Saying yes to the crazy: Writing contribution by Natalyia Borener
I still remember my husband calling me from work that day in early January of 2016. He never calls from work. I knew something was up. “Hey Hun, do you have a minute to talk?”, he asked. “Sure.” I said nervously. He then told me he had been approached about a work opportunity. One that would land him in various parts of Europe for up to 6 months. Basically, the opportunity of a lifetime. The downside: his work would need an answer in the next couple days and he would be leaving within the next few weeks. We agreed to talk about it later that evening once he was home.
As we talked that evening, he told me if I wasn’t comfortable with it, he would not go. Knowing I had full veto power, I asked him one simple question: “Is this what you really want to do?” He thought about it for a second and said, “Yes.” And despite my conflicting feelings of happiness, jealousy, and shock, I said: “Then you have to do it.”
Probably more times than we even realize, we are approached with these Head vs. Heart decisions. And in most cases, we tend to go with the more logical, socially-acceptable path. We talk ourselves out the option we feel passionate about because we fear what others might think. We tell ourselves we are not worth it, or we couldn’t possibly make it work. So we say no before we say yes. We self-sabotage and don’t even know it.
It’s interesting to think back now and realize that this was not only a turning point for him in his career, but for mine too.
3 weeks later, he left on his adventure.
Some weeks went by, and I couldn’t help but feel a little tinge of jealousy when Nate would send me pictures of his weekend day trips throughout Spain. I mean, what an amazing place to be. If only I could be there too. The question then popped into my head: When else would I have a hotel room waiting for me on a beach in Europe??? And I knew the answer was probably never. So in a bold move, without even asking permission from my full-time employer first, I booked the ticket that would change my life.
I nervously boarded the plane for that overnight flight to Spain. It would be my first flight across the Atlantic, and I was doing it alone. After landing in Madrid, I had take a train ride about 3 hours south to the little town of Jerez where Nate would be picking me up. I made that 23-hour trip solo, with one small carry on, 10 Euros in my pocket, and rusty Spanish skills I haven’t used since my sophomore year in high school.
I didn’t die. I didn’t get lost or kidnapped. I made it. So when I was reunited with Nate, it was an incredible feeling of pure excitement and accomplishment.
I had this grand idea that while in Spain I wanted to go over to Morocco for a weekend. It was on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I dreamed of the marketplaces that I read about and saw on TV. Geographically, it is so close to Southern Spain you can literally see it if you are standing on the Rock of Gibraltar. I mean, how could we not go there?! So in another bold move that made me question my sanity once again, we headed toward the port and before we knew it we were on a ferry headed to Africa.
Morocco was like a whole other world. Tangier was chaotic, a completely different feel than the laid-back cities of Spain. The next morning, we found a taxi to drive us 2 hours south to Chefchaouen, a little town tucked in the Rif Mountains. It was more beautiful than the pictures. Almost breathtaking. Like a place you never could have imagined that existed. I had to pinch myself. Was this real life?
I saw so many artisans out in the alleyways making things. Carving tables, weaving rugs. I was so inspired by the work and what I saw I could hardly wrap my mind around it. Even though I had worked in Interior Design for 10 years in the US, I had never witnessed that degree of craftsmanship ever in my life.
I took in every minute the last few days I had left abroad. But inevitably, it’s like I blinked and I was on a plane, headed back to Texas. The days that passed once I was home brought new meaning and inspiration. I couldn’t shake the feeling the trip to Spain and Morocco left me with. I was telling anyone that would listen about my trip, and I kept thinking about all those handmade items. Despite being home for maybe a few days, I dreamed of flying back and starting a little shop full of treasures.
But duh, I had to bring myself back to reality: Nat, have you lost it?. How can you possibly bring all these items back? And with your full-time job, how can you go back to Morocco again?? If you want to keep your job and reputation, you should probably put these fairy tales aside and focus on what’s important.
But that brought on many questions over the next several months. What truly was important? Was my image important? How I was perceived at work? Or was my happiness and freedom more important?
Going to Spain and Morocco showed me how good it felt to say yes to something intentionally that had a deeper meaning to me.
So I decided somehow, someway, I was going to pursue the thing that lit me up inside. Going back to Morocco and purchasing a plethora of rugs seemed crazy, but I was determined to come up with a game plan. I made to do lists and began researching. Most people would have probably given up after the dead ends, feelings of self defeat, and bizzare looks I received when telling those closest to me about my new found dream.
I asked myself the hard question: “If I don’t do this, will I regret that decision?” The answer was yes and, so I knew I had to do it, no matter how insane it sounded. I again decided to say yes to the crazy. Then the hard work began.
Over the next year, I started saving a chunk out of each paycheck. I put my life into becoming more knowledgeable in all things Moroccan textiles, importing, and e-commerce. Some days I’d spend 15 minutes on it, other days a couple hours. But little by little, the dream I had labeled as “crazy” wasn’t so crazy anymore. I had figured out that not only it was possible, but it had the potential to be profitable too.
A year later (in May 2017), and I was still at the same full-time job. I was feeling less inspired with the projects I was working on, and it became harder to focus at work. I realized I was going to work everyday, putting in my time, working as hard as I could on getting things done…. but for no real purpose. I felt so directionless, unfulfilled, and drained. It was time to take the leap.
I booked a flight and a couple weeks later I left for second trip to Morocco. I ended up quitting my job and poured my heart into the creation of the shop.
It’s interesting to look back now, 7 months after that last trip to Morocco, and almost 2 years after the first trip to Spain, and see how everything fell into place. If I never did something radical or uncomfortable, I wouldn’t be where I am today. That’s a guarantee. Sure being an entrepreneur has had its share of ups and downs so far. It has not been easy at all…. But these decisions were the catalyst for change. Each time I said yes to things that I knew in my heart were right for me, I grew closer to becoming the person I have wanted to be.
And I truly can say I have been the happiest I have been in years.
When you have that little voice inside, don’t silence it. Embrace it. Own it. No matter how crazy it is. You will see that it knew what was best for you all along.
Nataliya is an interior designer turned rug slinger, and owner of Drift Home Collection, an online shop featuring unique and handcrafted home decor items. She now lives in Texas with her husband Nate & cattle dog rescue, Maci, but embraces her Midwest roots through her hard-working yet laid back personality.
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