive in the daylight. Have accommodation booked for the first night. This allows you to get to grips with a new culture, currency and way of doing things. If you’ve had a long journey rest and recoup.

Advice on where to stay
Don’t skimp on your safety. Pay a bit extra to make sure you are staying in a safe area of town, in a good place. This doesn’t have to be a 4 star hotel, there are great hostels, but make sure your walk back is well lit at night and it feels safe. If you don’t feel good about anything, move. Listen to your gut instinct – it’s always right. Read other guest’s reviews when you are choosing where to stay.

Take a card
When you head out of your hostel/hotel, make sure you collect one of their cards. If you get disorientated and need to get back, you can show it to a taxi driver and they’ll know exactly where to go.

Follow your gut
If you have a feeling that a situation is unsafe, go with it. Avoid it or remove yourself from it. Going travelling solo will force you into new situations and you need to make snap decisions. Being able to listen to your internal guidance is crucial. I explain how to get in touch with your intuition in Adventurous Spirit. This is your inner compass – so use it!

People are the best protection
If you don’t feel good about a situation remove yourself as quickly and calmly as you can. Ask for help from locals/travellers that look good souls. Most people around you will be ready to help so don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help or advice. Most people are good, we just hear all the media noise about the few bad ones which can make us suspicious. Don’t think that everyone is there to rob you/rip you off. Be open to the kindness and friendliness of people and you will have the most wonderful and profound travel experience. Life is about giving and receiving. Make sure you do both in equal measure.

Be vigilant
Be aware of your surroundings and your stuff. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Who’s around and can you duck in to a business if you need? Use your common sense and don’t go down quiet streets that you wouldn’t use at home. You can fend for yourself, just be aware of who you drink with and how much you drink. When you are travelling alone its safer to get hammered. You don’t need loads of alcohol to have an enjoyable time and connect with people.

Guided tour
Book yourself on occasional guided tour to meet other people and get to places that might be hard to get to. If you meet other travellers you like, you can choose to hook up and travel together for a while. Travelling on your own allows you to meet lots of wonderful new people and make new friends. You are never alone unless you want to be.

Don’t rely on one way to pay
Bring a mixture of cash, debit cards, credit cards and prepaid cards when you travel. Don’t rely on one. I often spend time on my first day visiting several ATMs with cards working out which bank works with which card – don’t assume they will all work. Carry small amounts of change in your pocket close to hand.

Emergency cash and cards
Always have emergency cash squirrelled in another place in your suitcase/backpack. In another place hide a credit card and some cash. If your purse/ bag gets pinched/ lost, you have back up while you get new cards issued. Keep your money in a belt bag or body wallet. You can get stylish clothing with concealed zipped pockets.

Copy important documents
Passport, tickets, insurance etc. make a copy and give them to your home contact. I also put them on my email. If everything is lost, I can get access to the copies, print them off and head to the embassy to get help to get replacement quickly.

Know where you are going
This is back to planning – know where you are going. Get a local map and be aware of where you are. When you get a taxi follow where you are going on the map and get a sense of the place. You will get a mental map of the place. If you aren’t going in the right direction, ask why. I had a tuk-tuk driver take me to the wrong place because he didn’t know where we wanted to go but didn’t want to lose face or the fare. It wasn’t a dangerous situation, but I knew that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be bad how to direct us to our hotel. You’re not a passenger, you’re the director of the course of your life.

Be confident
Keep your wits about you and don’t go taking unnecessary risks, don’t walk unlit streets in the dark. Walk with purpose – you’ve got your map and know where you’re going. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, walk confidently. Confidence comes from the inside out. Stand tall and look like you know what you are doing, even if you have to nip into a shop and ask the shop assistant where you are and how to get to where you want to go. Don’t look like a victim. You’ve got this. You can confidently not know where you are going if you are just exploring – just keep an eye on your whereabouts on the map.

Don’t draw attention to yourself
Wear appropriate clothing in the country you are in. If the local cover up, you should. Be respectful and blend in. I don’t travel in my best clothes. I don’t want to look like a wealthy target. I have t-shirts that always go travelling they aren’t fashion icons, in fact I have one with tiny holes in so I don’t look at all wealthy. I try to blend in in a poor country.

Don’t rush decisions
Take your time and don’t let anyone rush you when you’re making decisions. Step back, listen to your gut instinct and only do it if it feels right.

Look after yourself
Carry your own first aid kit so you can deal with the small stuff. Make sure you eat well, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep. If you get run-down, you can pick up bugs and colds. You don’t make your best decisions if you are tired. Having a woolly head makes you indecisive and feel vulnerable. Your health is your highest priority.

Don’t over commit
One thing you learn from travelling solo is to plan in flexibility and rest days. You need to look after yourself. Doing, doing, doing days will deplete you. Take time to rest, reflect and plan the next part of your trip. I love to keep a travel journal, and this is an enforced rest, as well ad my way of processing and appreciating everything that’s happening to me.

Say No
You will learn to have firm boundaries. Learn to say no, nicely but firmly. Do what’s right for you. Never question your instincts.

Start small
Learning solo travel skills takes time. Start by taking small trips in your own culture and building your confidence and skills. When you feel ready you can book a trip abroad and add in the complications of culture, language, currency etc. Some people dive-in having a horrible experience because they get over-whelmed. Don’t set yourself up for failure, gain your skills safely and gradually.

You will learn so much more about yourself and the other culture if you travel alone/independently. This article has given you easy tools and techniques for keeping yourself safe while solo travelling. Time spent planning before you go is an investment in your safety. If you want help with how to plan, enrol on the online course Adventurous Spirit. While you travel be vigilant, don’t get yourself in to situations you can’t back out of. Be confident, even if you don’t know where you are. Make sure you have more than one way to pay and keep yourself healthy. Be open to adventure and expanding your comfort zone. Solo travel will reward you with amazing experiences leaving you feeling wonderment. That’s why I support people to go on their own life-changing adventures.

What’s stopping you travelling on your own?

Do you have dream destinations that you’d love to travel to… and no one to travel with now? The question is do you put your life on hold waiting for a travel buddy? Do you wait one year, two, ten, more for that person to come along? One that wants to go to the same place as you, do the same sort of things and has prioritised the time and money to do it. Or do you step outside your comfort zone and travel on your own? What are the common solo-travel fears that might be holding you back? In this blog, I’ll confront and dispel them, so you can choose to follow your dreams.

‘I’m worried about the cost of solo travel’
I can’t afford to go travelling on my own is a common view, but I disagree with this. You can choose how you want to travel and where you want to travel. You can set the budget, you don’t have to spend more that you want because you are travelling with someone that has a bigger budget than you. You’re in control. You can book rooms that don’t charge a single supplement or stay in a dorm in a hostel. You can decide your perfect holiday and you don’t need anyone’s approval.

‘Is it safe to travel solo?’
It’s a reasonable question. Some members of your family or friends will tell you that you’ll dies and get your stuff stolen. Those are their fears, don’t take them onboard. Like everything in your life, you do need to look out for yourself. Being in a group may make you feel comfortable, but you may get complacent and that’s when things could go wrong. Planning your trip, choosing carefully where to go and reading up about the place, will ensure that you have chosen a destination that you are comfortable with.

‘I might be lonely or feel homesick’
There will be lots of other people travelling when you go. You are guaranteed to meet lots of people and it is easier when you are on your own. People just come up to you and start talking to you and likewise you can just chat to other. Waiters and bar staff will often chat with you if you are on your own. Enjoy being on your own, read a book or write your travel journal. Let yourself be immersed in the beautiful place you are visiting.

‘I’ll feel guilty about going away’
But why? We should all live joyful lives, so get out there and have some fun. You will be great company if you’re enjoying yourself, visiting new places and having adventures. You only live once, don’t be held back by other people’s values. People that love you should want you to develop yourself by travelling and seeing the world. You can stay in touch easily while you’re away, so they know you’re fine.

‘I’m too old to go travelling on my own’
Utter nonsense! You don’t need to be a 20 something to get out there and have a wonderful time travelling. There are lots of diverse ways to travel. Find a way that suits you and what you’re passionate about. Being older means you have much more life experience to draw on. There will be lots of travellers of different ages who will be willing to chat and share top tips along the route. Age isn’t a problem. Have the right attitude is the key.

‘I can’t leave my job’
You don’t need to leave your job to go travelling. You can visit places all over the world in your one-, two- or three-week vacations. You need to prioritise and choose a way of travelling that delivers what you want. If you choose to leave your job and go off travelling for a longer period, it will give you time to re-evaluate your values and beliefs. This can be a catalyst for you deciding to live more inline with your values on your return, which will make you happier in the long-term.

‘I’m not brave enough or I haven’t got the experience’
You have a life time of experiences. You don’t need to be fearless, just determined to give it a go. There are tour operators that cater for single travellers if you want to go away but not be on your own. I suggest that you go on trips in your own country to build up your confidence and get used to talking to strangers and visiting new places. Each month I have a challenge in Women Travellers Tribe which helps you build the skills and confidence you need. You don’t need to be an extrovert to go travelling, you just need to be you.

If you’re thinking about planning your own trip and need guidance on what to do and how to do it, but more importantly on busting your solo-traveller fears, then sign up for Adventurous Spirit a four-week online course that will set you up for your first trip. There’s a weekly call to answer any specific questions. What are you waiting for? Is it time to make your dreams come true?

5 Important life lessons we can all learn from a 40-year-old car

Last weekend, this 40 year old car with around 140 other Triumphs headed round Britain. Starting near London on Friday evening, we breakfast in John O’Groats on Saturday morning, and breakfast in Land’s End on Sunday morning. Then back to near London for Sunday evening. About 2,000 miles.

It’s fun but exhausting. No real stops, and team rotational sleeping throughout the trip. That’s the challenge! If you’re lucky you get around, but with these cars there’s always the danger of breakdown at 3am in the Scottish Highlands. Did we make it round? Well, before I answer that I want to share a few lessons from the weekend.

Just go for it!
Being new to the group I was thrown in at the deep-end, driving the car for the first time at the start of the event. I started it up and with a bit of encouragement we got it into gear and off we went. “Good grief, its heavy!” The first corner was a shock as it doesn’t have power steering. I had to drag it around the corner with brute force. It was a challenge, but when I was faced with doing it, I found I could do it. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Don’t decide what you do and don’t like, can and can’t do. You limit your life so much. Allow yourself new opportunities, new experiences, new challenges. Just jump in and have a go – you’ll figure it out along the way.

Plan, prepare and adapt along the way
There’s a route for the event. Participants get the instructions and transpose the information into whatever form works for them. I like to highlight the route on a map and then add it to a sat nav. It’s important to check for road closures but having done all that, life will still throw in a few challenges. Finding a road closure in Wales at midnight, isn’t the best time but having done the preparation, people know the direction of the route, so it was possible to improvise quickly on the move. The life lesson is plan, prepare (check the up to date information) and then you can nimbly change your plans if need be, because you know the parameters. You don’t feel blown off-course, it’s just a little corrective nudge.

Take time to admire the view
Life is full of rush, rush, rush. Even rushing to do stuff so you can have time to chill. It does mean that we can get in to our busy brains, thinking about the next thing that needs doing and not actually just enjoying the moment. Being captive in an old ex-Met Police Triumph 2500TC for 48 hours on a challenge against the clock, means leaving the day-to-day. Life is about now, this moment. What you see, feel and experience now. The views, company and cars. Being present and really enjoying the beauty of my own country, the magnificent sunsets and sunrises. The smells of the earth when it rains and the drips on your right arm as it leaks in! 48 hours can feel like a long time when you notice all the moments, but that’s what life is about. Be someone that really notices with all your senses, the experience is much richer. I now have a list of places I want to visit again and spend longer exploring.

Fill in your snagging list
I was intrigued by the sheet in the event handbook titled Snagging List. This is the space for writing down the car’s problems and what you’re going to do about it. I like to do my own snagging list when I go travelling. I think about what I’ve brought – too much not enough? What I did that I’d like to do more of, experience I have learnt from and want to avoid in the future. Reviewing, however you do it is important. I now do a weekly review on a Sunday that covers what went well, things that didn’t go so well and what I learned. Time for contemplation and reflection is important if you’re going to move forward in life. I also note actions, which give me structure for the future.

What else have a learnt from a 40-year-old car? Don’t think it’s in the bag until you cross the finish line! About 3 miles from the finish, the main beam lights went out, the whole car was plunged into darkness and we were heading down a dark narrow country lane. It was scary.

Thankfully, the dipped beam worked so we could struggle on to the end. If we’d been rallying round the corners like an idiot, we would have crashed. Always travel at a speed that you can stop before the danger!

Life lesson 5 is only risk what you can afford to lose
We made it to the finish in the private park on dipped beam with the blue headlights flashing. It was a great achievement by the car and the drivers. Here’s’ a link to a short film of us heading up Scotland: https://youtu.be/DQAVRyUWQlA

We’re now counting down the days to the next challenge next year in the blue car.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what challenge you fancy doing?

What’s so special about Wild Camping?

Part 1 of 2

My friend doesn’t do ‘outdoors’, she likes to sleep in five-star hotels. “Why would you give up the comfort and the warmth of a nice bed to be outside?” she asks me. To be honest if you’ve never done it then, you won’t know. Wild camping isn’t for everyone. It is for those of us that like to feel free, alive and the vastness of the world. Wild camping allows you to connect – connect with yourself and the world on a deep level. The distractions and nonsense have been stripped away, no tv, no hair dryer, no smart phones (if you’re somewhere without a signal). It’s back to just you and nature.

Wild camping with friends is special, you don’t have to be alone. Finding like-minded individuals that enjoy nature and the inner glow you get when you’re a self-reliant team, means you can share your adventures. Stepping off the rat-race, away from the media, the noise and back to the calm of nature. You can slow down from the hub-bub of life. Leave the challenges and step back into the very simplicity of existence – finding or making a shelter, making food and keeping warm. What you choose to use to fulfil these basics will depend on where you go and the conditions. In the UK we have lush green countryside, which denotes the fact that we often need a waterproof shelter.

After cooking a simple meal on my stove out of the wind, at Cow Green Reservoir I stepped outside into the darkness. There’s no light pollution, not a house or street light for miles, just the darkness that wraps you in her blanket. Venus and Mars glowed large and pink, low in the sky near the horizon. When I looked up I could see the Milky Way. The stars were in three dimensions. The big familiar constellations we often see in the sky, vast numbers of medium-sized stars and everywhere millions and millions of tiny stars that you never usually see, making the night sky into clouds of tiny twinkling stars. This view was sublime, its complexity was awe-inspiring. Our little worries and grumbles disappear as our brains try to comprehend the scale and magnitude of our universe and comprehend our emotions as we investigate infinity. Nature puts things in perspective, we feel small and our problems feel small. Wild camping moments like these are why I go. I feel part of something bigger than myself that is infinitely beautiful. Quiet time for contemplation is so important. It helps me listen to who I am and find my way in this complex world.

If you like being outdoors, enjoy being independent and you’ve been camping at a campsite before, then make a small step and go camping without showers and the toilet. There’s a leave no trace principle, so take all litter home, yours and anyone else’s. Follow the rules and camp where it’s legal. The rewards are huge, you feel better, calmer and more relaxed. You’ll also be able to relax and enjoy some of the best views at sunrise and sunset. Do you want to feel truly free? Is it time for you to Go Wild? Ideas and advice can be found on the Wild Camping UK .

If you already go wild camping leave a comment and share why you love it.

Stuck or grow – which will you do?

The trauma of ending a long-term relationship cuts deep. The end of one part of your life allows you to create something new. In this blog I want to share why setting goals is so important to creating the life you want. I hope you will be inspired to set your own goals and make your dreams come true!

When I broke up from my long-term partner, I had to get used to being just me, not part of a couple. It was challenging changing my vocabulary, not using words such as we or us, it was now I or me. So, who was the I without the we? What had I given up to be part of a couple? I looked inside and realised, I’d given up on some of my dreams, to mould myself to be with my partner. Now I was on my own, did I want to follow my dreams? It was a clear choice, stay stuck or grow?

Growth objectives
It’s a simple question, but it applies to every part of your life. When you step back and look at all aspects of your life: work-life balance, career, fun/hobbies, finances, spiritual and mental growth, relationships, emotional growth and health/fitness, what do you think? Are some areas better than others? Parts of your life that you are happy with, that are running smoothly. But are there one or two areas that are dragging you down? You may already know what you want to change? These are areas for personal growth, they are your growth objectives.

Why would I want to have a growth objective I hear you say? It sounds like challenging work and I’ve no time or energy for any of that. I just want to plod along and have a quiet life. Okay, I hear you, but do you want a better life? The path to a better life, is sorting out the problems so you’re happier and more fulfilled.

Get clarity and set goals
Getting clarity about a problem can help you find a route to make changes. Sometimes problems can feel big, overwhelming and frankly impossible. If this is where you are, and you want to make a change, I suggest you get a coach. A coach will help you clarify your thinking. You can get clear on exactly what you want to change and create a goal. Having a goal means you can look at options and decide your best way forward. You create a set of small actions that move you towards your goal. Lists help, make them, do the action and tick them off. You feel good about your progress and this keeps you focused.

Achieving your goals
Do dreams come true? In my case, yes, they do! My dream was to ride a motorbike and go touring on a Triumph in the Dolomites. This was my dream since I was a teenager. I’d let other things get in the way, I hadn’t made it a priority, but inside I still wanted to do it. I looked around at other people who rode motorbikes, they didn’t seem to be any better than me. If they could do it, I could do it.

I decided to go for it! I’d try to get my motorbike license. In my mind this could result in one of three possible outcomes:

  1. Pass my license and I was on the way to making my dream a reality or
  2. Fail the test, but I was proud of myself for trying
  3. Realise that I didn’t want to ride a motorbike to the Dolomites, end of dream nonsense.

Any of the above options was a good outcome in my eyes. I found a local motorbike school that was supportive of women and I booked lessons. It was tough. I had to concentrate, learn and master new skills. It sharped up my road awareness and this has benefited me as a cyclist and car driver. I loved learning, challenging myself and developing new skills. As I made small steps, I was proud of my achievements.

My outcome was option 4! When I went for my test, I failed first time, but I wasn’t going to give up on my dream, I’d invested too much. I took my test again and passed. After years of developing my skills as a rider, I went to the Dolomites on my Triumph. My story is the same as many other people’s, I am not super-special or particularly gifted. I had a dream, I broke it down into steps and I just kept going until I reached my goal. I didn’t achieve it in a week, it took me years. But I can say with my hand on my heart that my life is richer. Motorbiking has given me a sense of freedom, squealing in my helmet, fun, respect and adventure. I’ve met wonderful people, visited beautiful, stop-you-dead-in your-tracks places that make your heart swell. As a teenager I had a dream, as an adult I made the dream come true.

Your time to choose
We all have free will. We all choose the life we want to lead. Which future will you choose? Same as always or doing what you want to do?

Start planning or if you want to get clarity, get a coach. Setting a goal makes an enormous difference when it comes to making changes in your life. The October Business Planning Guide 2017 from Rising Tide Society had a Harvard Study: that revealed remarkable statistics relating to goal setting and success: 83% of the population do not have goals; 14% have a plan in mind, but goals are unwritten; and 3% have goals written down. The study found that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. The 3% with written goals are three times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals. Writing your goals down sets you up to be exponentially more successful. If you want to change your life make a goal and write it down. Be proud of yourself for choosing to change and making your life better. If you want to know what support coaching can give you to achieve your goals, book a free discovery call with me.

Make your dreams come true!

Places I’ve Visited

The world is so vast, it’s bigger than one lifetime.

Visiting a country for a week or more, is like a first date. Honestly, I’m only just starting to get to know the surface of the place and people. I think you need to live somewhere to truly understand it.

My travels have influenced who I am and how I see the world. I will share a few places that have been formative in my teenage life.

Sweden

PlacesVisited - 2

As a teenager I was very lucky to go on an international scout camp and stay with a

Swedish family. I love Sweden’s outdoorsy culture – walking and canoeing in the summer, cross-country skiing in the winter. Wild camping and fires are natural part of enjoying the outdoors.

I have returned to Sweden many times to go cross-country skiing.

A highlight was a hut to hut cross-country skiing tour in the north of Sweden. Eating flat bread and cheese sandwiches, drinking blueberry soup. We sat on our skiis as the snow was so deep we would sink up to our thighs without them! One of my best bits of kit on that trip was the bothy survival bag – it kept the five of us warm when we need to stop and refuel.

Each hut had a wood burning stove, it was good to get warm after a cold day at -25C!

Courses

Join a community of like-minded women, and work through your transformation together. As well as getting all the support, resources and coaching to achieve your goals, you’ll make connections for life.

“WISDOM QUEENS”

For women who want to step with confidence and child-like wonder into their future. This is a group coaching circle. 

Learn More >

“ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT”

Go for it, you  CAN Travel Solo. I help women travellers to overcome their fear and Travel Solo. Be an Explorer! Adventurous Spirit is an online course for travellers wanting to go on their first independent journey. Knowledge over comes fear.

Learn More >

“Happiness At HOME”

BOOKABLE NOW

Not sure where you are going in life? I can help you find your Inner Compass and unlock your true potential. Get Clarity and Confidence! Explorers go travelling to discover more about themselves.

Learn More >

Book a Complementary 20 minute phone call with Sarah to discuss which programme is best for you.

Testimonial

"I chose the ‘Know YOUR Way’ course because I felt overwhelmed and was struggling to find focus and meaning. Although I felt I didn’t have time to do the course I knew it was important to make the time. Sarah was great, down to earth and easy to talk to. She helped me reflect and to recognise my self sabotaging behaviour and fears that were holding me back. I left the course with new insights and having created a clear step by step action plan of how I am going to make my dreams a reality, with short-term and long-term goals. After finishing this course I fulfilled one of my dreams and organised an amazing family trip, travelling round Cost Rica. Before the course it felt impossible. Invest in your future happiness. I would recommend this course if you are feeling lost and need clarity and guidance on how to make profound positive changes in your life."
Jen Todman

Soul Journey – Members Group

Are you thinking of jumping on board?

If you’re a at crossroads in your life and you want to get moving in the right direction you’ve come to the right place. We all need a bit of help and support within our lives sometimes. We need someone that’s walked the route to show us the map of the way. This is the Soul Journey Membership Site, it has resources to support your personal development. This isn’t about just getting you back “on track”, you are looking to improve your life, upgrade and move to the next level. That means change!

Change may seem scary, but it’s just a process of letting go of what no longer serves you and moving on. You get to drop the baggage that you drag around with you! How good does that sound? You will feel lighter and more positive about yourself and your life.

The backbone of the program is built upon the 7 levels of The Architecture of Magnificence. Progression through all these levels will enable your unique expression to blossom.

  • GROUNDING: stillness, home, embodiment, health, stability, freedom, wealth
  • PASSION: Vocation, vitality, creativity, wildness, exuberance
  • POWER: Strength, confidence, magnetism, courage, presence, leadership
  • LOVE: Relationships, intimacy, openness, philanthropy, sensitivity
  • COMMUNICATION: Honesty, authenticity, emotional intelligence, delegation
  • VISION: Goals, imagination, intuition, decisiveness, aspiration,
  • ILLUMINATION: inspiration/guidance, purpose, spiritual connection

This is a journey of transformation and it helps to have a community with you as you journey. People who understand, your need to change and develop in to a better version of yourself, taking the lessons from your life and weaving them into a new creation. I am here to guide you to your truth and joy.

Firstly we work on the roots, the bigger the roots, the better the fruits.


HOW DOES IT WORK:

Each monthly there will be a new bundle of resources. We will work with this material together in the Facebook Group.

Members can dip in and use what they want, go for what you need support with at that moment in your life. The community in the Facebook is there to support you and you can get in touch if need extra help and resources. I encourage you to share your experiences and get support from the other members in the Facebook group. Your Soul Journey Tribe are here for you!