Fear of Failure

fear of failure
When I took this photo, I was lost.  Carpathian Mountains, Romania.

The last epic journey I attempted, I failed. My plan was to travel overland from Singapore, to the Netherlands, where my dear old mother lives. The fine-grain of how I would actually accomplish this, I would figure out along the way. I did enough research to realise that 3 – 6 months would be a realistic timeframe, for my style of travel. Slow travel. A few days here, a month there. Even then, that would really be pushing it. But who am I to scoff at 6 months of travelling? I had never spent that long in continual movement, in my life.

Six months later, I had visited 25 countries, from Indonesia, to Norway, and many points in-between. Mostly, overland. Mostly. However, there was a big chunk of the world that I flew over. I missed India, Iran, and a whole host of countries that were on “the list”. What is important, is that I had the time of my life. Even more importantly, I had failed to accomplish what I set out to do. Now, I had my excuse. An excuse, to commence another journey. Not that I needed an excuse, my feet were born itchy, and I definitely have the genes of a nomad.

Life changing months lie ahead for me. In private, and with Phillipa, the shy and better looking half of my life, I’ve been calling the next period of my life the “New Deal”. As with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930’s American reforms (don’t worry, this isn’t about Politics), the goal of my New Deal is to create a new, better, dream-catching life. A life full of travel, bacon flavoured champagne, and a black silk cape with “Yomadic” stitched on the back in thread spun from pure gold. Not that my life has been bad so far, on the contrary, I’ve had a roaring old time. I feel fortunate, and privileged, to be where I am today. Maybe even a bit lucky.

But, there’s a movement afoot. The quit-your-job-and-skyve-off-around-the-world-forever-movement. I’m part of that movement. In fact, I’m applying for position as assistant ring leader. I’ve quit my job, and I’m currently preparing for the journey ahead. I don’t accept that a job is anyone’s mission in life. Your vocation might be, but your job isn’t. No, stop arguing with yourself, it’s not. There’s a big difference between a job and a vocation.

Quitting your job and travelling the world, is “sexy”. It’s “cool”. Like anything that is sexy and cool, it has a bunch of buzz-words associated with it. Digital Nomad, Lifestyle Hacker, Location Independent Warrior. Many of the terms are a bit manly, a bit masculine. That’s fine – if you’re the type that responds to promises of riding a V8 Jet-ski all day, fuelled with pure Unicorn sweat, for simply working four-hours-a-week, good luck to you. Be epic, etc. However, I have noticed a common tendency for books and websites to gloss over the reality of life, promising totally unrealistic lifestyles.

My advice is, you don’t need a lot of money to travel the world, or to be happy in life.

Want the travelling lifestyle?

Just work hard, eliminate all of your debt, and spend less than you earn.

That’s good advice. Really good. But, it won’t help everyone. What if you only earn $2 a day (I have a friend in Cambodia who does)? Hmm.

Before I get to the point, do you know how many people made fun of me, for failing to get overland from SE Asia to Europe? None.

My goals were out in public, I had told many people of my plan, and I had failed. And still, nobody made fun of me, criticised me, or laughed at me.

It’s no big deal. I’ve failed before and I’ll fail again. Nobody goes through life without failing. Everybody fails. Sooner, or later.

However, many, many people go through life, not following their dreams, due to fear of failure. Thats another thing I just can’t accept.

Failure is so hot right now. Everyone is doing the fear-of-failure-dance.

I’m trying to make the music stop, so that we can all get our New Deal.

We could all use a New Deal. Travel, is my New Deal. It’s my Unicorn sweat powered Jet-ski ticket to Epic-ville. It might not be your New Deal, that’s cool.

The most important thing, beyond money, beyond your lot in life, beyond everything else , is right between your own ears. There is one truth you need to start with, in order to get the lifestyle you want:

Everything you can imagine, is real.

The truth is, it all starts with what you believe is possible.

And, at this point in the life of Yomadic, as I sit here listening to soul music, that’s about as deep as I can get. Today, on the 27th April, 2012, Yomadic celebrates a 3 month milestone. I decided before I started Yomadic – “I’ll give it 3 months, and decide then whether to continue or not”. It’s an easy decision. I love doing this. I love the feedback, I love that I have already inspired people. I love that I have already pissed off a “travel blogging superstar” (or two), by not sticking to their advice… …advice including “don’t bother starting another travel blog” …seriously?

I would like to offer a genuine, heart-felt, thanks, to those who have shared some great advice, in private, and in the comments here. And, to all who are following along. I hope to catch some of you in real life sooner or later.

Here’s to the next 3 months!


PS, I will endeavour to occasionally show you more of “me”, and add some continuity to Yomadic. It’s been a bit all over the place, and I understand there are questions that some people are dying to know the answers to. Those answers are coming.

BTW, I would love to send you the next dispatch, posted from some-where random around this planet (and you'll soon find out why YOMADIC email followers are my favourite followers):

37 thoughts on “Fear of Failure

    1. Thanks Bec, I really appreciate it. I actually find this sort of thing difficult to write. But, my life wouldn’t be the same without some of the key pieces of inspiration I have received over the years, so now, it’s time to try and give something back.

      1. You have done a fantastic job. I am one of those who are dying to know each of your next steps. Hope all is well since you quit your job and you can smash that August deadline. I am off to Asia for a short trip in August and I can’t wait! Longer would be better, but I will get what I can take until then.

        1. Exactly, the main thing is to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves, whether they be short trips or longer ones, it’s all good!

  1. I could be wrong, but I think the lifestyle engineering blogs are reaching their end. It seems like most of what is put out there anymore is another rehash of old material, and lack any new insight. And, it all seems really…self-interested. These type of blogs exist for the sole purpose of generating enough revenue for the writer to claim they’ve hacked their life, and are amazing for having done so. In reality, the only “hack” was monetizing a blog and building an audience. Their advice is that everyone else do the same. It’s quite unappealing. What I’d like to see are writers who are less self-congratulatory, offer an interesting and dynamic storyline, who aren’t bent on trying to sell you their latest e-book of common sense information packaged as some life-altering manifesto.

    le sigh.

    Sorry for the diatribe. Your article touched a nerve that’s been exposed for a while now.

    1. I agree Steven. What holds my interest primarily, is a great story arc. I’m only new to this, but check back soon, for my new ebook “the 2 hour work week”. Just joking!

      Your diatribes are always welcome here.

      1. Ha!

        Without an interesting storyline, it all seems…empty. And fake. The people who have really “hacked” their lives aren’t on the Internet bragging about how awesome they are. They’re out there living, laughing at the rest of us hunched over our keyboards.

        Damn. I’m cynical today!

          1. Yep certainly more than a grain fo truth but not all such bloggers do it, there are a few who talk about their failures openly – locationindependent.com – the guys that termed the phased ‘location independent’ spring to mind.

            Plus I guess if you say “Buy my ebook which is all about how I aimed for a nomadic lifestyle and failed miserably” it doesn’t lead to quite as many sales, so, while being honest makes for a far more interesting read on a blog, exuding confidence may open up more opportunities and generate more revenue for you. Tough call! I guess when you are successful at something you are allowed to big it up.

            I’ve read similar stuff to what Nate pasted here (and we posted http://www.wanderingminds.info/tips-to-help-you-conquer-your-fears/, only a couple of days ago, so yes, similar subject matter everywhere), but I still enjoyed reading Nate’s personal thoughts and experiences. Even if it’s rehashed material, I think if you can say it better, come up with better solutions or inject your own personal experiences in to the story then it’s okay to blog about it again … well that’s our excuse and I’m sticking to it :)

  2. Who knew that a post about failure would be so inspiring? I think you’re dead right though that the thing that holds so many of us back is the reality that when you put yourself out there, you may fail and that is scary and feels shameful. But you rightly point out that we would never judge others for what they have attempted but not achieved and by daring to fail, we dare actually open ourselves up to the true possibility of greatness.

    My husband and I are currently planning an extended trip and I vacillate daily about whether we should go or whether we should stay put for another year because we have secure jobs and I always worry about us not having enough money to travel as much or as long as we would like otherwise. Must remember this post whenever I doubt!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Steph, very kind comments. Sounds like you have a plan, and I have a feeling you will do the right thing, at the right moment. Just don’t wait too long, if you have the opportunity now!

  3. I’m glad there aren’t 17 reasons! That would be scary…and depressing. This goes great with the post I just wrote about chasing your dreams and not being afraid. Congrats on hitting the three month mark and I wish you many more =)

    1. Incredibly depressing! Thanks Andrea, and thanks for all the advice you have given me, I really appreciate it. And now, excuse me whilst I read your post ;)

  4. Well this is timely! Today was my last day of work. I was a little afraid to quit this job because now I know the next few months are completely dependent upon me. But while I’m afraid to go it alone and do what I love (blogging, traveling, etc), I’m also excited. The feat helps to fuel the excitement and vice versa.

    1. Hey Adam! Nice! The feeling of finishing that last day at work is one of my favourite feelings. Nothing to be afraid of, just go for it. I bet you’re looking forward to exploring beyond Berlin ;)

  5. Your blog has now become my cyber mentor of sorts. Because of your last entry I have written down my plans on how and when I’m quitting my day job! Thank you for sharing your experiences, failures, and triumphs with us.

    1. Thanks Nannette, let me know how things progress, I truly believe that everyone has an inspirational story to tell, and that my story is just one of many.

  6. Hi Nate,
    Just found your blog via another blogger & love what I’m reading here. Congrats on reaching the 3-month mark; keep up the good work! As for the whole “FAIL” thing… I think it’s more that we fail in our own eyes than that anyone else considers us failures. We are always way more harsh on ourselves than anyone else ever gets a chance to be. One of my favorite mottoes comes from a personal email sent to me from a fantastic author, Norah Vincent: “Speak as gently to others as you would to a child. Speak as gently to yourself as you should to others.” This, to me, is the lesson we most need to keep in mind, & yet it’s the lesson we all toss out the window first thing every morning. Here’s to keeping a stiff upper lip & remembering that “failure” is just a nasty euphemism for “life”, or “lesson learned”, or “experience”, or any other positive spin you want to add. :)

    Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz

    1. Yep. Failure is just a part of life, Andi. And, thanks for the kind words, I will try and keep things ticking over on Yomadic.

    1. Thanks Gerard, really appreciate it. Hope to see you around, and if I can ever do anything to help, let me know. Hope you’re enjoying Hong Kong! (one of my favourite cities on Earth).

  7. If I haven’t already said this before then I just thought about it before — you’ve only been blogging for 3 months?! It’s funny though because I have been taking it 3 months at a time as well. I think I started (more seriously, that is) just a couple months before you and shiiiiit man, you’re doing great! Can only imagine what the next 3, then 6, then 9 will hold. There’s a new breed of travel bloggers in town, I believe. Ones who are more interested in keeping it real and you are an excellent example of that. Cheers and congrats!

    1. Hey Larissa… I totally agree. There really is a new breed of travel bloggers in town. Many of the “old school” travel bloggers just don’t seem to realise the changes that are happening at the moment. Many have fallen into the trap of doing things how they were done in the past – bringing out new posts every day just for the sake of getting more traffic, not injecting their own personalities, and really, just being a bit boring. Many are totally and utterly focused on making money and getting traffic. That’s good and all, if that’s your thing, but there’s more to life in my opinion. Like, oh, travel, for instance ;)

      But, I think one thing us relative newby bloggers need to be aware of – it is incredible having the support of other travel bloggers, but really, we all need to cast our nets wider. Providing intriguing and unique stories, beautiful photos, and getting the word out about them, is the best way to do that. Travel bloggers really are experts at travelling, we have as much right to be heard as any of the “old guard”.

      I really look forward to seeing more posts of yours, you’ve already made me book-mark one or two, for the next time I’m in Eastern Europe!

      1. “We all need to cast our nets wider” – couldn’t be more true! Sometimes I feel like I’ve stepped back into high school where you gotta kiss ass or sleep with the football team in order to get noticed or ahead. That may get you a higher Alexa ranking or whatever, whatever (I’m totally pretending I know what I’m talking about), but it won’t get you credibility and that is the number one characteristic readers look for in a blog. That and good looking hands.

        Being intriguing, unique and again, REAL,is the way forward. You have to let me know when you make it to Europe again – east, west, north, or south!

  8. I’m so disappointed! Depressed really. I was promised this epic menu of simple one-liners and instead I got a well-written, meaningful message. Thanks a lot Mr. Nate!

  9. Great post, I am still a “newbie” too, started blogging once a week from January or, at least trying to keep it at once a week as travelling manages to mess things up a bit as find it quite hectic to keep things going whilst out and about enjoying “life”. I have not even tried to monetize my blog yet….and I do write from the heart and I am told that my posts sound just like I am talking to people but, yikes, one has to be patient in this blogging world. I refuse to consider anything as “failure”, just think of it as little hiccups along the way. Blogging like life, is a journey so I will keep at it, learning, laughing, making friends and having FUN just as you seem to be.

    1. Hi Cynthia – yes, without “fun” there’s not much point really, is there! Glad to have connected with anther newbie ;)

    1. Woah! Sorry Angela, I missed this comment! You make a nice point – getting up and getting on with things really gives us a great feeling.

  10. First day checking out your blog from Ms. Nomadic Chick.

    Already read up on two of your blogs. The Street Photo and this one. This one was beautiful and feel like you were speaking straight from your heart. I loved every word. Real talk. I like it.

    Cathy Trails

  11. Ha, I was part of that train and now I’m on a new one. I did quit my job and thought I’d go back and then announced I wanted to be nomadic and then announced that I did not!


    I guess my new term is travel-centric but I wholeheartedly agree with one thing – I had no debt so I had many options. I still have no debt and without it there is a whole world of opportunities out there.

    1. Yep. Debt is a killer. Ayngelina, the important thing, to me, is that you’re doing what your heart tells you to do. So, is it a tough life, sipping cocktails and eating bacon in Maui? ;) (PS, I’m enjoying your blog)

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