When Freya Stark was a young girl, she was given a copy of the book Arabian Nights. She devoured it—and wanted more. Books became her portal into the wild, thrilling world outside of her bedroom. As she grew older, she developed an intense desire to travel. She yearned to explore every corner of the earth, especially the Middle East…
There was just one problem.
OK, six problems.
- She had numerous health issues,
- She had no formal education,
- Her face had been disfigured in a horrific accident,
- Her parents’ marriage was in shambles,
- She was born in 1893, and of course, let’s not forget…
- She was a woman.
And women like Freya simply don’t trek into the Arabian wilderness, now do they?
But that is exactly what she did.
Over the course of her extraordinary life, Freya trekked across parts of the Middle East that no Westerner had ever visited before. She explored deserts and valleys in Arabia. She served in the British Ministry of Information during World War II. She wrote over 24 books chronicling her adventures and received several awards from the Royal Geographical Society. She lived to be 100 years old.
(Side note: can you say #Shero + #GirlPower + #LadyBoss to the max? I am so inspired by this woman’s story, I can barely stand it. Cue the Amazon ordering frenzy—I need all of Freya’s memoirs asap.)
Just for a moment… take yourself right into Freya’s story. Imagine that you are 34 years old. There’s a ship sailing to the faraway city of Beirut—and you’ve got a ticket to ride. You’re standing on the dock, staring at the boat. This is IT: your chance to finally visit the East, to change your destiny forever, like you’ve always dreamed of doing.
Can you imagine what Freya must have been thinking and feeling at that exact moment? Can you imagine all of the anxieties that surely must have been running through her mind? All of the “reasons” to cancel or postpone this wild, crazy trip? All of the “reasons” to go home instead of getting on that ship?
And yet, despite everything, Freya found the courage to get on that boat.
Because of that one decision, that one moment of courage, that one moment of “HELL FUCKING YES!” instead of “oh, maybe later,” Freya’s life—and history—would never be the same.
Women like Freya remind us to ask ourselves,
What is my ‘boat’—and what is stopping me from getting on it?
Are you dreaming about graduate school? Entrepreneurship? A new relationship? A new career? A fabulous, soul-exploding journey around the world? A sabbatical so you can finish your book? Leading a workshop for the first time in your life?
What is the boat that you want to board? What is your ship of dreams?
Have you been waiting on the dock, staring at that boat, coming up with reason after reason NOT to get on it… for months, maybe years? Your entire life?
Aren’t you getting tired of waiting?
There will always be one million reasons NOT to get on that boat—and you could easily come up with two million more. Your brain is so good at inventing reasons not to act, not to stretch, not to move.
But this is your life. The only one you’ve got. It’s time to stop stalling on the dock.
Do it to challenge your courage-muscles.
Do it to set a bold example for other women and girls.
Do it in honor of Freya or the Shero of your choosing.
Do it, most of all, for yourself. For your happiness. For your life.
Sister-friend, it’s time. It’s been time for a long time. Even though you are scared, even though conditions are not “perfect” (they never will be), even though one thousand excuses are gripping you, tightly, even though it’s uncomfortable, even though nobody “gets” it except you, despite everything, you just know…
It’s time to get on that boat.
P.S. It would have been Freya’s 123rd birthday today. Which is perfect timing, because… if you’ve ever yearned to visit France (Freya’s birthplace), I am leading a retreat later year that you will not want to miss. Sept 3 to Sept 10, 2016. Eight women. A villa in Provence (the south of France). Amazing meals, amazing women, amazing conversations and life-changing experiences, including a hot air balloon over fields of lavender and guided excursions to see some of the greatest works of art ever created… girlfriend, if this trip is calling to you, do not miss the boat. Book your spot with a deposit of $699 right here.
Any questions about this experience? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you out with absolutely anything, concierge-style.
I’ll leave you with these inspiring words:
“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark