Article written by Sara Lindström
What if playing it safe is not the answer?
Let me tell you a story…
It was just after my 26th birthday and fall was around the corner in Sweden. I didn’t have near enough money on my bank account but I was determined to do it anyway. My heart had been shattered by a guy that didn’t seem to care, I had just graduated from uni and my future was an unwritten piece of paper.
The responsible thing to do would have been to stay at that solid job I had acquired for the summer, work for a few more months and leave with a lot more money saved up to play it safe. But driven by heartache and impatience I said “F*ck it, now or never”, and booked a one way ticket to Peru.
I didn’t have much of plan, all I knew was that I wanted to see Latin America, learn Spanish, take pretty pictures, meet people and then spend the summer road tripping, hiking and climbing my way through western United States and eventually Canada. Ideally I’d make it all the way to Alaska. I had about one year to accomplish this dream before returning to Sweden to settle, grow up and get serious.
It turned out someone had different plans for me.
Half way through that trip I stopped for a moment, trying to take it all in. I realized I was vibrating with so much happiness, waking up almost every morning with butterflies in my belly feeling that the universe so fully had my back that I made the promise to myself there and then; I was gonna keep living this life for as long as it made me feel this happy.
I looked at my shoes, they were dirty and had big holes in them. I was definitely experiencing financial constraints but I was breathing, eating healthy amazing food, I was learning and growing every day, I kept meeting wonderful people from all over the world, and got to experience the amazing hospitality from the local people of all the places I traveled. It was so humbling and every night I fell asleep high on gratitude. I was also getting more and more passionate about photography as I used my camera every day to try to capture all the beauty along my path.
My plan of returning home and look for a job rapidly started to fade away. For the first time in my life I wholeheartedly let go of the expectations placed on me by other people and society, and with that, doors I didn’t know existed started to open.
Merely one year later I was offered the job of my wildest dreams – hired by a large travel company to go capture the charm and beauty of destinations all over the globe, while being paid the kind of money that made the poor backpacker in me cry sweet tears of happiness.
Fast forward to today I still do photography for a living, although my passion has moved more in the direction of helping others see and capture beauty everywhere. I create and lead retreat style gatherings and photography workshops in the untamed landscapes of my native arctic Sweden, for women with a longing for serenity, sisterhood and a reconnection to their inner wild core. It’s a path I could never have imagined when I took that leap of faith 10 years ago, but I could not feel more in alignment. I truly love my life.
I’m not sharing all this with you to brag, but rather to encourage you that you don’t always have to play it safe, or need fancy qualifications to be successful. My own journey has taught me that with a sweet blend of passion, courage and faith, you can have pretty much whatever you desire.
So whatever you dream of in life I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there, take the leap, explore and trust that your wise heart always knows the way. Cause seriously, it does.
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Born and bred in the woods of Swedish Lapland, Sara Lindström is a travel & outdoor lifestyle photographer passionate about mountains and adventures in wild and remote terrain.