Taking the Leap

By Carmen Schaffer, Founder, Viva la Vida Travel

There comes a time in our lives when find ourselves continually running into brick walls. We have lost ourselves in our art of survival; we are running on fumes, scraping the bottom of our emotional barrel in hopes of getting through it all. We have defined ourselves by our titles of mother, father, wife, lawyer, daughter etc. all the while our core has been left unattended. Consequently, we tend to suffer the sometimes isolating definition of the titles we have taken on over the years.

A while back, I began to realize that my husband was indeed struggling with the titles that he’d take on: supervisor, bread- winner, father, and husband. I saw his core self disappear over time. I saw the titles of life define him and as the course of life happened, we grew further and further apart. It’s not enough for a person to just assume the titles of dad, bread-winner or husband and neglect oneself. It simply is not enough to live a happy life. We must pay attention to ourselves in order to be fully present for others.

My husband is not the most outgoing guy; as a matter of fact he’s an introvert. He had never traveled internationally by himself before. At his core, as a young man, he was an adventurer. Hiking, climbing, and risk- taking was at the foundation of the experiences he pursued. Those same passions still existed within him but had been dormant for years. Those attributes of who he was before he became all of the titles still moved him. They still excited him; however, he just didn’t allow himself the space to pursue them. He was too busy fulfilling his roles and in turn, forgot about his own needs. I believe this is a common occurrence amongst both men and women.

As a I got to thinking about what I could do to “help” my husband get out of the funk he was facing, I decided that I’d present the idea of traveling to him. I said to him, “Look through this catalog, point to what speaks to you, and go do it.” I coined it a “get the funk out “ trip.

A couple of months later, my husband went to Ecuador. His trip included flying to Quito alone and meeting up with other solo travelers who were to be on the same adventure trip. As I dropped him off at the airport, I felt a couple of emotions: anxiety, as a mother would feel sending her son off to college; relief, finally a break from the not- so -happy “titled” man he’d become and lastly, hope. Hope that he’d find his spark again and get back to the much-neglected version of himself.

While he was away, I saw via the magic that is Facebook , photos of a man I had not seen in a long time. I saw life in him as he posted the pictures of the glaciers he’d climbed with his new friends from around the globe, I watched as he challenged himself to try new things, eager to dive into the same young man who was always up for doing something new. The couple of times we talked on the phone, I heard a different person. I heard an independent, confident, and self-assured man. There came a time in his trip where he was presented with doing a 300 foot bridge jump ~ harnessed of course but never the less, a gigantic leap off of a very high bridge. At first glance he told me of his desire to jump off of the bridge but his reluctance and uncertainty about age, risk, injury and fear held him back. He drove over that bridge several times while in Banos, Ecuador. When I spoke to him again, he said,” The bridge had become a metaphor for the things in life I didn’t want to do or face but had to do.” The next afternoon, he’d jumped off of that bridge.

He returned home from Ecuador different, more alive, more connected to himself. He still had his titles but he’d rediscovered himself. It was evident in how he carried himself and how he spoke.

What’s the significance of all of this?

The significance is this: we cannot continually neglect our passions, our callings or ourselves without suffering some sort of consequences. Sometimes it takes taking a leap of faith into something new to recharge our batteries. Sometimes it takes getting a little uncomfortable to get ourselves back, to see what we are made of, to see just how wonderful and enough we truly are.

If you’ve found yourself in a rut, consumed with trying to fill the many roles of your life and have neglected yourself for far too long, then I want you to join me on a journey.

Viva la Vida Travel, that’s me, will be taking a small group of eager- to -soar travelers to Peru in the summer of 2o16. I am going on this journey and I want you to join me. There is no need to have a travel partner because you’ll will meet others who are in similar situations who are ready to be inspired, renewed and invigorated .

Viva la Vida Travel is not your average travel agency. I believe in the power of travel as a catalyst for change. I understand the human spirit and want to be able to provide experiences that create happier humans. I want you to join me in Peru. Take the leap into and out of yourself and watch the magic unfold.

Check out the trip on my website under the tour tab at :

As the saying goes, “ A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take the first step. . . I’ll be waiting for you.

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Travel Ambassador at Viva la Vida Travel
I am a mother of two boys, an owner of one dog and two cats. I am feverishly passionate about all things related to travel. Inspiring others inspires me.
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