Facing Fears

Some of the surprising elements of our Live Without Working Experiment were the fears that were faced and overcome.

I think that living every day out of our comfort zone forced us to face many things about ourselves that we had been avoiding.

One of the things I was afraid of since young was spiders, with a cautious fascination with snakes.

The first two weeks of our LWW Experiment meant that I was faced head on with these things.


For one, EVERYWHERE in a Canadian garden, are garden spiders. You know, those ones that carry their white ball of eggs everywhere they go.

Although these spiders aren’t of the hand-size variety that makes my skin not just crawl but leap from my body;  they tick the ‘hairy’ box, which is the second category of spiders that I just had a major issue with.

However, being faced with these critters every day on a regular basis; I soon learned to accept them for who they were, understand that they aren’t out to get me, as I had always believed; and that they were part of nature and so was I. This made us part of the ‘one’  that is the very universe.

Further, if we were to WWOOF for many many months ahead; I realised that if I had not gotten over this issue that had been haunting and taunting me my entire life, then I would be in for a very hairy (pardon the pun) and uncomfortable time sitting in my fear circle at all the WWOOFing places that were to come. Plus I would constantly be embarrassing myself, squealing like a little girl every hour.

So I made peace. And I have to say, it was much easier than I thought it would be. I suppose actually facing your fears can truly be as easy as they say.

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On the snake end: Canada has snakes, however they are not deadly. This allowed me to feed my cautious curiosity for them and appreciate them without being afraid of being bitten. Soon enough they became quite lovely companions to discover in the garden. Snakes in the grass weren’t as bad as people make out!

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One of the many garden snakes that became my friend

The Ocean

Another fear I faced was of the ocean. I had this weirdness about water that I cannot see the bottom of. I mean, what the heck is down there? And if I can’t see it, there must be a LOT of creepy, world threatening creatures, right? I was faced with this when we went on a four day canoeing trip. Being so close to the water and not seeing the bottom was good for me. For one, I was distracted by the calmness of being on the water. For two, like the spiders, I got used to not knowing what is down there and relaxed with it. Another fear faced and semi-conquered! Yay!

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I never had a fear of change, really, so that was not one of my fears to face. A fear of heights though – yes. Later in our journey I learned that my fear of heights was not one that I would overcome this time, but one that BF would. Or perhaps it was the opposite for him. Due to his experience, he actually BECAME afraid of heights. More so than he was before, at least; through his attraction to jumping off cliffs. More on that later, as that is a story in itself.

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BF assessing whether it would be ‘safe’ to jump from such a height!

Money / Responsibilities

Another fear I faced was around money. I had some significant debts in Australia before I even went to Canada; and these ‘should’ have stopped me from taking on this Live Without Working experiment.  After all, if I would not be working / earning money; I would not be able to meet the repayments.

I don’t think my mother was too pleased when I gave up my job in Canada to start this experiment, for a couple of reasons: 1) due to the economy, people were losing jobs and jobs were harder to find – and here I was giving mine up!; and 2) mum did not understand that I could be so irresponsible by doing this experiment whilst I had debts – responsibilities.

I think she struggled to let that one go, but after realising how much fun I was having, living my dream, she had no choice in the end but to be happy for me. At least, she made out she was!

When I made the decision to start the Living Without Work Experiment, it was after I had learned about ‘payment holidays’ that banks/financial institutions offer. So by applying for payment holidays, I was able to be free of my debts and expenses for a while; and travel without the weight of those debts on my backs. What freedom!

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I think that doing this experiment EVEN THOUGH I had large debts in Australia, should inspire people that they can’t even use THAT as an excuse.

I remember meeting people who would say things like, “I wish I could do that”. When I asked them why they couldn’t, they’d answer, “I can’t, I have a house”. My response would be , “you could sell or rent out the house”. They would not know what to do with that and have no answer for me. I think they had already made up their mind that they could not do something so rash, so bold. Me? I felt like my life depended on me doing this very thing.


That saying is very true: “everything we want is outside of our comfort zone”. I just did not realise this would include conquering my fears!

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