I've always been told that you can't live without money, a job, security.
But I was never convinced of the sanity of the standard school-work-taxes-die model. All through my education and career I was more interested in starting social enterprises, raising money for mad, fairground-style guinea pig enclosures on our school farm and teaching disability dance classes - anything social that I felt had purpose.
This was great preparation for throwing all security to the wind at 29 and leaving on an open ended world trip to discover what I was capable of without a cent to my name. The choice itself was simple - making a commitment to what felt good instead of what felt like obligation.
The lead up was a little bit dramatic. I'd gotten so good at ignoring what I really wanted from life that I made myself sick - the surgery worthy kind. I'd committed 15 years to spending more than I made, owning more than I needed, talking more than I listened. I had the same partner and employer for a full decade, moving house a lot to satisfy my travel-thirsty nature.
It's funny to remember that the reason I got my first after school job was because I wanted to buy a particular brand of shampoo.
But it's not a unique story. Lifelong decisions really can be sparked by something as simple as hair washing.
As a drama and dance obsessed teenager in college I remember our teacher telling us repeatedly that acting was an unrealistic career choice, and none of us would really make a living through it. It gave me a giggle many years later while gobbling chocolate cake on the set of Game of Thrones.
It's taken me a lifetime to learn the difference between fears that belong to others and my own reality. While following my own bliss, the difference becomes much more obvious.
When I published my first book, Azure Assurances, in 2014 I knew my life had permanently changed. I knew that if I didn't fight hard for what I wanted, however unusual it seemed, no one was going to do it for me. That helped me find my voice.
The thing I most admire in every 3 year old I've ever met is their commitment to asking same question over and over - "why?"
CURIOSITY CREATES GROWTH
I believe in curiosity.
A curious state of mind opens us to not only learn about things of direct interest, but also to soak up peripheral information that we notice during moments of wonder. Monotony and boredom shift key areas of our brains into low gear, reducing our ability to see wonder in the world.
My daily reminder of this is wearing odd socks - it's a tiny speck of childlike wonder at the beginning of every day. It also saves on tedious pairing (who has the time?!)
I've come to realise that if I am spending my energy thinking about whether I'm impressing other people, it is usually because I am not impressing myself. And impressing myself just takes honesty and action.
Now I am offering my sense of adventure and discovery to the world through Project Curious, a breathtaking, one-bag global exploration of what is possible - using words to pay my way.
Follow me as I turn the world into my playground.