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5 Reasons to Embrace Change

reasons to embrace change

Would you believe me if I told you that I am one of the biggest scaredy cats out there?

The other day I got an email in my inbox informing me I was nominated for some blogger award. Scrolling through the different categories, I began looking for my name – Best Female? Nope (oh come on, I am an awesome female) Most comical? Nope (my mom says I’m funny, I don’t get it either), and then my eyes bulged as I realized they stuck me in the “Most Fearless” category.

Really? Me – fearless? HA!

Good joke.

reasons to embrace change

I like to think nobody knows me better than, well, me, and fearless is NOT an adjective I would use to describe myself. Ever. Almost fearless, Christine Gilbert-style? Sure thing. Absolute, superlative, totally without fear? Laughable.

Though, this got me thinking. Do you all, my sweet dear readers, see me as fearless?

Jesus, I hope not!

I have spent 4 years pouring my heart and soul into this blog, including all (ok, almost all) of my fears, doubts and anxieties. While I have done plenty of adventurous and nontraditional things like move across the world alone 4 times, rappelled down into caves and quit my job to pursue a life of travel and writing, it was never easy or without fear, not even for a moment, and if I have left any of you thinking that, then I count it as a total failure on my part.

reasons to embrace change

For me (and I suspect for most of you) change and fear are inherently linked.

Us humans naturally fear the unknown; in fact, I think we are raised that way. Everything we know is easy, good, and above all, comfortable. I think most people would agree that being comfortable is good, right? Who doesn’t like to be comfortable? Nobody, that’s who.

We like what we know. We like routine. We like familiarity. It’s the new things, the future, the sphere of the unknown that is truly scary because, by its very nature, we don’t know what’s going to happen – it’s unpredictable; it’s uncontrollable. It could easily blow up in your face, or it could be a great success.

And therein lies the difference. Perspective and positivity.

reasons to embrace change

You see, I have a love/hate relationship with change.

I don’t inherently like change. Not really.

Embracing change is an internal battle I struggle with every. single. goddamn. day. I would go as far as to say I am the world’s biggest creature of comfort. I could easily have spent my whole life at home, in my very cozy room at my parent’s very cozy house in Virginia. Probably in my very cozy onesie pajamas. I would have been comfortable, but ultimately, would I have been happy?

I don’t think so.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

So over the years, I have forced myself over and over and over again to embrace change. To shake up routine, to try new things, to intentionally rip myself out of my comfortable, organized little box and into the vast unknown, into an arena filled with potential failure, humiliation or even death.

But you know why I keep doing it? My fear of the unknown is triumphed over by only one thing – a fear of regret. At the end of the day, I would have rather tried and failed abominably than not to have tried at all.

I have no shame in admitting I want things out of life that will never, ever happen if I sit on my ass at home. While I enjoy reading about adventures, that’s not enough for me. As much as I want to wake up in my childhood bed everyday cuddling my childhood cat, I want to see the world more and for myself. I want to WRITE those stories, not just read them.

reasons to embrace change

For me, change manifests itself in travel.

Embracing change is a work in progress, something you have to constantly be aware of and work on, at least for me. But ultimately the benefits of change, the positive results of challenging monotony, far outweigh the risks.

But enough about me. After countless years and moments of catastrophic fuck-ups and failures, stubborn refusals and denials followed up with the most incredible experiences of my life, here are 5 reasons I’ve whittled down why change is actually a GOOD thing and why, even kicking and screaming, we should all embrace it.

reasons to embrace change

1.  Change eliminates what-ifs and potential regrets

Over the years, I’ve come to think of the idea of change as a kind of medicine or vegetable. Something I don’t really want and would never voluntarily chose, but rather something I have come to accept is essential to my wellbeing, knowing that in the long run, it’s good for me.

Whether it’s physical or emotional, knowingly and willingly making a change in your life with the goal of something better is worth undertaking, right?

This is something I have been massively struggling with since February when my lease ended on my house in New Zealand. I was faced with a big decision, find a new place to live in Wellington or move down to Wanaka like I had originally planned.

reasons to embrace change

I really really wanted to just stay in Wellington. I love Wellington. I could see myself there long term. I was happy there. I also really really didn’t want to deal with all the shit that goes into moving across the country. Again.

But deep down I knew I had to leave. When I decided to move to New Zealand, it wasn’t to be in a city. Wanaka had been calling to me for months, and I knew if I didn’t at least give it a try, I would both regret it and hate myself.

As far as I am concerned, you are not allowed to regret anything if you put forth your best effort, no matter the outcome.

reasons to embrace change

Leaving Wellington was the hardest thing I’ve done since moving to New Zealand, and I struggled and agonized over what to do for months, and even up until the day before I left town, I was unsure and debating on staying, secretly looking at flats online.

But you know what? Getting on that ferry to the South Island was the best decision I’ve made this year.

Choosing between the unknown and the familiar is the hardest choice in the world. And while somethings will not always go as planned or not work out, the important thing is that you try. Now I can look back on my time in Wellington with fondness, knowing that it will always be there for me as an option, but also continue my life in Wanaka without wondering or regrets.

reasons to embrace change

2. Change will open your eyes and lead to personal growth

In fact, I heartily believe that change can make you a better person. A bold statement, I know, but bear with me.

Sometimes, or I’d say most of the time, we get stuck in a mindset, in a certain way of thinking, behaving, and even living, that we shun change.

But I find when you do the same thing over and over again, your world shrinks, your perspective is limited, and quite possibly, your way of thinking is small-minded. Harsh, I know.

And I don’t know about you, but I really HATE small-minded people. Well, hate is a strong word, and I try not to hate. If anything, I feel sorry for people that can’t, or better put, WON’T think outside their own little world.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

The truth is, the more open you are to change, the bigger the world becomes.

And though I am writing this from the perspective of a full-time traveler, I would never presume to argue that travel is the only way to open your mind.

Travel is what has worked for me, has changed my perspective of the world that I live in, and is the catalyst for allowing me to embrace change. But that’s not for everyone, and I am perfectly aware of that.

In fact, most travel bloggers are pretty fucking arrogant and will preach to the moon and back that travel is the BEST, the ONLY, the PERFECT way to live. But I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. In fact, I will tell you that it’s also small-minded.

reasons to embrace change

There are a million ways you can embrace change, and you have to find what works for you, or even if change itself is what works for you. Though I have a feeling if you are one of those people who refuses change no matter what, you are on the wrong blog.

At the end of the day, trying new things, welcoming change, and challenging yourself will only lead to good things, even if those good things are how you view the world and look outside of yourself.

I feel at this point I should thank both my new flatmate V and my blogging partner in crime Laurence of Finding the Universe for talking me though this. I have been in a slump for a few months, and I’ve been taking the easy way out by writing and sharing travel stories with pretty pictures, instead of digging deep and writing more profound posts like I used to. Stuck in a rut and time for a change!

reasons to embrace change

3. Change leads to flexibility and positive thinking

Two days ago I made myself go to a yoga class in Wanaka. I want to get involved in the community here, meet new people, and most importantly work on stretching and getting back in control of my body.

I should preface this by saying I haven’t stepped foot on a yoga may in 4 years.

So when Monday morning dawned, I was pretty nervous (and sleepy) and I really didn’t want to go to this class but I forced myself to get out of bed and go anyway (this is what I mean about change being medicinal). I then proceeded to get my ass handed to me by a bunch of hippy yoga moms in Lululemon leggings for an hour.

Sweaty and disgruntled, I left the class thinking, “I will get better at this.”

reasons to embrace change

Maybe it’s just me, but once you embrace the idea of change and decide to incorporate it into your life, it becomes inherent and it certainly changes how you think and handle situations. 5 years ago I would have given up, been disheartened, embarrassed; I might not have even tried to get back into yoga. I used to be brittle, inflexible, letting fear of whatever hold me back.

By embracing change in my life, I have learned to roll with the punches and look on the brightside. Because I force changes in my life over and over and over again, I can now easily adapt to new situations. I even feel like I understand people a lot better.

So now when things go wrong or if I fail at something, I don’t lose my shit (at first) and I have learned to adapt, which, if you know me at all, is a fucking miracle.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

4. Change can make you strong  

To be honest, change is downright scary. The trick is to see it as something worth conquering. Is there a greater feeling in the world than conquering a fear? Challenging yourself and succeeding?

I get it, most people are perfectly content to live in a bubble. Bubbles are comfortable and cozy, and risks are kept to a minimum. But that’s not really living, is it?

Well, the truth is, it is much easier NOT to change and therein lies the problem.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

It’s like when you see someone who has clearly fucked up about something, one thing or another, and refuses to admit their mistake. I see that as weakness, and it makes me sad.

But on the otherhand, when I see great leaders and individuals admit their mistakes, to me that speaks volumes and truly shows someone’s strength and character.

To be honest, I am pretty stubborn. But I have worked very hard over the past year or so to both recognize when I am in the wrong AND admit it and apologize if need be. My god, is there anything harder than that?

That kind of change quite possibly is the most difficult of them all, but it’s one that can really lead to confidence and personal strength, and if you can conquer that, then you can take on anything.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

5. Change is a lifestyle

If I admire people who are so confident and strong they can admit their mistakes, then I also equally admire people who are completely open to change and new opportunities, who openly seek to challenge themselves, to learn and to try new things. Those are the kind of people I aspire to be on a daily basis.

Ultimately, change is a choice, one that we all have to make, whether we decide to or not.

I’m nowhere close to perfect, in fact, I am a pretty big mess. But little by little, I am trying to pull myself together, work on becoming a better person, and I have found that change is the cornerstone to this.

reasons to embrace change

reasons to embrace change

I am not special. I am ordinary, just like everyone out there in the world. I’m probably just like you, trying to survive and be the best I can be.

At the risk of sounding like a total douche, I’ll leave you with a Hemingway quote that has resonated with me over the years.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Change is hard. Change is a battle. But things that you have to fight for generally are worth it in the end. So don’t waste your time and energy comparing yourself with other people.

If you dream big like me, learn to control your fears, learn not to run from change but to embrace it with open arms and move forward into the unknown.

There is nothing more glorious than looking back on your choices with fondness and pride instead of regret.

How do you feel about change?

reasons to embrace change

102 Responses to 5 Reasons to Embrace Change

  1. Mark April 10, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    Aye, it’s true, overcoming fear does lead to change. I wouldn’t say I am 100 percent fearless now but after realizing fear is just ignorance, once you realize what is behind your fear, that’s how you can embrace it.

    Your post reminded me of the old No Fear ad, Embrace it and the world is yours. Congrats.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Love this! The world is yours!

      • Mark April 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

        I had a feeling you would enjoy that world is yours. 🙂

        One thing that I forgot to mention (probably because I forget this little detail from time to time) is that I am deaf. I can lipread and talk for myself but can’t hear a sound without using hearing aids. So embracing change is really a major part of my every day life.

        The biggest challenge I have is being in a different country where I don’t know the language and trying to communicate the mere fact I can’t hear to people that don’t understand what I am saying. In a way, it’s a fear in itself, but I am not sure why.

        All I know is when I finally figure out how to communicate through sign language or body language, the look of realization appears on their faces and brings a smile with it, opening a new world for me to embrace it.

        So I guess the moral is live everyday doing everything with no fear and the world is yours.

      • Robin May 29, 2014 at 6:00 am #

        Thank you for the inspiration and quotes. I’m turning 50 this year and I’m heading to Greece in mid July on my own. Very excited, a little apprehensive perhaps but non the less ready.

        Thanks again

  2. Julie @ A Life Exotic April 10, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    Rock on, girl!! Being fearless and living in spite of your fears are two TOTALLY different things, and personally, I find the second one to be a much more admirable quality. Also, love the Bob Bitchin quote – how could someone with that name NOT be the author of badass inspirational sayings? 😉

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      I know right?!

    • SnarkyNomad April 11, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      “The name’s Bitchin. Bob Bitchin. I like my life shaken…AND stirred.”

  3. Hill April 10, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    I am headed to New Zealand in next week and your blog has been very helpful in planning the trip.

    Congrats on the nomination!

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Awesome you are going to love it down here!

  4. The Nomadic Londoner April 10, 2014 at 2:10 am #

    Wow Liz! That was some thought-provoking post! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now but (slap on the wrist) this is the first time I’ve posted a comment. But how could I not? Reading the above brought out a strong emotional response in me. I am going through many changes at the moment in my life, where nothing is certain but I’m pushing myself forward into the unknown because something amazing always happens in between that moment of leaving behind comfort and confronting fear. That amazing something may not be visible to the outside world but internally something has clicked and it’s a wonderful feeling to carry around with you. I’m about to embark on indefinite slow travel in a year’s time – I’m impatient to start but reading your blog allows me to live vicariously through you in the meantime. Keep going girl! You’re really something! 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Yay! I am glad you can relate and finally commented 😀

  5. Rachel of Hippie in Heels April 10, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    Ahh these are my favorite types of posts to read by you! You’re right- I’m the same, as in could be totally content sitting at home cuddled up with my dog BUT its not the happiest I could be. Although even as an expat, I stay in with my new pup I got in India quite often. It is possible to be a traveler and a homebody!

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Yeah I am definitely both!

    • Mark April 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Rachel, isn’t just being a hippie in heels a sign of embracing change? 🙂

  6. The Southern Adventurer April 10, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    This is a wonderful post that inspires me even more to go out and travel! There is so much to do in this world that it makes me sick when people just want to sit on the couch and watch TV all the time. I love leaving my comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary, Its what I live for. I’m defiantly pinning this post so more people can see and be even more inspired than I was!

    -The Southern Adventurer

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      thank you!

  7. Sam April 10, 2014 at 3:18 am #

    Amen! I completely agree with you about travel bloggers who preach travel as being the only/best way to live. Bullcrap. I also really like this idea of change being something that you don’t necessarily enjoy, but that you realise is essential to your happiness. Win!

    • Erika from America April 10, 2014 at 4:49 am #

      I really love that Liz touched on this point, too. Because I think there are so many ways for us to open our minds, so many paths. What works for us (travel) may not work for other people and vice versa!

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      It is definitely essential to long term happiness, at least for me!

  8. Mike of Mapless Mike April 10, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    All of these reasons to embrace change are why I’m leaving my 9 to 5 desk job this fall to go teach and live in Spain. Everyone I’ve spoke with who has taught or lived abroad has said to do it so you won’t regret not doing it. I know that if I don’t go, I will always wonder “What if?” I’m scared of the unknown, but while the unknown future is scary, it also means that it’s unwritten. I can write my own future.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      exactly! It’s all up to you 😀

  9. Erika from America April 10, 2014 at 4:48 am #

    Wow! There is SO much good stuff in here! Maybe because I’m in a stage of my life where I am finally ready to get over those paralyzing fears and LIVE! So much of this spoke to me… and there’s so much that’s quotable. But I think this is my favorite: “Choosing between the unknown and the familiar is the hardest choice in the world.” <– Yes.

    I'm a lot like you in the sense that I like my comfort! I love my pajamas, my familiarity. But I also love the new and I atrophy without it. I'm learning to incorporate both in my life. I realize: I want both so why not go for it?

    Anyway, just wanted to say a lot of this resonated and this post is one of my favorites from you (and that's saying a lot because I pretty much love and enjoy each of your posts! They inspire me so much)! 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      muahaha love that you quoted me !!

  10. Heather April 10, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    I’m from a very small town in Virginia, and most people I know from there still live there. And most seem perfectly happy. My high school classmates are all married to each other and have a ton of kids. I probably could have married my HS sweetheart and led a comfortably boring life there. But I would have always regretted not taking more chances, wondering what else I could have done. I have a cousin who was too afraid to leave our hometown to go to college two hours away. Two hours! Talk about fear holding you back.

    I get an adrenaline rush from change, like the feeling of riding a roller coaster or jumping out of a plane. It gives me a natural high, and I’m kind of addicted to it. When I stay in one place for two long, I start to get antsy and eager for new challenges. Move to NYC without a job, an apartment or a single friend in the city? No problem! Move to Shanghai without speaking one word of Mandarin? Bring it! Next up: Europe 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Sounds like a familiar story, I am from a small town in Virginia too, and man did I not fit in!

  11. Trevor Huxham April 10, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Really, really great post, Liz, and I love how you emphasized that embracing change doesn’t just have to be traveling or living abroad.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks Trevor!

  12. Julika April 10, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Great post, Liz! I can understand this love/hate relationship with change so very much!
    Ever since my first year of college I have tried to challenge myself whenever I got too comfortable: I moved seven times, have lived abroad and in four different states. I sold my car when I got too attached; I quit my jobs when I got too obsessed. I left friends behind, but made new ones along the way when I had the guts to introduce myself. I forced myself to travel alone, to have dinner by myself in Paris. It wasn’t always easy, but it was what I needed to do to become more independent, more confident, and to prove to myself that I can achieve way more than I think I can over and over again. Change is good and change is what you should experience to grow!

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm #


  13. Chelsea Alventosa April 10, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Another great post, as usual! I definitely can identify with this as my life after July is very unplanned but I know big changes are coming. It’s scary but falling back into the “comfortable” is worse because I, like you, always crave new things while I still consider myself to be a fairly introverted homebody. Glad you made the move, so excited to read more about Wanaka.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      I’m so excited about wanaka, don’t think too far ahead, that’s my motto 😀

  14. Tina April 10, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Loved your post! dear I say, Best Post ever! Congratulations on your nomination 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      Thank you!

  15. Carla Munro April 10, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Liz, I’ll go to yoga with you. ; ) Take my hand, lead the way, walk with me, everyday, we’ll reach for stars, see the sun, revel in shadow, know our souls are one. xxx

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      Love 🙂

  16. Randomjenta April 10, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    I love this! Change is always scary, but I always try to push myself into new experiences. The only thing more scary than change is regret! I haven’t done much I regret, but I regret a few things I didn’t do because I was scared.. Never again!

    Very inspiring post 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      No regrets!

  17. Katherine April 10, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    I love this post so much Liz! I’m about to leave little NZ for London all by myself (on a one way ticket!) and although I’ve been wanting to do this for years, the closer it gets the more I’ve started freaking out! You put into words exactly how I feel about change and also pretty much the same pep talk I give myself every time I have second thoughts about going haha keep on being awesome!! And congrats on being nominated 🙂

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      awesome! You’re going to love it, talk about a change!

  18. Leah April 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    So, I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      I know what you mean, I needed to get all of these jumbled thoughts out

  19. Erin April 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    Great post. Sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job confronting your fears on a regular basis, which is definitely a brave thing to do.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      That’s the idea haha 😀 not easy but worth it!

  20. Christina April 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    This is exactly what I’ve been feeling lately! The anxiety of not knowing if I should study in my beautiful Southern California bubble, where my whole family lives, or take a job offer and move to the east coast. Change is super scary……. But it definitely helps you grow. Thanks Liz

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

      east coast east coast!!!

  21. amelie88 April 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    It was a little eerie reading this post because I felt like I was reading something I had written. I have hated change my whole life too which is something I’ve tried to change. Even mall changes like when my mom decides to redecorate a room gets me all worked up. But I’ve been through enough change in my life to know I can weather it, even if I don’t like it. I don’t necessarily embrace it, but I know I can’t avoid it for long. Sort of like now, I feel like my life is at a crossroads. And even if you stick with what is comfortable, things will still change, that much I’ve learned!

    Also congrats on the yoga class! I recently got into zumba and I was so nervous for the first class then I realized nobody cares if you look like an idiot and can’t follow the steps.

    • Liz April 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      I’m glad you can relate! That’s definitely a good point, you can’t really avoid certain changes!

  22. Mel April 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m in a time of my life where improving myself and being happy means I need to step out of my unsuccessful habits and embrace big-scary-no-guarantees change. I needed to read this. Thank you!

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      You’re welcome!

  23. Marie @ Budgeting for Travel April 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Embracing change is not easy. But It would contribute a lot to us. It would make us better/improved. We must change for the better of course, not for worse. And I like how you overcome your fear. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      That’s also true, change for the good!

  24. Christie April 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Aaaah this is such a great post and JUST what I needed to read. I LOVE change, but it is so refreshing to see a perspective like yours on it about change being good and important, because I often feel like my ‘frequency’ of change makes me look like a failure (i.e. can’t stick to one thing, can’t just settle down in one job and get on with it). In just a few years I’ve lived in Nelson, Wellington, Auckland and now Christchurch, quit two jobs, backpacked for a few months, and am currently contemplating another rather big change in my life! I 100% believe that every big scary leap I have taken in my life continue to always be the best decisions I have ever made. Like you, I want to write the stories, not just read them! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      Where’s your big change to? Sounds like you’ve had an exciting life o far!

  25. Larissa April 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Love your quote “My fear of the unknown is triumphed over by only one thing – a fear of regret.”

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks! Weird to hear myself quoted though haha

  26. Tanya April 10, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Great post. I think a lot of people have the misconception that people who love to travel and take themselves to faraway places must be fearless. Not true. Abolishing that myth might help others decide to explore the world too so good on you for posting this Liz. One of the lines in your post that stood out to me the most is one that reminds me of something I have said many times myself. For me having REGRETS about not having done something is far worse than the FEAR of doing it.

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:48 am #

      No regrets!

  27. Jen Seligmann April 10, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    Fearless or not, I think your incredibly brave and inspiring. You’ve done so many things that I think alot of people wouldn’t have the guts to do ever in their lives. I honesty do hope that you continue living the life that you love so much!

    • Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Thank you, I hope so too!

  28. Caroline April 11, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    “But you know why I keep doing it? My fear of the unknown is triumphed over by only one thing – a fear of regret. At the end of the day, I would have rather tried and failed abominably than not to have tried at all”

    I absolutely agree with this. I recently lived with my boyfriend in a cute apartment and if was wonderful. But I started to feel very unhappy and worried about my future. If I don’t go and travel now? WHEN WILL I? So, we moved home to our parents to save money and hopefully we’ll be travelling to NZ and OZ and the end of this year. I’ve also realized that things doesn’t have to stay the same. You CAN actually have it all. If I want to live in a beautiful house in Sweden, want to live in New York City, want to travel to every continent, want to live in California near my family and become a teacher. I CAN do that. I can do every single thing. Maybe not in the same day, or month but I will have time to pursue all my dreams! Things doesn’t have to stay the same, change is always an option and I don’t have to become old and have lots of regrets. A long comment, ha ha, but thank you for this post! Truly inspiring!

  29. Liz April 11, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    You can definitely have it all, it’s all in your hands 😀

  30. Franca April 11, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    What a post Liz! There is so much that I relate with. Changing is definitely a good way to live your life even when sometimes the changes don’t turn to be for the better in the end. It’s better to give it a go than regret not trying it later. 🙂

    • Liz April 12, 2014 at 9:23 am #


  31. Ella April 13, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    Love it! I’m an avid reader and I love your blog and your story. I am a Vermonter studying abroad at Victoria University in Wellington right now and I’m headed down to the south island for two weeks starting April 18th! I can’t wait to see Wanaka!

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Awesome! Let me know when you’re in Wanaka!

  32. Kara of Standby to Somewhere April 13, 2014 at 2:25 am #

    Powerful post, Liz. I can relate as I have been preparing to leave my comfortable (albeit stressful) teaching job to move to Spain, a dream I have been holding on to for awhile. I read a book a few months back called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways” and it resonated with me. While I have wanted this change, it still scares the shit out of me about how drastically my life is going to change. You are right though, change is what we need to grow. I need to let myself live and not just plan, plan, plan. The future will be revealed in its own way. I’m lucky to let travel guide guide my growth.

    • Liz April 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

      I’ll have to check out that book, sounds right up my alley!

  33. Elizabeth April 14, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Each time I travel I’m most of the time alone and there is always fear. But each time my comfort zone is bigger. I really relate to what you wrote. Sometimes I find it hard to do something, like the yoga class: “I don’t want to go”. I am a lot like this.
    Your blog really inspires me. And New-Zealand is a place a would like to live. Who knows, maybe I’ll live in Wanaka one day :p
    (sorry if my English is bad :s )

    • Liz April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Thank you! You’re english is great, wanaka is really awesome and you’d be welcome here!

  34. Kelsey at The Primal Yogi April 15, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Wow, what a powerful beautiful piece. Being enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training, I’ve recently been tasked with writing a 5-15 minute meditation / centering. It has to be about something that resonates with your life currently, and then make it universal to share with a class. I’ve decided to focus on fear/change. So thanks so much for the inspiration. This post resonates a lot with me and I can definitely draw from it!

    • Liz April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      cool! I’m glad you can relate to it, I think it’s something so many people feel, especially nowadays 🙂

  35. Jordan Simons April 15, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Change is a good thing and should be welcomed!

    ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’ – that’s the mantra I live by, embrace the unknown and good things will happen to you!

    • Liz April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Live by that too!

  36. Becca April 18, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    This came at just the right time! I saw this post in my inbox just as I was trying to decide if accepting a move across country for work (DC to LA) was the right decision. You reminded me of all the times that I had been scared to take chances, to take a risk and the beauty that has come into my life from being willing to to put myself out there. I accepted the job and will be moving this summer! And I was inspired to plan my next international trip. Austalia and New Zealand might be in the cards for 2015.

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      You can’t regret anything if you try!

  37. Kara April 24, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Well said, well said. A friend and I have had a running conversation along these lines about travel for a while. He challenges himself all the time and employs extreme self-discipline and we argue about whose path is “better” for change and becoming the best person you can be. I think in the end we have agreed that there are many, many different ways that you can challenge yourself, learn and grow from those experiences, and that international travel is just one of them.

    Also, thank you for moving to Lake Wanaka – I am loving the photos you post on Instagram!

    • Liz April 25, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      awesome! I am glad I’m not the only one who thinks a lot about these things 🙂

  38. Matthew Cheyne April 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for being so real with this and your other posts. Congratulations on your nomination. I really hope you win. New Zealand is the top of my international travel plans and when I get the money and time, more so money than time, I will go and make my own history in Wanaka just like you did.

    You also confirmed something that I believed and knew all along. That is that you are a beautiful woman both inside and out.

    Keep doing what you are doing. You are doing great.

    • Liz April 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      awesome thank you 🙂

  39. Aaron May 1, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    One of the best posts I have ever read…ever! I really needed to hear this before I move to New Zealand in July. I am doing a 6 months study abroad program at Massey University in Palmerston North. I would be lying if I said I am not a little bit nervous! 🙂

    • Liz May 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      awesome! You’re going to love it here!

  40. Fra May 22, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Hi Liz.
    I just found your blog and I’m going to take my time reading and enjoying your writing. I get the feeling I’ll love it 🙂
    I have been thinking about change and my attitude towards change for quite some time now. I am facing a strange period in time in my life, I am dissatisfied, and for the first time in my life basically, I want to change. But, as I’ve always sort of been afraid of change, it’s scary and I feel stuck. I know I want to change but how to approach it, the steps to take, is what I can’t manage to see clearly.
    I feel full of fears and yet, like for you, I have had people say I am brave :O It felt so weird, hearing that!
    Well, thank you for creating this place, I will have fun discovering it! Fra

    • Liz May 22, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      thank you!

  41. Mary June 27, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Thanks for this! x

  42. Amy July 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve been seriously contemplating leaving my secure, soul-sucking corporate job here in Austin, TX, packing up and moving to a town that I love–I love it for the weather, the people, the relaxed pace, the good beer, and the overall vibe. Austin isn’t what it was when I was growing up, and I’ve figured out that living in a huge, expensive city surrounded by concrete just ain’t my thing, and while I have a great job in terms of salary and flexibility, it really just drains the life out of me and I think I was happier back when I made 18K waiting tables part time. The job is really the only thing that’s made me scared. The town I want to relocate to is less than half the size of Austin, and I can hear my dad’s voice in my head telling me that it’s a foolish decision (he’s one of those “small-minded” ones). I’ve finally reached a point, though, where I’ve realized that I’m a capable, smart, intelligent girl and no matter where I go, I will be fine. Even if it’s uncertain or bumpy at first. So, again,
    thanks so much for the reinforcement.

    Amy Lauren

  43. Natra Z July 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I quit my job at this month to travel the world, change my environment, step into the unknown and explore myself more. I leave next month for South East Asia –> Africa –> Europe and not gonna lie, I’m scared shitless… but realizing that I haven’t been scared about any decisions in my life for so long is what’s making me excited about the fear…. It’s in times of spontaneity and fear that we are most alive, and in tune with our subconscious.. Follow my travels at

  44. Sarah Elly Johnson September 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    So I stumbled across your blog at about 1am, and I am so inspired. I was working a 9-5 and have recently left to continue exploring the world I am so incredibly desperate to see all of. I also left home at 16 to begin traveling and just find our stories wonderfully similar. So happy I found you, this has inpsired me to continue on the path I am on 🙂 Thanks so much & keep being awesome!

  45. Allison December 23, 2014 at 5:24 am #

    Girl, you are such a warrior. I almost went to Spain two years ago, and your blog became my go-to. Now my big move has become New Zealand — and I find out that YOU’RE THERE. Dude. We are meant to meet. Love you already. Thank you for keeping it REAL. xx

    • Liz December 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      meant to be! let me know when you get here!

  46. Steve December 29, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    I discovered your blog while doing my research for a job in NZ. I guess there are 40-50 years difference in our experience with feeding the travel rat. But, like others who read you, i too sometimes get the feeling that i am reading my own thoughts. You are probably familiar with Paul Theroux’s “The Tao of Travel”: “from an early age I longed to leave home and to keep going.” That is, very simply, the clearest statement of my own condition that I have read. But your piece on change says alot to me as well. Keep writing! And thanks!

  47. Dave O February 23, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    Ok, I’ve had “change” thrust upon me. Three years ago, my wife of 20 years came down with ALL, a form of Leukemia. We were in the process of getting ready for a bone marrow transplant when she got an infection, got really sick and 4 weeks later I lost her.
    Since that time, I’ve been taking trips, journeys and adventures on a small scale. I’ve been planning a round the world trip but think instead I may spend a year, or so, out West in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana.
    In the last four weeks, I’ve been cleaning house,….literally. Getting rid of “stuff” and getting ready, ……for what I’m not sure of yet. But I know there’s another change coming and I can’t help but feel like its a big one.
    Your article helped a lot. I admire you for your ability to write and embrace the change so far from home. I leave you with a quote I saw a couple years ago,….”It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.”

  48. Jenna Robar March 25, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    You have no idea how much I needed this article tonight! I’m going to Spain for the summer and sometimes my mind just wanders into these horrible negative thoughts of how I maybe shouldn’t be going, but I feel a lot better by reading your different articles. Your purpose of motivating people is definitely working. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  49. Scott March 26, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks for this post. The universe put it in front of me just as we are focusing our own change. We’re aiming to get back to Wanaka to live off-grid, work online and be sustainably-free.


  50. Alicia June 29, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Love this post! I am trying to maintain my courage to make a move to the UK and this was a perfect read!

    • Liz June 30, 2015 at 4:39 am #


  51. Aaron July 6, 2015 at 2:56 am #

    The only constant in life is change.

  52. John Reacher July 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    This is a wonderful post that inspires me even more to go out and travel! There is so much to do in this world that it makes me sick when people just want to sit on the couch and watch TV all the time. I love leaving my comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary, Its what I live for. I’m defiantly pinning this post so more people can see and be even more inspired than I was!

  53. HDYTI December 23, 2015 at 5:27 am #

    This was a really great piece…thanks for sharing and motivating!


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