life begins… at the end of your comfort zone.


Yesterday Bo and I arrived in Indonesia and the end of my comfort zone. After a hectic week in WA introducing Bo to family and having the whole gamet of experiences that go along with such a whirl wind trip (and a few unexpected) we boarded a plane at 2.45am (really, not recommended when travelling with an infant) and flew right through my comfort zone, landing in hot, sweaty Jakarta a little after 6am on Friday morning. A wonderful reunion for my little family, we loaded the car up with our luggage and we set off into the dusty highway. We had a long ten hour trip ahead of us  to our new home in a village I called home for many years.

The drive was much as expected, having done this trip a bazillion times before. Bo was an angel who napped and chatted and smiled the whole way. We stopped in my husbands village to do a quick first introduction of Bo to the wonderful world that is her Indonesian relatives… and here is where my first panicked moment set in.

I handed over my beautiful, calm little girl to her lovely grandmother and the craziness began as family began streaming through the doors to poke, clap at, and delight in Bo’s charms. Bo was totally fine with it all… a little wide eyed and shocked, she played along and smiled on cue and did all the right tricks. I, on the other hand, was more than a little overwhelmed watching my tiny baby swamped in a sea of Batik. I put this feeling down to a combination of heat and absolute exhaustion, and if I’m completely honest, being miles from my comfort zone and allowing myself to get caught up in an I-want-my-mummy moment.

This moment continued long after we left my husbands family behind and ventured into our own village, to our new house – as I inspected the new place and made a mental note of all that needs to be done, I felt hot tears on my cheeks… I was overwhelmed at it all. Bo and I, sweatier than we have ever been, found calm in eachother whilst my husband raced back to the last village to purchase insect repellant and a fan to make our night a little more comfortable.

I knew then that I was having one of my well known first-night-moments. I have them every time I travel to a new place and they are always magnified when I’m travelling alone (which WAS most of the time, and probably won’t happen again, anytime in the near future). In India I broke down and hid in an airconditioned hotel room for 12 hours, in Hawaii I forced myself out on the town, in Vietnam I shook the tears with a shower followed by a cold beer in a crowded bar. I know this feeling well, it’s a what-the-hell-have-I-got-myself-into feeling. What is unfamiliar is having this feeling going back to a place that is already familiar to me. This sea of faces, the heat, the sounds and smells are all strange compared to where I come from but I’ve lived in them before. What is different is bringing my little girl into this world of colour…

Last night I shook off my tears and soothed my baby to sleep. I ate dinner with my husband for the first time in six weeks and I then tried to sleep. I knew that things would be different in the morning. As I sit here now the call to prayer is dancing through the heat of the air, across the women planting rice and into my front windows. The shell of Bo’s ear will be catching its sound as she sleeps under a mosquito net next to me. I’m not nearly as panicked as I was last night. I’m calmer and more centered but I’m still out of my depth.

I’ve always believed that life begins at the end of your comfort zone… I’m certainly here. I guess it’s time to start living.

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  • April 28, 2012 - 5:07 pm

    cathtravelsandteaches - You’ve just settled one of my fears – I’m about to do my first solo trip (not including the move here) but I’m so desperately frightened! It makes me feel better that someone I know that’s as brave as you, and as seasoned a traveller as you, still gets “first night”.
    Good luck babe xReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    Cassie Nguyen (@cassieishoming) - I have so many disjointed thoughts!!! You’re a new you in your old village now. I still find it amazing how much motherhood has changed my sense of self. I think my ‘first night’ would probably last weeks! I can see the “sea of Batik” (love!)… It is such a beautiful gift you are able to give to Bo – the chance to grow up in two worlds that will so seamlessly be her only one. This is the start of a life that it sounds like you were always going to live. xReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2012 - 9:20 pm

    stacey cuthbertson - i know this is a completely random comment but i love your floor its awesome . glad you arrived safe 🙂ReplyCancel

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