Trust is the quality that I value in myself and others more than anything else.
In order for you to trust Wodara – and trust me to share your story with care and accuracy, you’ll probably want to have a better sense of who I am. If you don’t fancy this long version, pop on over to my short bio.
I hope you’ll see that I live by my own medicine and that I will value and love your story as much as you do…
One Plus One is Greater Than Two
I’m mid-thirties. In May of this year, I eloped by seaplane on a beautiful island in the Great Barrier Reef with the man who is better than the man of my dreams!
It’s a dream that’s taken 20 years of heartache, tears, and searching the world over to accomplish. And now, for me, pursuing our dreams together makes me infinitely happier than pursuing my dreams alone!
I’m from the small city of Miramichi in the province of New Brunswick, on the East coast of Canada. I’m very proud of that. I love Eastern Canada and I love Maritimers!
Value of Money
I have excellent parents and I had a very happy childhood. I was never spoiled though! My dad (Engineer) worked long hours and my mom (Teacher) stayed home to raise us.
As a single-income family, there was never any wasting of money or food in our house.
We were not given ‘pocket-money’ or allowed to eat junk food, except on rare occasions. If we wanted money, we had to earn it. We would:
- wash the car
- mow the lawn
- shovel snow
- clean the house
- do any other job for which we could bargain a wage from our parents
When we earned our money, Mom always insisted:
‘50% goes in the bank to be saved for university.’
Thanks to those savings, combined with the odd small scholarship and working many jobs while at uni, I was able to graduate without debt.
Apart from my mortgage, I just don’t do debt; it’s unhealthy and unsettling for me.
I save and then I buy. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that. I save and I wait; the time will come.
I save my money for the things and experiences that are important to me, and I try to avoid wasting it on anything that isn’t.
I learned the value of saving and delayed gratification from a very young age. I also learned that things don’t get given to you. If you want something, you need to plan, work hard for it, and be patient. Erik was also raised in a similar way.
Why I View Life the Way I Do
Thanks to my Uncle Paul who lives in Ottawa, I had a life-changing experience at the age of 16 when he took me to Europe and I travelled by plane for the first time.
That gave me incredibly itchy feet and created the belief system by which I now live my life! Without that experience, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I wouldn’t view the world the way I do now.
And I never would have started Wodara!
Regardless of that experience, I dutifully went to university – but I never forgot what I learned from that experience!
Again, delayed gratification. I needed to first build an essential foundation from which I could then grow and branch out.
I worked very hard for my four years at uni and was successfully hired by a prestigious company in a big city upon graduation. Initially, I was overjoyed; it was a major accomplishment for me.
But then I looked around. I wasn’t starting down the road that would lead me to the life I wanted! I was simply ‘going with the flow,’ doing exactly what everyone else was doing:
‘What about my dreams!?’
It took some months, but eventually I mapped out a few things:
- where I wanted to go
- what I wanted to do
- who I wanted to be
- researched opportunities
- found contacts
- made plans
- quit my job
- boarded a plane bound for the other side of the world
I had no money and nothing but promises in an email from a stranger.
‘It’ll be fine, I’ll only be gone a year,’ I said to my family.
That was in October 2000 (see story).
I learned that it works!
I learned that taking risks doesn’t mean you’re going to end up destitute. In fact, it often means you’re going to acquire more opportunities than if you had played it safe. As a result, since then I’ve been pursuing my dreams, one after the other.
- gained six major qualifications
- lived and worked in 4 countries
- travelled in 46 countries
I’ve had a list of special experiences that I can probably barely count, but they’ve all brought me either joy or an opportunity for learning and self-development.
I’ve also had my struggles. That’s life; we all do. But I’ve been determined to continue living the life I want; a life I’m proud of. A life I’ll look back on with contentment and satisfaction when I’m old and frail (assuming I make it that long).
And, do you know what? Contrary to what we often fear, living life this way has not left me in any sort of financial trouble – despite how much money I’ve forked over to airline companies! In fact, just the opposite has happened.
I have pursued dream after dream and, in doing so, I’ve met new people and been presented with new opportunities that have have increased both my asset base and my opportunities for security in the future.
Almost Two Decades Later…
Basically, I’ve managed to live this way for almost two decades because I’ve consciously paid attention to the life I’m living.
I regularly ask myself:
‘Am I still living the life I want?’
You can call it my ‘bucket list’ if you want, but I don’t. This all began well before that movie came out! Besides, I don’t have a static list; I just keep dreaming and pursuing and re-evaluating.
Outgrowing a Dream
If it takes too long to get around to accomplishing something, sometimes I realise I’ve outgrown the dream and I don’t want it anymore.
Not to worry, it’s already been replaced with a new dream that’s more in tune with who I’ve become and where I’ve arrived in my life.
So…I just call this:
‘Living the life I want and pursuing my dreams, however they may alter as time ticks on.’
Not Always Easy…
It’s not always easy to do this because the human ‘default’ position is basically to ‘go with the flow’ and live within a ‘comfort zone.’
When I feel this happening, I picture myself in my declining years at that point in life when ‘living my dreams’ will be a bit harder to do. I ask myself:
‘What will I regret having not done when I was younger? What stories will I want to share with my grandkids? What pictures will I want to have dancing through my mind?’
I ask myself:
‘Do I still feel it. Do I still feel alive and energised? Do I still feel that this is what I should be doing? That this is where I should be?
‘Am I still living the life I actually want?
‘Or have I managed to get stuck in a life that no longer fits me? A life that no longer fulfils me?’
My Life as a Teacher
For the past ten years I’ve been a Teacher.
I’ve always tried to inspire my students to dream about the possibilities for their lives. Almost more than teaching the required curriculum, I’ve been energised by encouraging my students to reach for the stars and visualise the life they truly want to live – and then go for it!
My Most Recent Chapter
The picture of me below is the morning in November 2012 when I watched the sunrise on Dune 45 in Namibia. The only reason I’m in this photo is because I paid attention to my increasing dissatisfaction with life in London and did something about it.
I thought about this a LOT before doing it – because, well, there are a lot of ramifications to what I was about to do. And then…
I quit my job.
In the middle of the global financial crises when everyone was clinging passionately to theirs, I quit mine. And Erik quit his.
We resigned responsibly (and after much consideration and planning). Then we left on a trip around the world, a dream I’d been wanting to realise for years!
You might not be able to tell, but I’m having a transformational moment on top of this dune right now.
That’s the benefit of regularly taking your pulse about the life you’re living. You get to make changes before you become too stuck in something that is unsatisfying or unhealthy.
I truly believe that illness is often the by-product of stress. The happier we can be in this world, the less stress we will have, and the healthier we will probably be.
The Birth of Wodara
Wodara is still an infant – literally just born! But I hope that people from around the world who don’t yet know me will be inspired to spare a few minutes to contact me and share some information about their own personal story.
Paying it Forward
I believe that those of us who are regularly enjoying that feeling of (what I call) wodara have a duty to pay forward the inspiration and advice we’ve received from those who’ve helped us find our path.
We’re all in this together. I do believe that what goes around, comes around.
I have been helped and inspired by many over the years. I hope that the stories I’m able to share here will pay forward those gifts that have been given to me and in turn help others.
Share Your Story
May we all find and live our own wodara!