I grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in Denver, CO.
Until my parents divorced when I was sixteen, I had one of the most consistent and stable childhoods you can imagine. My family ate dinner at the kitchen table together nearly every night. We went to church every Sunday. I went to two schools in my entire childhood. My mom still lives in the home she brought me to when I came home from the hospital.
I think as a way of balancing out the consistency of my childhood, I became a big dreamer and adventurer, always looking for the next great exploration. I spent my late teens and early 20s living all over the world. I camped in the outback of Australia, basked in the history and energy of London and served as a career and job counselor in post-Apartheid South Africa. At 23, I returned to Denver, planning to only stay a few months. I fell in love and stayed three years.
As soon as the relationship ended, I ventured to Washington, D.C. for a job I was passionate about. I stayed six years and traveled worldwide for work: doing relief work in Haiti after the earthquake, meeting with government officials from all over the world and having the odd brush with celebrities. Oh, and in the middle of all that, I completed my masters degree in one city while living in another over 1,500 miles away (yes I had a lot of frequent flyer miles).
A year ago, I quit my job in D.C. and decided to go after different dreams than the professional ones I had spent 10 years pursuing. Since then, I’ve followed one simple statement: “Go to and do what your heart wants.” I’ve had grand adventures all over the U.S.: road trips; helping friends and family in need; and allowing myself to dream big. I’ve been a true wanderlust. Life has been great; life has been grand. All this is to say staying put hasn’t really been my thing; seeking what’s around the corner has been.
Then six weeks ago while having a conversation with a dear friend and a stranger, my friend said, “Oh, don’t worry about Becky. She’s lived in like five states in the last year.”
In my head I thought, Wow! That sounds really bad. That’s not true. That’s a lie.
But later I thought about it and here’s the thing… It was the truth. In the last year I’d lived in Texas, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Virginia. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was no longer adventuring, I was running.
I was unable to stay put because staying put is exactly what scared me the most and made me the most vulnerable.
As I reflected, suddenly living my biggest, boldest, bravest life wasn’t about the next country or the next thrill. It was about being my most vulnerable, my most raw, which meant facing my fears and going home—because being brave isn’t always about bungee jumping, backpacking across Europe or surviving the concrete jungle of New York City.
Bravery is about being vulnerable—whether it’s while sky diving or exposing your greatest fears to your friends and family (and in this case to thousands of people through this article).
So now I’m preparing for one last move, to Colorado, to what is perhaps my greatest adventure; the adventure of home, of quiet nights spent with my siblings and their children, of lifelong friendships, of visiting my grandmother as often as I can and of stability. Because sometimes the bravest thing we can do is sit, stay, be vulnerable and see what great things flourish.
Author: Rebecca Harris
Editor: Evan Yerburgh