Are you living your fears or your dreams?

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For years I have let fear dictate my life. It has been a constant chatter of:

“Don’t quit your job–you’ll never find another one”

“Don’t move to a different place, you won’t find work or a place to live”

“Don’t travel, the world is dangerous”

“Work more, have more jobs, make more don’t want to end up broke and homeless do you?”

this and so much more has been the recurring thoughts over the last 20 years.

Purpose in life

So, I put my head down, dug in, and proceeded to live the “American dream”: married, 2 kids, house, 2 cars, a job with benefits. Check, check, check.

Note, I really think this is the dream of my parents’ generation. You get married and you stay at a job for 25 years, you retire, if you’re lucky you enjoy a few years of retirement, and then die.

I can’t believe I’ve bought into this lie for so long.

I have always felt an internal struggle.

I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live, but I allowed fear to hold me back and to whisper in my ear that this was as good as it was ever going to get.

You know the fear gremlin, the one that says “Who do you think you are expecting to live your dream?” “You have a great job/life…why do you think you deserve anything else?” and on and on ad nauseam.

Do you ever feel this way? That you are having a tug of war between “what is expected” and “living your dream”?

I just read a great article by Barrie Davenport that said the things you fear really does not exist.

That “our fears are just stories we tell ourselves.”

We then allow those stories to make us a victim, we have built up the stories in our mind and it has become truth.

That really resonated with me, especially during this time of transition.

A year ago I started toying with an idea.

I paid off bills, I reduced expenses, and I saved money.

Fear was along for the entire ride. Telling me I couldn’t make it happen, telling me I wasn’t good enough, or even worthy of living the life I want.  

A couple of weeks ago I finally looked that fear in the eye and told it to get behind me. That I no longer wanted it in my life.

I have lived in its shadow for far too damn long and I am done!

And then I closed my eyes and


At the end of this month, I am quitting my job and pursuing the things I love: photography, blogging, and travel.

No longer will I allow my life to be dictated to by a corporation. I refuse to continue to be just a cog in their big machine. {{side note: I will be doing freelance work, on my terms, so if you were worried about my financial well being, fear not, I’ve got it covered, but thanks for the concern :)}}

Scared?? You better believe it.

The initial stomach churn of the free fall is in full effect.

The fear starts to eat away at me and I have

to wrestle control from it and

tell it to back the hell off!

Will I make mistakes?? You betcha.

Will I learn from them. I sure will.

Is it a mistake to quit my well paying job in a down economy so that I have more time to truly live my life?

Maybe, but that’s the thing, you don’t know it’s a mistake until you try.

And I’ve decided I would rather live the rest of my life filled with “at least I tried” instead of “what if’s”

It’s taken me a LONG time to get to this point, but that is o.k. I’ve needed all the experiences in my life up to this point to make sure I’m successful in the future, I truly believe that.

One thing I know for certain is that the changes I’m making will create a whole new world for me.

I was once told that I could stand in a boat tied to the dock of life and watch all the other ships pass by.


Or I could push off from shore and see where the tide takes me.

The choice was mine and I was reminded that boats aren’t built for the harbor, they are built for sailing the seas.

Just like our lives are not meant to be lived in fear, they are meant to be embraced and lived fully; both the width and length of it.

An Update: 8+ Years Later (9.30.2019)

Note: The year before the leap was difficult. Read about recognizing fear and living my best life ever here. 

It’s hard to believe it’s been 8+ years since I wrote this post.

What an incredible journey it has been.

It hasn’t always been sunshine and unicorns, but I can tell you it’s ALWAYS been worth it.

I have not once regretted quitting my day job and pursuing a different career path.

Not. Once.

Were their failures along the way? You better believe it. Way too many failures, but that’s ok because at least I tried something new and different. 

Those failures and success have led me to live my best life ever and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Since this post, I’ve traveled to countless places, met incredible people, written two travel books, sent two children off to start their own journeys and have found a place of gratitude and joy I didn’t know was possible.

Would I do it all over again?

Without hesitation.

foggy cliff

The thing is though, standing on the cliff, the view can often be foggy. You can’t see the net that is waiting to catch you.

The view of the opportunities that await you are blocked.

It, quite honestly, is a leap of faith.

However, the only thing that is certain is that none of us get out of this alive. We can either go living our dreams and taking chances or we can go sitting on the couch watching life pass us on by.

That’s the thing with leaps of faith. You have to have a whole lotta faith, maybe a backup plan, and a big set of balls.

It’s scary AF, but what a rush. There is no better feeling than to know you tried and succeeded.

Am I saying quit your day job? Heck no! We have to have some way to fund those dreams 🙂

I’m saying follow those dreams, live your best life and do that while taking care of your finances. I’m proof it can be done! 

It’s not all playtime here. I work HARD, but it’s worth every ounce of sweat and tears. Find your dream, give it a go. I’m convinced that we’re allowed to have as many dreams as possible. Some of those we may find aren’t a good fit or maybe they aren’t meant to last forever. 

Try them on for size, wear them around for a while. When you’re ready, grab ahold of the next dream.

What’s better than looking back on the fabric of your life and seeing it woven with the dreams you lived?

That should be our goal: No Regrets! 

Living our best life every, single. day. 

Not sure what to dream? Not sure what you’re supposed to be doing? Check out my resource list below. It has a life-changing book listed that will help you write the story of your life. <<–It’s going to be EPIC! 

I’ve been on the journey of blogging and travel writing for almost 10 years.

I feel a shift and change coming.

I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I feel more aware of myself and the universe around me to know that something big is going to happen soon.

Maybe another book will start to be penned? Maybe another site beyond StrangerTravelsUSA will be started? Heck, maybe I’m ready to start a new business.

Whatever it is, it’s going to be great and when the opportunity presents itself I know I’ll be ok taking another giant leap of faith.

Must Have Resources For Living Your Dreams

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Leave a Reply


  1. Pingback: After Kicking Fear To The Curb
  2. Amazing courage! Good for you. We really are in charge of our own lives. Congratulations on taking control of yours!

  3. WOW…what an inspiring post for living the life you want…This really touched a chord with me…Thank you…And Good Luck..But I don’t think you need it…You just stared Fear in the face and laughed.

  4. So proud of you Deb!! Can’t wait to hear your stories and see pictures!!

  5. I know exactly what you are talking about. I worked for the corporation for 20 years, thinking I would retire from there someday. I was laid off after 20 years and 31 days. After that, my husband and I decided to sell our house and all of our stuff. We bought a travel trailer, and hit the road. We worked at campgrounds and resorts for 7 years, and then, and then, we were hired by the National Park Service to work at the Grand Canyon. That was my life long dream–to live and work at the Grand Canyon. I am now in the 4th year of living my dream, and I am still in awe of the fact that I am doing it. I haven’t starved or had to file bankruptcy after 11 years of living in an RV. I love my life. I couldn’t say that 12 years ago. I am so totally in support of you, and what you are doing. If you ever need an ear, I am an email away.

  6. Congrats! I bet you will be so much happier!

  7. Kassandra @ Coffee a says:

    Good for you love! I’m so happy for you!

  8. Way to go! That took a lot of guts! You are very brave and I know you will do excellent in your new path. Best of luck.

  9. Deb, I’m so amazed by your bravery and admire you for taking this HUGE leap of faith! I wish you all the best!!

  10. Good Luck! I hope you find the freedom does you will. I always admire those that take the path of doing something they would love. I’m not a risk taker and don’t know that I ever could do it.

  11. Huge hugs and congratulations Deb! I understand what you are saying – I’ve let fear control me in my life and leaving that fear behind can be SO empowering! Carpe diem – seize the day! Way to go and I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  12. I understand that fear. I worked as a Respiratory Therapist in the same hospital for 23 years. Every time I wanted to get out of that setting my mom would tell me not to and then follow it up with “you’re making great money, for a woman”. The comfort of knowing what that job was kept me tied down and afraid of going out into the unknown. When I finally made the jump it was scary but i was on the adventure of a lifetime and finally found I was happier doing other things and getting away from the boredom of that comfort. I also found that even though I missed some of the people I worked with I needed to discover more about myself and what actually made me happy and after 30 years in the field health care wasn’t it.

    Congratulations, you’ll be happier and find out more about yourself in this new journey.

  13. Yes!!! I feel like jumping up and cheering for you girl! Go get that dream!

  14. Congratulations! You can do it!

  15. This is so exciting and I really admire you for taking life by the balls and really making it count. I hope you are now able to get everything our of life that you are looking for. After all, you only live once!

  16. Congratulations!! I know that we could probably deal with extra money around here if I worked, but although my kids drive me somewhat crazy, I wouldn’t change it. Just makes us more thankful for what we have! Cheers to this part of your life!

  17. Carolyn G says:

    I admire that! I also think it will be such a good thing. SOmetimes you just have to jump and hope you land safely. I have done that most of my life and while sometimes it is hard, it is always for the better. I wish you well!!

  18. Congrats on taking the leap and starting the newest chapter of your life! The possibilities are endless!

  19. Wow Deb! You are amazing. I am in the place you were a year ago and wavering on whether I can take a leap. You are going to be my inspiration!

  20. This is beautiful. Best of luck.

  21. Good luck to you and kudos for taking the jump!!!

  22. Great post! “Fears are just stories we tell ourselves.”–That really resonated with me to. I love that you are making the leap. I think I have some fears that are holding me back too. I will try to follow your lead.

  23. My fear used to be called Mrs Patronizing Know it All. My inner critic! By now the voice has lost its grip on my soul. The voice has turned into a gentle warning voice. Asking me to balance risk… By now my inner voice is a rather helpful part of me, keeping me grounded when I fly to high! I didnt bother to work on this former Mrs Patronizing. I simple strengthened my other parts….Have a wonderful weekend

  24. Good for you Deb! I know so many of us live in fear and never really get what we want out of life. It’s about making choices and realizing what is ultimately going to make us happy. So exciting that you get to quit your job. You will be embarking on a whole new journey! 🙂

  25. So glad to hear this, Deb.
    Scary—oh yeah.
    But loads of fun.
    Don retired at 48. We’re broke, but happier than you can EVER imagine.
    Now, you need to come over!! You’ll have time now!

  26. Way to go Deb!! I wish you all the luck and love possible on your journey!

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