Step away from your comfort zone …

A young male in his early twenties recently confided to me how much he yearns to travel to the other side of the world. While he has some sketchy plans for 2015, he’s wary of what may happen if he steps too far from his comfort zone.


I had no idea what such a concept even was at that age. Actually, looking back, there was little that could be described as ‘comfortable’ during that period of my life. I’d married, divorced and re-married (!), completed my Registered General Nurse training, was living in married quarters in Bundë, West Germany, in a third floor flat, with a husband in the forces generously sharing extremely unpredictable mood swings, pregnant with my younger daughter, and  blessed with a beautiful and very adaptable five-year old.

You’ll be getting the picture that I’m no stranger to seizing the day and taking life by the bootstraps – in fact change could be my middle name!

Fast forward over 30 years and I can now recognise a comfort zone when I see one, along with its benefits and drawbacks. Life is short. When I die, I have no desire to be thankful I spent years living a ‘safe’ life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love temporary comfort zones – but I personally choose NOT to stay in them for long. I’m aware of the challenges of leaving them if I waver, hesitate and wait for the ‘right’ time and circumstances to come along. I have years of mostly fine-tuned practice in plucking up the courage to do scary things.

Leaving Birmingham

Nothing scary about this bit of course. Sad though, as yesterday we said goodbye to Kim and Sean, who’d been on board for a couple of nights.

We’ve moored in Birmingham in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013 – the second city with more miles of canals than Venice.  And a place I know well as it’s my old ‘home’ town (well, The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield a few miles away actually).

Sean, Kim and Barry by the New library Birmingham

Sean, Kim and Barry by the New library Birmingham

Topping up with water this morning after mooring next to the NIA

Topping up with water this morning after mooring next to the NIA

Descending the 13 Farmers Bridge Locks

Descending the 13 Farmers Bridge Locks

Hoping to receive our 'Saturday wage' tomorrow!

Hoping to receive our ‘Saturday wage’ tomorrow!

A little nervous about tomorrow

Tomorrow we’re doing our first ever trading event at The Spring Market.

It’s taken three and a half years of extensive dreaming and planning to get to this point. So we won’t consider ourselves an ‘overnight success’, even if/when it all goes wonderfully well!

During the past twelve months or so, we’ve relocated from New Zealand, travelled the canals of the midlands and north west, spent quality time with my family, had loads of fun times with friends on board, Barry’s been back to NZ for 10 weeks to apply for the first stage of his UK residency visa, we mooched around the marina over winter enjoying frequent visits to my eldest daughter and grandson, and we’ve done the ground-work of setting up some of our future income streams.

We’ve spent an inordinate (and frightening) amount of our savings to get The Home Brew Boat set up, and my face painting training and resources together. We know the time has now arrived to turn the tide so the waves (money) wash up on the shore for us to bank, rather than drifting out into the vast ocean.

And here we are! All ship-shape and raring to go – though also rather nervous about our first trading event. We’re stepping well out of our comfort zone.

Yes, it’s scary not following the crowd, choosing to dare to be different, leaving what you know and taking risks.

But we would’t have it any other way.

Colourful mural opposite The Bond

Colourful mural opposite The Bond

Our mooring spot at The Bond, Digbeth, Bimringham

Our mooring & trading spot at The Bond, Digbeth, Birmingham

Practicing a spot of face painting in readiness ...

Practicing a spot of face painting in readiness …

Handpicked with ‘The Book Barge’

We hadn’t appreciated until this evening that were one of just two ‘hand-picked’ narrowboats trading tomorrow.

We’re honoured to be trading alongside Sarah Henshaw and The Book Barge – and she’s recently published a book called ‘The Book Shop That Floated  Away‘ which of course will be on sale tomorrow. Andy Tidy, aka Captain Ahab, has read and given the book a rave review in his latest blog so do check it out.

We may just buy a copy ourselves.

Wish us luck! We’ll let you know how we get on as soon as possible after the event …

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