Week One in Bali: Saying Yes

The Nomad MBA_Alumni_Hannah Gibney_Blog

This summer for me has been defined by the take-offs and landings I have experienced — both literally on planes and in my own mind and heart.

I left a full life in Washington DC to return to England and ‘settle down’ with my wonderful family and friends there.

In reality, I see that I was actually just having a moment of rest until I began another, almost bigger, journey into the unknown.

From Washington DC in May I have now, somehow, ended up in Canggu, Bali. In a co-working space complete with a pool, hipster culinary delights and like-minded community from all around the World. Dojo Bali, you have my heart.

On reflection though, I have no idea how I’ve pulled this one off. It’s extreme, even for me.

I’ve enrolled into a deliberate 3 months of ‘redesigning my life’ (as millennial as that sounds) which will include looking deeply into myself and being honest about how I might best serve myself and as a result serve the world and communities around me.

The Nomad MBA is a group of unique humans looking to travel, learn and grow together. We’ve all come from different places and a huge variety of experiences but so far it seems there is a common thread that runs in each of us, although trying to define the thread is escaping me, I’m not sure there’s a word for it.

The last week has been intense.

We have formed deep, and hopefully lasting, relationships that have already begun to reevaluate how I see the world personally. My hope is being restored after a couple of years of ‘fake news’, depressing information drip-fed into my heart and a slow numbing of the truest versions of myself.

I know that makes me sound like a hippy.

I don’t really mind that it does (everyone who knows me well knows I’ve always been a bit inclined to a ‘flowers-in-the-hair’ moment).

But given that now I’ve [re]remembered that the truest things are good and whole and holy I’m feeling encouraged again.

That’s what I’m experiencing here — the bringing together of a group of people who have bravely stepped into a completely unknown territory where the lines are erased and then re-written for each of them

I’m excited to see so many individuals successfully achieving their personal and professional goals in harmony with each other.

Here in Canggu, it’s genuinely possible to work for 7 hours a day on projects you care about while not coming into the ‘office’ until 10am, leaving for a long surf at lunch (jokes, I’ve never surfed but everyone else seems to), paying very little in living costs AND to save money for the potential return to the shock of the common Western existence.

If these people can do it it means that you (and I) can absolutely do it too.

You have the option of living a healthy, balanced, fulfilled life. You have the option to listen to true things without fear of someone calling you a hippy (*cough*).

You have the option of saying yes to each and every dream that you have thought about or has crossed the surface of your heart.

Now, of course, everyone’s yes isn’t about becoming a ‘digital nomad’. I have a feeling though that as you read this you have a little tug in you that says “this is your yes right now”. It might be to learn an instrument, or start that book, or become a stock broker. I don’t know what it is for you, only you do.

For me, I am learning that the hardest part was saying simply acting on my ‘yes’. The rest of this is relatively easy, but the saying yes was deeply painful in so many ways.

It was leaving behind what was a good life in order that my best life could be lived

This meant potentially compromising relationships that are incredibly important to me.

It meant letting go of a steady income and a beautiful home.

It meant starting from scratch, which is terrifying because who are we really at the beginning? Ground Zero brings us back to the core things about each of us.

I knew that I desperately needed to find my authenticity again and not be defined by what someone else might have in mind for ‘my’ best.

I had always relied on other voices to tell me how well I was doing, whether I was on track, whether my existence had worth. That was wrong on so many levels, not least because it put unnecessary expectation and pressure on those people closest to me. Freedom doesn’t look like that for anyone.

Really what I needed to do was listen to the Divine voice inside of me. I’m slowly learning how to only rely on that and when I do manage it life becomes so much wider, more vivid and incredibly fulfilling. Every. Single. Time.

Best yet it is an individual journey that we do in community, not apart from each other but alongside each other. Supporting each true thing gently and respectfully.

The privilege of being able to do this kind of transition in Bali (and Thailand and Vietnam later) isn’t lost on me. I wake up grateful and go to bed grateful that I continue to experience the brightest colours each day which seems to me to be a lavish expression of grace.

That I get to meet the Balinese people (who, without exception so far, have been the kindest, friendliest people I’ve ever encountered) is a huge gift. They have welcomed us into their homes, their town, their beach and have made us feel fully welcome. I’m already sad for the goodbye we have to say in a few weeks.

That I get to watch the sunset each evening (and specifically at Tanah Lot Temple where as the sunset millions of bats rose in the air to feed and dance in the air).

That I get to eat delicious, wholesome food. That I get to laugh in the community that is building here. That I sleep in a bed. The list could go on and on.

My ‘yes’ to this scary, thrilling and beautiful adventure, for the first week at least, has been a success

It’s brought me into the place of thankfulness and humility at the privileged position I am in. Now I can’t wait to turn that all back around when I figure out how best to share these new and beautiful things in the world that we live in and love.

I’ll leave you to think about what your yes might be and how you can action it into being. Seriously if I can do it, anyone can.