HEART TALK: What My Journey To Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Taught Me About Conquering Fear

Neuschwanstein Castle looks like it would be nestled in the pages of a storybook but, luckily for us, it’s actually nestled in the cliffs of the Bavarian Alps, just an hour south of Munich, making it an easy-to-get-to, must-see destination for travelers all over the world!

FUN FACT: Neuschwanstein Castle was Walt Disney’s inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Whitney and I chose to make this the last stop on our Central European road trip as Munich was the most realistic city to fly out of to get back to London, which is where we were flying back to America from. In case you missed it, this road trip began in Budapest. We flew there on New Years’ Day after ringing in the New Year in London. We also stopped in Lake Bled, Slovenia and Salzburg, Austria before heading to Schwangau, the municipality where Neuschwanstein Castle is located. This was most certainly the destination I was looking forward to the most as it’s been on my travel lust list for a few years now and Instagram, knowing my thoughts the way it does, would feature photos of it pretty frequently on my discover page, only fueling my desire to see it for myself. Why does Instagram have to be so weird & creepy? But, I digress.

Prior to arriving at Schwangau, our trip had been pretty much a breeze …. for the most part.

I mean … we MAY have struggled to get out the door on New Years’ Day to catch our flight to Budapest due to one too many glasses of champagne in London the night before, which then … may or may not have caused us to have to RUN through the Stansted airport … only to find the boarding process hadn’t even started. * face palm * Honestly, I’m proud of us because we technically got an intense cardio workout in before noon. I don’t think there are many people who could have said the same. Y’all … I’m out of breathe thinking about that morning right now because it was QUITE the feat! If you are familiar with how far gates are from the security exit in European airports … usually about a 20-25 minute walk … you know what I’m talking about!

And, we may have had a minor hiccup when we crossed were crossing the border into Austria from Slovenia. The Slovenian authorities pointed out that we had [inadvertently] been driving around without a Slovenian driver’s tag that we were supposed to know needed to be purchased in any petrol station along the highway! Whoops. To our defense, there were no signs that indicated this to us … in English, at least. [I’ll talk more about this in my Lake Bled, Slovenia post .. coming soon!]

The biggest concern we had about our trip was how short it was compared the number of places we were trying to squeeze into it. We left on January 1st and drove back up to Munich on the evening of January 7th. So, we essentially had SIX days to cover FOUR places. When you plan a trip that way, you really put a lot of pressure on the days that you have being absolutely PERFECT, sans hiccups. If they aren’t, it could botch either your drive getting from one place to another OR your ability to see one of the destinations on your itinerary. So, clearly … Whitney and I were willing to take the risk but we were very nervous the whole time. So, thankfully, aside from these two things, everything had been a breeze up until this point!

Whit and I set out from Salzburg, Austria on a crisp Saturday morning and enjoyed the most beautiful three hour drive, weaving in and out of Austria and Germany until finally arriving in Schwangau. I can’t really explain how beautiful the Bavarian Alps were as we drove down the main road before taking the turn into the town so here, let me just show you:

bavaria, germany, neuschwanstein castle, neuschwanstein

Upon arriving into Schwangau, it’s hard to miss the crowds of people in this small area who have ventured from all over the world to see this castle. It was honestly so many more people than I expected! I tried to put that out of my head, as I’ve never been much of a crowd person, and focused on getting the car parked and us checked in to Hotel Müller. We took a quick liking to our hotel as it was perfectly situated across the street from the start of the path that leads up to the Neuschwanstein Castle giving us the perfect starting point for the next morning.

We got the run down from the hotel receptionist, Graham, about what to keep in mind, what path to take and which paths are closed.

“Closed? Wait, some paths are closed?”, I asked.

“Yes, the path to the Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge, is closed for safety and annual repairs.” Graham replied.

* cue heart sinking feeling *

That’s exactly why we had come … to see this place from some of the best far reaching vantage points and they’re closed? We didn’t necessarily want to tour the inside. This was simply a day trip to check off a bucket list destination. I guess we didn’t take into account that it’s located on a hill in the mountains … and it’s Winter so, I’m sure the snow and ice doesn’t make that a safe venture.

We were bummed but, being that there wasn’t any snow in the forecast, and the leftover snow from the last storm was almost completely melted, we decided to set out early the next morning anyway to see if – by some chance – the path would be open.

Whitney and I got up before the sun, got ready and headed out on the path. Graham told us we had about a 20-minute walk up and that, at this point in the Winter, cars and buses were not allowed up the path, so we got to stepping. We shortly realized that Graham is a terrible judge of time because it was certainly taking longer than 20-minutes and we were really starting to feel our calves burn.

We see a car coming and Whitney & I both look at each other and IMMEDIATELY put our thumbs out to see if we could get a ride up the rest of the way.

Right.

I realize this decision is questionable … however, there’s only one way up and one way down, and there’s nothing beyond the castle so we figured it was just castle staff.

Thankfully … we were right, ha!

A German woman was driving a French man to work at the castle. They spoke no English.

We thanked them [Danke Schön, in German] and said our goodbyes, then looked around for what was next. We walked around to the entrance of the castle, which was under construction and still closed because I don’t even think it was 7:30AM at this point.

We walked back around the castle [you can only walk along one side of it] and saw a man raising some flags but, after he was done, it was completely empty. Just Whitney, myself and a large gate with barbed wire around it directly in front of us.

I started to feel a pit form in my stomach.

A lot of y’all know that I just celebrated my 32nd birthday.

But, what a lot of y’all may NOT know is that I’m on a bit of a self-discovery journey right now. Last year, I took a personality test that has given more insight into why I do the things that I do than I could have ever expected a personality test to display. If you’re interested, it’s called the Enneagram [the free test is HERE; I got the same score on both the paid and free versions] and the test indicates which personality style, out of nine personality types, you operate out of predominately, although we all have a little bit of each number in us.

What I’ve enjoyed so much about this personality typing system is that it’s simple and easy to understand and, it essentially explains the motivation behind my behavior. Personalities are complex so, obviously, I can’t put full faith in it explaining everything about me but … it is pretty accurate – from what I’ve read and listened to on podcasts – about so many aspects of who I am and how I operate on a daily basis. My type is number 9, ‘The Peacemaker’.

When I first read that title, I was like ‘what? is that really my type?’ It’s not that I thought I wasn’t peaceful but I guess I just didn’t think I was someone who was always out to help people get along with each other better.

But, the more I read about this type … the more I could see it being pretty accurate of me as a human being.

In short, the Peacemaker is someone who strives for internal peace and connection with others. According to ‘The Road Back To You’, a book about the Enneagram by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, we are typically very laid back and easy going, able to go with the flow, and adaptable. We are quick to love and slow to judge, and rarely want recognition for how they care for others. We are the least controlling number of the Enneagram and allow people the space to grow in their own time and way. However, just like any other number, 9’s have their share of struggles. They are often easily distracted and, thus, can lose sight of the big picture and the ability to assign priorities to tasks. Everything is important to them. They also numb themselves when they are feeling overwhelmed and, therefore, have trouble getting started on tasks. Nine’s have the ability to see things from all sides and, therefore, have a difficult time making decisions because they want to do everything.

I let all of this sink in and, honestly, it made me feel a little annoyed with myself. So many of the negative sides of Nine’s were the very things that frustrate me so much about myself. It’s honestly why my blog posts never consistently go up at the same time every day, especially now that they’re not just outfit posts, which are fairly simple and easy to put together. We also can’t forget about the whole Chips situation I have going on at home, as well, guys, ha! He can be a consistent source of distraction from the overall big picture which, as I mentioned, really hurts 9’s ability to get things done. But .. one thing that bothers me, in particular, is how the Nine can operate out of fear a lot.

These are thoughts I think in my head all the time:

• I don’t want to say what I think about this because I’m afraid of offending this person.

See, trying to keep the peace which is of utmost importance.

• I don’t want to suggest we do that because I’m afraid I’ll make them feel like they have to say yes to something I want to do.

Nine’s also feel like they don’t matter and that their voice or opinion holds no value. Sad, right?

• I don’t want to say yes to this because I’m afraid of getting in trouble but I also really want to.

Ambivalence is a huge characteristic of nine’s. They often can’t distinguish whether they want to obey or defy, agree or disagree, etc. 

And, now, here I am faced with this huge metal barrier between myself and the view I ventured half way around the world to see!

Whitney is next to me inquiring ‘okay Hay, what do you want to do? I’m ready to hop it if you are.

Fear and ambivalence has completely come over me and I really hate that I’m the one that has to decide what to do. Whitney has already made her decision. So, it’s up to me.

Whitney knows what these situations do to me – not that we’re faced with whether or not to trespass and break German laws very often but, you know what I mean – and how hard it is for me to dig down deep, think clearly and then say what I WANT to do but … she doesn’t help me here. She lets me sit with the risk that I’m weighing in my mind. Half of me wants to take the risk and half of me wants to walk away from it.

But …. in the end …. more of me wanted to take the risk … more of me wants to defy my fear. I came too far to be told no. It was a risk I was willing to take.

So, we scaled a barbed wire fence, which wasn’t so easy, but what path to see your dreams through ever is? We had to kind of go OFF the cliffside while holding on to the steel frame, trying to not let the barbs catch our big winter coats, and then duck through a fence to get to the other side of the path. It was interesting.

We start up another steep path and hop a couple more barriers and finally make it to the suspension bridge.

* Cue more fear *

This bridge is …. S C A R Y.

It’s old and you can tell. It was built in the late 1800’s and was supposedly restored in the 1980’s and in 2016 but … I mean, look at this:

And I wish I could show you how far up you are. I’m not particularly afraid of heights but this bridge instilled so much fear in both Whitney and myself … we would ONLY step on the outside plank because we felt like those SURELY had to be the most secure, ha! We were such babies!

But …. we did it.

We went out there and got to enjoy this …. the dream view:

Could we have gotten in a lot of trouble had we gotten caught? Maybe.

Honestly, we won’t ever know because we didn’t get caught. We got to stand there, despite all of the fear we had individually felt along the way, and enjoy the majesty of this beautiful castle … in absolute peace.

It was quiet. No one was there but us. It was such a dream come true.

And, in that moment, I thought …

“That’s what fear does, doesn’t it? It all too often tries to rob us of these beautiful dreams that we have for our lives, that we see for ourselves.”

And we simply can’t let it.

We don’t realize this enough … that we have more power over our dreams than we give ourselves credit for.

Will it mean taking risks?

A lot of times, yes.

Will it mean being uncomfortable?

Most likely, yes.

Will it mean thinking outside of the rules laid out in front of us?

Sometimes, yes.

Rules and guidelines are there for a reason. They are meant to protect us and keep us safe, and they should absolutely be respected and considered when making these decisions but they shouldn’t dictate whether we are able to live the life we have imagined for ourselves.

Sometimes living the life you have dreamt for yourself might look reckless to others and it might seem daunting to you but … the moment you get to sit back and enjoy the majesty of a dream seen through gives you so much peace. It’s so satisfying because you know what you had to go through to get there. And you can’t let the uneasy thoughts and the fear of what the path will look like for you to achieve your dream steer you away from trying.

Believe me, I totally understand that it’s easier said than done sometimes because, while I was able to tackle this fear and come out on the other side of the risks I took to see this dream through, there are so many others than I keep tucked away and I do nothing about because I’m scared. The path is uncertain.

So, here’s where we get to talking … the talk part of Heart Talks 😉

At the end of each Heart Talks post, after I’m done sharing my heart, I’m going to pose a question and I’d love it if you could participate in answering it by commenting your answer in the comment section below because, more than anything, I hope these posts give you some kind of comfort, encouragement, inspiration, etc. to go and live your best life or identify an area or idea you need to sit with, work toward and / or plan out. Sometimes all we need is for someone to be in our corner and encourage us or tell us we can do it or that it’s going to be okay so, why don’t we be that for each other within these posts?

The question for this post is …

What do you want out of life that you are afraid to see through and why?

I’ll start.

I would love to live in London, more than anything. I experience an overwhelming feeling of ‘I’m home’ when I arrive and a heavy feeling of sadness when I have to leave again. I’ve never felt that way about a place and I don’t even really have a huge group of friends or family there. So many of you reach out when I’m there stating how I seem so much more alive in London and it always brings me to tears because the desire to be there is so strong.

I think I try and put the fire out a bit at the thought of going after a Visa because

1. The one I was told that I need, the Investor Visa, is VERY expensive and requires me to hire two people full-time in the U.K.

2. It’s really expensive to live in London and, on top of paying my employees and investors back, I’m not sure I’d be doing very well from a business perspective to pay for a flat and potentially office space for my employees to work.

3. My audience is 95% American and, due to extremely high import taxes, my job as a style blogger that still honored and purchased from retailers that Americans can easily buy from and receive free shipping &  returns would be very challenging and very expensive. I know this first hand 🙂 When I lived in London, it was SO expensive to ship things from Nordstrom or Shopbop or Revolve. There was also a HUGE lag time in getting product from the States to my doorstep in London and if I didn’t happen to be home for a delivery … well, that was just a mess. Then, half the time, everything I had purchased was sold out so … yeah, I think I just doubt that I would do my job well from over there

4. Let’s be real … Fish & Chips would need a GARDEN. I’m not running up and down five flights of stairs like I did in Earl’s Court with TWO dogs … no way. I can only imagine how hard THAT kind of flat is to find.

5. This one is hard for me to admit but, I think it has to be true if I’m not going after this. So, here we go …. I often doubt that God has anything better in store for me over there or that He could present a completely different way of sharing my life with the world that could also generate an income for myself and my business from the U.K. It’s hard for me to see that He could potentially have more in store for me and my business than style blogging. I’m not sure if that makes sense but I guess it could be easily explained this way …

I’ve had friends, who know my deep love for London and know I’m actively resisting my dream to live there, say ‘but Hales, what if He has more in store for Sequins & Things than just sharing your outfits … what if there’s MORE? Don’t you want to see why he’s put this desire in your heart?’

And I do. But …. I’m scared.

To the point that I’m crying right now writing this haha … gosh. I’m so crazy. Maybe there’s hope for this dream. Maybe I haven’t talked to the right immigration lawyer yet. We shall see. I’m going to try to have lunch with one or at least have a phone conference with one before I start traveling again on April 19th.

I’ve said it so I’ll need y’all to hold me accountable, okay? 🙂

ANYWAY! I hope this comforts you in knowing that you’re not alone if you’re scared of how big your dreams are. Our dreams should be SO big that they scare us … but we can’t let that fear win.

One last thing, this quote came to mind while I was writing this and I wanted to share because it’s a good reminder:

“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”

There are going to be people out there that try and do this. Don’t let them in. Surround yourself with people who want you to live out the life you have dreamed up for yourself! Encourage them to hold you accountable and to keep praying for direction and discernment. You got this! I can’t wait to hear all about your dreams!

“No one was ever remembered for playing it safe.” – James Cameron

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.” – John F. Kennedy

“Fear tricks us into living a boring life.” – Donald Miller

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” – Maya Mendoza

Thanks for stopping by, guys! xo.

SHOP THE POST

thoughts?

44 Comments

  1. Jude wrote:

    I was right there at the castle in the fall of 2016. Thankfully we didn’t have to climb a fence as, it was all open. I have done a lot of traveling over the years. One thing to keep in mind is pace yourself. There is time at your young age to see nearly everything you dream. London has changed in my opinion and not as great as it once was. I love Italy but all of Europe is changing. We are off to Portugal next month and Puglia area of Italy in Sept. It is one part of Italy we have yet to see. We have been to Italy countless times We stay a month or so at a time. As much as I love living overseas….there still is no place like the USA and yes I live in Florida too. If you talk to those who live overseas, they all dream of coming here

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Jude!

      I think everything changes as time goes on and, yeah, not always for the better. I think Europe is certainly changing a lot due to social media. There are so many accounts that glamorize locations and shed light on places that people maybe once never considered visiting. I see both sides of the coin. That’s a huge aim for me covering travel. I want people to get out there and see the world. What better way to build compassion for other people and other cultures? Travel teaches you SO much. But, it does make traveling to some places much more crowded and less enjoyable. I’m sure exactly how you think Europe is changing but that is how I see things being different.

      You are right. There is time to see it all. I think when you first begin traveling, you are so hungry to check places off your list but I am learning that it’s better to spend longer amounts of time in one place, and experiencing A LOT in that one place, instead of checking off multiple places in a short amount of time.

      I’ve heard Puglia is lovely. A few of my friends went there, separately, on holiday last year and came back raving about it. I’ll be heading to Portugal in June and can’t wait. What cities are you visiting? I’ve been wanting to go for a few years now so I’m really looking forward to it and we’re there for a week and only going to two cities so it’ll be nice to not be rushing so much 🙂

      Also, my travels have definitely shed light on how much Europeans want to be in America. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way who have made mention of that. I love how our hearts, no matter where we’re from, yearn to be somewhere else …. even if later on we realize where we are from is better, for whatever reason. I think it’s important to still figure that out for yourself through experience 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Means a lot! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  2. I love this post! London was never on my list of places to go to but thanks to you and all your wonderful posts about it, it has now been added! I agree with your reasonings on why it would be difficult to live there for now. Perhaps later on down the road it would work itself out? Maybe for now you are meant to do S&T here in the States and then another opportunity of different work could send you over there full time. I basically have 3 dreams. One I don’t want to say yet as I don’t want the idea to be taken away from me (I have yet to find anyone who does this, which is why I wanted to do it plus it’s something I really love). The second is to further my blog. Easier said than done as I have some roadblocks to get past first with it. And my third which I know I can definitely make happen is opening my own clothing store by me that sells women and mens clothing. Specifically the type of men’s clothing I want to do (think of rugged outdoor jobs) is what we don’t have near me and I know it would be a hit. On top of all those dreams, I still work full time right now (at a job I hate), and planning my wedding. So I literally feel like I have no time but we’ll see if I can squeeze in something soon to get the ball rolling. Thank you so much for sharing!!! xoxo

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Michelle! Wow, so many great dreams! I can see how working at your job and planning a wedding could stand in the way of moving forward with any of those but I do hope that in the future you are able to give them a little more of your time to see at least one of them through. They all sound like they would be so fun! 🙂 Thanks so much for your encouragement about London. I am obviously not sure how it would all play out but I have thought ‘well maybe S&T was just a catalyst for getting me to London in some way…’ Who knows!? I think I’ll start by trying to set up a meeting with an immigration lawyer who has a lot of experience with immigration to the U.K. to see what I can find out. Thanks for reading!

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  3. Nicci wrote:

    I have the same feelings every time I visit London. That feeling of “home,” the joy of visiting my favorite places, and how easily I can see myself slipping into a life there. After I did my semester abroad in Birmingham, I looked into finding a job with a company in London, but didn’t have any luck. A week after starting a job in FL, a friend told me about an opportunity her company had in London, but I told her I had to give my new job a shot first. That job was the worst job I’ve ever had and I often regretted taking it and wished I’d said yes to that job in London. I know I could’ve easily created a new life there and been happy, but I realize if I’m truly honest with myself that there would’ve been a huge hole in that perfect life. My family would still be in the US and as much as you say you’ll visit and they say they’ll come see you, life is busy, and international travel is expensive, and it’s hard enough to visit family in a different state…let alone a different country. Justin and I have thought about moving abroad at different times when opportunities arose, but the thing that has always held us here is family and how much we want to be able to see them and have them in our lives. I’ve figured out that I think I’d be happier taking long-term vacations in places like London and NZ and Australia, than moving there full-time. I’m not saying don’t move to London (b/c London is amazing!), I’m just saying that when you think about who and/or what your ideal life has in it, you should consider if that life would be possible if you lived somewhere else (whether in the US or abroad). Sorry this comment is so long, but I wanted to share my thoughts, b/c I feel the exact same way about London as you. 🙂

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hey Nicci!

      Yeah, I definitely think it would be hard to be away from family and it’s hard to say for sure how often you truly would be able to hop back and forth. We share family so, obviously, we know how hard that must be for Jason and Bekk. I’m sure you know better than I do how tough it is for them to be so far away and having Callan. I think it also adds an element of fun to the dynamic of their family. Barry and Becky can say that their grandson is half-Australian. I don’t know … but, as someone who loves to travel and has become increasingly more interested in what it means to be a worldly, well-rounded human being, I think that’s such a beautiful thing. So, I don’t know … I’m not saying it wouldn’t be tough. It definitely wouldn’t be ideal but, if it was where I felt right about being, then I’d be okay with it. But … we’re jumping the gun here, lol, I’m still in Florida and have absolutely no idea where I’ll be for the long haul or anything about my future husband, where his family is and what his preferences are so … we shall see 🙂 Love that you love London as much as I do! Hope you and Justin are well! I saw his curling skills … wow! That was so fun to watch haha!

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  4. Kim wrote:

    I love this so much! It’s so true that fear really holds all of us back from things.. for me, going full time into blogging. I find being an entrepreneur so appealing, but so scary. I hope your London story works out! <3

    Kim

    http://trendkeeper.me .. midi skirt on Broadway!

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Kim!

      Working for yourself definitely has it’s challenges and rewards but I don’t think you’ll ever be ready so, if you want it, just go for it! Although I did wait until I knew I could pay my bills with what I made on the blog.

      And thank you, I do, too! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  5. Jennifer wrote:

    Man I’ve been trying to move to Canada since 2008 and it’s so difficult. In order to get a visa you need a job offer but most jobs won’t give it to you unless you have a visa. It’s an endless cycle. I’d also love to live in the UK! There are 2 Tim Hortons locations there now and that’s basically my only requirement to where I live. I hope everything works out for you Haley. I personally think God wants me stuck in Michigan for the rest of my life. But He can sometimes be full of surprises.

    xoxo, Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Jennifer!

      Oh, Canada is beautiful. I can imagine that’d be an amazing place to live! Why is Tim Horton’s a requirement? Is that where you work?

      Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement. I really appreciate it and that you took the time to read this post. It means a lot! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  6. Jessica wrote:

    Hayley! Bless you for this post! I knew it would be a good one, but I had no idea how much it was going to resonate with me. This heart talk truly hit me right in my heart, and I feel as though it’s only fair for me to share my heart back with you. I took the same personality test when you first mentioned it on IG stories last year and I am a 9 too. I never considered that I was that “controlled” by fear until I read the examples you wrote above and every single one had me like.. yep. That’s me. I do that everyday. Last year I made the scary choice to take a big pay cut and go back to school. I was 25 at the time, and it was hands down the biggest and scariest choice I have made in the last few years! But, I am so happy that I pushed my fears aside and did it. Now, my bf and I are looking at places to move to and live once I graduate (one more year!) and the way you feel about London is the way we feel about Washington DC. We love the charm, we love the architecture, we love that there is so much to see and do. But we are from a really small town where everyone never leaves and just gets married/pops out babies asp, and I always feel afraid to share our ideal lifestyle with others because it is different from what a lot of them would want. But this post spoke to me in the best way and reminded me how important it really is to not worry about what others think, not be afraid of what could happen, and to just do the scary things that make you feel alive. All of this to say.. THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post. This is why you will always be my favorite blogger. And good luck on your quest to be a Londoner! Don’t give up! xoxo

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Jessica! Thank you so much for reading this Heart Talk and sharing your heart back with me. I appreciate it so much and I am SO proud of you for deciding to go back to school and take that pay cut. I can imagine that was really tough – and we 9’s have a really hard time making big decisions like this so that’s amazing! Congrats! I’m excited for you and your boyfriend to find that perfect place in DC 🙂 I’ve always wanted to go there, by the way. I mean, I have been before but I don’t think I’ve checked ALL there is to see there besides the monuments and museums, you know? I need to see it as an adult. Anyway … I read this quote today and it totally made me think of this Heart Talk:

      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” – Maya Mendoza

      I don’t want to call what other people want for their lives as mediocre but, in whatever way a life is ‘mediocre’ to you, you have to be bold and fearless in owning what you DON’T want and go after what you do … no matter what other people think. Hope you get out there and live that life you have imagined for yourself! I’d say you’re on your way! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  7. Cassie B. wrote:

    This was an incredible read! I feel the exact same way. I’ve learned that I operate a LOT out of fear. What people will think. How people will respond. What people will think of ME. How will I make it a reality? And I agree, it holds me back from things I want. I’ve had the same thoughts too about God having more in store for me (and you). Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses and, yet, somehow I don’t feel like I’m worthy of trust promise. Not good enough. And then I question: why would God give me these desires if he wasn’t going to follow through? It’s something I struggle with constantly lately. I have so many dreams but just as many excuses for why I CAN’T do it. I really enjoy your Heart Talk series and can’t wait for the next one, and the next part of your journey.

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Cassie!

      I feel like it’s a matter of obedience. We have these desires but God can only do so much if we aren’t willing to get out there and try, you know? So, I think this is where free will comes into play and we have to step up and DO something about these desires.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the heart talk and I hope you also know that you are worthy, that your dreams matter and God loves you enough to help you see them through – even if they aren’t EXACTLY how you see them playing out, maybe he has something BETTER in store or maybe, through trying, you’ll find that that’s NOT where He wants you. We just never know but, if we don’t try, we won’t ever know either way. Wishing you fearless days ahead! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  8. Joy wrote:

    I know exactly what you are saying, right now I’m 43 and feel like I’m stuck in my career. Some days I love my job and some days I despise it. Been pretty much doing the same thing for over 18 years in sales. I feel like God has something more for me, but I don’t know what?? My father passed away last May, and that tore my world apart. We were so close. He lived for the Lord and his family so I have peace knowing he’s in heaven, but it doesn’t help my heart from feeling broken. I never truly knew what heartache was until I lost him.
    I’m single no kids and sometimes just feel like what is my purpose in life? I know everyone feels that way, but since I’ve lost my dad it really resonates hard. I know my life is in God’s hands and have faith in him however right now with my job I feel like I’m climbing the mountain, but really stuck in the valley!!

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Joy! Gosh, I can totally understand that ‘stuck’ feeling. I often feel that way. The Lord totally has more in store for you, just dig deep and ask Him to lead you where He wants you. Maybe you are where He wants you to be. Maybe something new is around the corner. I pray that he gives you that wisdom soon. Big hugs to you, Joy! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  9. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    Beautiful photos … love ????the sceneries! ????????????????

    ????????LA BIJOUX BELLA ????????| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Thanks, Mia! Hope you enjoyed the post, as well 🙂 xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  10. Elaine wrote:

    God has placed two desires in my heart that I think about every single day: 1) to live in at least one other country besides the States, and 2) to win a job with a symphony. I didn’t travel to another country until I was 26 – I visited Guanacaste, Costa Rica first and I can honestly say I have never felt more alive and like myself. There was something so special about being out of my element that made me so incredibly happy. I was lucky enough to visit Alberta, Canada a few months later and fell in love. I know that living in another country would enrich my life so much, but I also know how difficult and expensive it is to do so. My other dream involves a TON of work on my part. I’m a musician and music educator and while I was in college, I was blessed enough to have professors that helped me grow so much more as a musician than I ever thought I could. Playing my instrument brought me tons of joy – I loved giving recitals and performing. Trying to win a job in a symphony is a stretch for me because it requires months and months of super hard preparation in addition to knowing you’re one of 1000 people auditioning. And if I win the job, I’d have to move and uprooting my life is such a scary thing. These two things are just pipe dreams for me, but maybe one day God will give me the courage to pursue them! xx

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
  11. LB wrote:

    I really believe God gives us the desires of our hearts…I believe thay God will make this a possibility for you…jist keep praying for open doors, wisdom, and favor! I understand the fear part..I have a dream and am terribly afraid of rejection….working toward that.

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Thank you for these words, LB. I really appreciate it. I believe that, too, and will definitely keep praying for God to show me the way if His plan is for me to be there. Wishing you all the best with not letting your fear win in regard to your dream, as well! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  12. Lizbeth de la Torre wrote:

    Thiis post hits home for many of your readers. I married young to a man that is total opposite of me. My dream was always to move abroad (Italia,UK or France) but have learned to compromise due to my husbands lack of desire to even travel to Europe. He treated me to a 5 country tour but stayed back home with the kiddos. I am yet to convince him to come along with me (not losing hope though, that piggy bank is growing). I say never hold back, there’s always a loop hole and if it is going to happen it will (:

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Lizabeth!

      Thank you for the encouragement! I really appreciate it!

      I can totally see how travel isn’t for everyone. My Dad simply had ZERO desire to travel when my Mom was alive but my Mom yearned to see all the things and places she studied in her history books and British fiction books, that she so loved. As she got older, she found a way to do that without him by taking kids in her middle school classes to Europe through EF Tours. I’m glad that, although he doesn’t go with you, that he supports that love that you have. My hope is that one day he gives in and goes with you to see how amazing it is. Now, my Dad LOOOOVES to travel. He started traveling with my stepmom a few years ago. He had always told me that he HATED NYC and would never come visit me if I ever lived there (Dads … lol … they can be so dramatic) but he went with my stepmom and came back RAVING about, although he could never live there, how much he truly enjoyed it. And now, he really wants to go abroad. So, there IS hope. 🙂 xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  13. Anna Bernin wrote:

    My dream is to get a book published, but every time I try to write, I get scared and can’t do it. Like I ask myself, “What’s the point of this?” “If i’m meant to be a writer, why do I struggle so much to write?” “What if no one likes this?” I appreciate your honesty in this post.

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Anna!

      Glad you enjoyed this post and I love your honesty! I can totally understand how daunting a dream can feel that it paralyzes you. I hope that you can find a way to maybe put it so far in the back of your mind that you just write to write instead of write solely for the book, if that makes sense. Best wishes to you! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  14. Mari wrote:

    Thank you for this post! Really encouraging about not letting fear drive our dreams! And I think you would make an amazing travel blogger – recapping your travels, places to eat, places to stay/shop! I love reading your travel diaries so you could definitely do something like that from a business perspective from the U.K.! 🙂

    Published 3.7.18 · Reply
  15. Emily wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post! I think that my personality type is very similar and I also let fear lead the way, but I trying to work on that! I’m taking a trip to Spain this summer and I am excited to see what is in store! ????

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Emily!

      You’re very welcome! Glad you enjoy them! Enjoy Spain! I’ve never been but have heard it’s amazing! 🙂 xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  16. Peony wrote:

    Hello Alyson! I just want to suggest some great personality tests that might be useful for you! They’re:
    1. MBTI test
    2. Self Authoring test by Jordan B. Peterson
    3. Big 5 Personality test.

    Hope it’ll be useful for you, good luck! ???? ????

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Peony!

      Thank you for these suggestions! I have taken the MBTI and I am an INFP. 🙂 But I haven’t taken the other two so will put them on my list to take in the near future.

      Have a great day! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  17. Kay wrote:

    It’s a good thing you two weren’t hurt! I admire your courage to say “you know what, let’s do this!” But if something is closed specifically for repairs……

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Kay! I’m glad we weren’t hurt, as well, but we were told they close this path and the bridge in the Winter due to snow and ice but it hadn’t snowed in 5 days prior to us being there so everything was completely dry. Again, we definitely assessed the risk and felt like it was worth taking. 🙂 xo

      Published 3.8.18 ·
  18. Shannon wrote:

    I love this post, and I love how much time and energy you clearly put into it. I lived in London for a year in college and it was one of the best times of my life. I would have loved to live there again, but I knew it just wasn’t feasible for my life situation. My husband and I lived in the Boston area for years, but always struggled deep down with the “fit”. We would dream of moving to the beach, for warmer weather, a quieter lifestyle, less traffic and less stress. But we came to realize that living by the beach often meant fewer healthcare choices (a v. high priority for me) and often fewer job choices. So when I thought about our dream further – it really came down to: living closer to supportive family, not fighting traffic, and having more time as a family. So we gave it all up – the big jobs, the “right” neighborhood, everything. We moved closer to family and to a small town. We ended up getting good jobs, having fewer expenses – and now we have the financial flexibility AND most importantly time to travel more. So even though I don’t live at the beach or in London – I am able to spend more time visiting the places I love. I’ve learned that sometimes there are compromises out there, if you look closely, that still fulfill what you need, without
    giving up what you want.

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hey Shannon! That’s totally respectable to want to be closer to family and in a place that makes traveling a little easier because there aren’t as many expenses. That’s a big plus to living in Florida for me. We don’t have state taxes and the cost of living is pretty affordable. Those comfort and security details have definitely made it a difficult dream to go after, as much as I would love to be in London. xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  19. Sherry wrote:

    I understand your fear of moving to London. Although my husband and I just retired so employment is no longer an issue, we just moved to Paris to spend several years (we hope!). I have felt the same “at home” feeling you described and, honestly, the logistics of moving out of the country are daunting. HOWEVER, we also believe God has been in this move so are excited what He has for us here. That said, after only four days in our new Paris apartment, I’m somewhat frustrated. A move like this is difficult and I think we must persevere for our dreams to come true! I love your blog and hope you can release your fear (I have fear about this too!) and find a way to follow your dream!

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Sherry! Wow, that’s incredible! Good for you guys! What visa did y’all apply for? If you don’t mind me asking. Obviously, the U.K. is different than France but I’m just curious. And, I totally understand your frustration even after being there for only 4 days. Moving abroad has A LOT of challenges. I dealt with so many unexpected, annoying hiccups from … not knowing how to transfer money from my credit union to a U.K. bank account to pay my rent, to not being able to stream certain programs on major news networks in the states on my computer, not being able to have a security pin sent to my phone because I wasn’t using my USA SIM card while I was living there, etc. I mean, the list goes on but I know you get what I mean. It’s really challenging but they are temporary and eventually Paris will feel like home 🙂 Proud of you guys for throwing your fears to the wind to see this through! Hope to do the same someday in the future! xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  20. Ashley wrote:

    I totally get the fear you mention! I feel like I’m the worst at that. I’ve wanted to move out of state for a couple years and this year was the year I told myself I was moving out of my comfort zone. I’m planning on going and spending a month in the new place to test it out before heading down permanently. And as excited as I am about it and knowing how great it could be for me, I find myself trying to talk myself out of the trip for all kinds of perfectly logical reasons. But I know it is going to be such a good experience that I need to take advantage of. It’s a daily battle I’m having right now.

    Published 3.8.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Ashley! My friend, Whitney, who went with me on this trip, did that last year in Chicago! She absolutely loved it and, although she’s still not sure she wants to make a permanent move there, she was glad that she did the test run because it really does give you a little bit of insight into whether it’s a good place for you personally. Hope you end up doing what you feel most led to do! 🙂 xo.

      Published 3.11.18 ·
  21. Anna D'Amico wrote:

    I absolutely love your heart talk posts! It lets me get to know you a little better and also a lot of the stuff you share is so relatable. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one feeling a certain way. Im always very cautious with life and play by the rules. My new year’s resolution this year was actually to take more risks and be more adventurous. I would love to travel more, whether it be in the State or overseas. I think what is holding me back is I’m scared to travel to places that I don’t know very well and also expenses. Another thing to is I have a dog and I would feel absolutely horrible leaving him behind or stressed if I were able to bring him. But, I think I may start small and maybe go to states that are closer to me for a long weekend and maybe be able to bring my dog or have my family watch him for a few days. Thank you again for opening up and sharing your thoughts!

    Published 3.9.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi love! I can’t encourage you enough to totally get out there and travel somewhere you’ve been wanting to go! Do some research beforehand and you’ll be fine! People are so much nicer than you think to people who are visiting! And, I totally know the feeling about not wanting to leave your pets but there are plenty of people out there who would be MORE than happy to watch them while you are away. I always feel bad leaving Fish & Chips but when my dog sitter sends me videos of them rough-housing with her dogs and sweetly sleeping next to her and her children … I die. They are totally happy and fine without me – not that they don’t miss me but they aren’t stressed out that I’m gone, which eases my mind completely. My dogsitter also calls them her extended family, too, so I promise … there are people out there who will happily be their second momma for you to have some time for yourself 🙂 Keep me posted on where you go this year! xo.

      Published 3.9.18 ·
  22. Rachel wrote:

    Haley, Thank you for opening up and sharing your fears. I have been wanting to back to school for a long time (4 years) but have been afraid to choose a program. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect, I’m afraid of making the wrong choice. I struggle between what I feel called to do, and what I feel I “should” do for financial and time-commitment reasons. You have been one of many messages of late encouraging me to listen to my heart and chase my dreams. Thank you for that 🙂 -Rachel

    Published 3.9.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Follow what your heart beats for. Always go for the scarier … less secure choice. I always feel like that’s the one we always really want anyway 🙂 Look at me giving this kind of advice and I’m going through my own similar situation and it’s hard for me to take it hahaha! Keep me posted on the decision – would love to know what you end up doing! No judgement either way! xo.

      Published 3.9.18 ·
  23. Taylor Leann wrote:

    Gosh how relatable you are girl! Loved the personality test…just sent a snapchat to my BFF about how spot on it is about me and she agrees. I’m a dreamer and one of my biggest dreams is to live somewhere new. For ridiculous reasons I have been stuck in my home town my whole life (which is actually a great place to live but I take it for granted). I am currently an RN stuck in a two year contract at a hospital so I spend a lot of time traveling to get out of town but I would love to live somewhere new. I recently visited a cousin who up and moved to Hawaii and I fell in love and made so many friends. It was the best week of my life. I really hope when I get it out of this contract I can finally make it out of Tennessee. hopefully travel nursing! keep doing what you are doing. Your blog is doing much more than you realize and I believe God has big plans for you!

    Published 4.2.18 · Reply
  24. I’ve been procrastinating doing work by going through your old posts and I’m rediscovering this one at exactly the right time. I’m very much struggling with changing my career path and likely my home city (actually, my home country) with those changes, and even though I *know* it’s what I want I’m absolutely petrified to actually make that leap. There are so many reasons not to do something – in my case, it’s walking away from a guaranteed career into something more unknown, and moving thousands of miles away from my family and some of my best friends in the world (to London, actually, so this post REALLY hit me) – and it can be so hard to fight through the fear and just trust in the other side.

    My sister said something really important that I feel the need to share here because I think you’d appreciate it too! I was telling my sibling all about my intense desire to move back to the UK but all of the reasons I was terrified, one of which was being so far away from both of them. She asked me why I wanted to move, and I told her I felt more emotionally settled and just happier while I was over there; I felt like a better version of myself. Her response: “That’s really the only thing that matters, isn’t it? That being there makes you happy?” I had gotten so caught up in all of the reasons not to move over that I forgot the simplest reason I should: it’s what makes me happy. And the people who love me most will support that no matter where it takes me.

    The universe has your back always – even if it’s really hard to remember that sometimes. Sending you love and light as you figure out when it’s the right time to make your dream a reality and trusting that God will illuminate that time for you in His own way.

    Published 7.17.18 · Reply

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