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« My Boucherie | Main | Fun With Poultry »

A New Reader Tells It Like It Is

Brenna here. Here's a comment we got today:

Just reading about your trip.

What happened to "Our intention is to spend this year searching for people who are taking control of their lives in these uncertain times. We’ll be bringing you people from all over the world who are finding new opportunity during a time when conventional wisdom tells us to hunker down and sit still. People with enough vision to turn a bad situation into a propelling force that might not have existed for them before all hell broke loose."

It's entertaining reading about your daily lives but why the change? Readers know almost as much about your friends and families as we do about you from all of their words of support after every post. Nice you have such a cheering section!

Good travels - or whatever you are doing! Luck be with you.


Man!! Ouch!  

He's referring to a blog post I wrote before we left. In that post I talked about a plan I had for the year. It was a good plan, and I've been haunted by it. Even tonight, when I went back and read the post, it made me cringe, because the plan didn't happen. I have banged my head against this dream of mine for 8 months now, and I've been so frustrated. I simply haven't been able to wrap my brain around it. I couldn't get traction. I don't know why. Lack of clear vision? Lack of chutzpah? I don't know. I've been feeling like a failure. It's been feeling really, really icky.

Something changed about a month ago. I was in Edinburgh at the train station, and I was in a funk. I was pissed off that I just wasn't accomplishing some of the things I wanted to during this trip, the biggest being this idea. This wonderful idea, that I really believe in.  As I stood there waiting for the train, I know it sounds corny, but I just.. got it. I began to see that I could do this, and I began to see how. Suddenly it seemed a lot less insurmountable. 

In the last month I've shot two interviews with people who have vision, and are taking control, and stepping into uncertainty. I'm building a new area on our website to house these profiles. I've got more work to do, obviously, and more brave, visionary people to find, but at least I've found my way clear to take the first steps.

I still can't explain exactly what changed, besides me, obviously. I somehow got to the point where before I couldn't, and then, I could. It took 8 months. Damn I wish it hadn't, but it did. I'll take it!

Failure feels awful. Public failure feels more so - and what failure doesn't feel public? But here's what I'm learning: failure isn't really a big deal unless you quit before you push through it, or over it. Most days I'm still pushing. 

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Reader Comments (12)

You have given yourself and your family an experience few of us will ever have. It doesn't matter what you wrote in a blog several months ago. Your children have had there perspective of life and the world changed forever.

Apr 5, 2010 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

Well if you are going to fail at something you might as well do it while travelling around Europe. I have been back here in LA for the last eight months; am poorer, fatter, kids aren't really much smarter, and I have no real accomplishments to brag about....wish I were on an adventure.

Apr 5, 2010 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDenine

I don't think you should beat yourself over it. It's good to setup a goal and dream. It has never been too late to work toward it no matter how long it will take. Just the fact that you are still thinking about it means you are still working on it. Some goals are big that it will take time to do! Love your blog and I don't mind reading about your everyday life. :)

Apr 6, 2010 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAmy @ The Q Family

Glad to hear you're pushing through the "failure." It's only failure if it stops you. If you eventually succeed, I call it the "great path."

Apr 6, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

When my life changes, I change my "to do" list accordingly. If the weather gets cold. I put on a sweater even when I had a great sleeveless outfit ready to help me conquer my day. Things change, goals go away, new goals emerge - let go of the ick and enjoy the family vacation! Yes, you can even consider yourself on vacation now and then! It's not uncommon for families to travel for long periods on vacation - no goals - just experiencing life together. Even if you started with an idea, at least it got you out the door. So what if along the way you decided to just travel for fun and take up your quest when you settle in somewhere after the trip. Your time as a family unit is limited. Kids grow up, right? My suggestion would be to delete the link from your home page. Right after 'Who the hell do we think we are? We're an average family with a big idea. Why are we doing this? Click here to read more...' you link to the post that makes you cringe. Delete the link and it stays in the past where it belongs as part of your journey not the destination.

Apr 6, 2010 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMary


This sentence is from the paragraph following the part that makes you cringe:

"A lot of the success of our venture depends on reaching people interested in following this interactive experiment in taking control of our lives, and sharing how they are taking control of their own lives as well."

I would say that you've reached a lot of people (perhaps even a lot of interesting people) with your blog. Now, you extended an invitation for all the voyeurs to help you locate those "people taking control of their lives." Is it possible that perhaps some of those self-same voyeurs ARE the very folks taking control of their lives? Could they perhaps become those people?

We're always willing to hunker down to watch and hope the disaster hits the next fellow. We're also willing to wait and see who else (not us, surely!) will volunteer to step forward and live the exceptional life.

Sometimes I get so mad at all the mediocrity I live with from day to day (I'm speaking of the flavor that is of my own making). I think perhaps I'll just keep that 30% of all my possessions that is pure clutter and baggage that keeps me from living the life I envision; instead I'll begin a massive purge of the mediocrity I create and put up with. Wouldn't that be a better idea?

So, how about asking all the free-loaders on your magical mystery tour to ante-up, the free ride is over? Perhaps if we all just got off our comfy couches (just like the one we bought off you at your yard sale last June) and got interested in finding some new opportunities for ourselves and creating some of that propelling force...well,what?...maybe we would be the ones entertaining the Redpaths instead of waiting for their next song and dance for the folks back home.

So how about a "Taking control of their lives" page (like your haiku contest page), just because you folks do the blog thing better than anyone else I know?

Now I'm going to go back into my glass house and get my umbrella in preparation for a deluge of raw & rotten eggs...

Apr 6, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Well, interesting post to be the first one to see on our first visit here. Good for you. For putting it out there and reminding yourself of the challenge. It's valuable to be called to the carpet once in a while. You hoped for more than merely a "we sold our house and traveled the world" experience, those are plentiful, just look at the blogosphere.
I hope you push through. Going to start following and looking to find many things of interest. We haven't had "real jobs" in over a year, and have never been happier...the challenge now is to keep it going. But your instinct was right on - it was a time to shake things up in exciting ways.
Keep following your gut.

Apr 7, 2010 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterKickass Adventuring with Kids

Lama understands failure. He is especially good at PUBLIC failure. Lama doesn't wish to condescend, but in terms of failure, you're ROOKIES! Let me (I mean Lama) know when you REALLY suck at something!

Gunga Gulunga!

Apr 7, 2010 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterYo Lama

Since reading this for the first time, I've been trying to balance "encouragement to follow your goals all the way" with the vehement declaration that "shifting course within a journey can never, ever be considered failure." We set the goals to get us going. Then as we embark upon the journey, we shift them accordingly. The "data" available at the time you set that goal began evolving the minute you published the piece. And it's morphed into something far more glorious, and more real, than I gather you even suspected when you set out. We have to make room for organic evolution of our processes, don't we?

I'm with Nicole that many of the exceptional people you were thinking about when you first shared your plan are likely right in front of you, enjoying your journey from a distance. And while I realize it isn't the same as watching a video or reading an actual interview, reading the comments on your blog has, at times, been nearly as enjoyable as reading about your own journey. Through the crafting of supportive sentences and from-the-sidelines cheering sections, your "followers" are lending interesting voices to this story and providing nuance without which your exciting blog might not be quite as interesting. You've provided a space for a communal discussion to evolve. Best not to ignore that. I would be very intrigued to find out if any of your blog followers will be willing to participate in your project more actively.

Apr 7, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMelody

Wow! You guys have given all of us (readers and bloggers alike) so much to think about! I'll be pondering for a few days on all of this. We've been working for a few months on a new concept, and our site is about to grow into something that is more inter-active, and more outwardly focused. We hope to keep the wonderful intimacy that many people, friends and strangers alike, seem to enjoy when making comments on our site. I've never seen such an amazing collection of people, writing such thought-provoking, funny things on any other blog. We are lucky to have such readers.
Thank you,

Apr 7, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Registered CommenterBob & Brenna Redpath

Honestly? I can't even imagine what the problem is: this is your very own journey with its own twists and turns and detours. And that word CONTROL? hahahahahahahaha If we are really living, much of the time the process controls us. Rock on.

Apr 8, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterbecky

I'm reminded of one of my very favorite quotes (unknown orgin);
"Life is what happens while you're making plans"..

Jun 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric H.

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