Living in the magical area between reality and dreams has connected me with the most interesting people, be it at the neighborhood BBQ, or a crowded plaza in a foreign country. These characters are too special to hold only in my memory; I want to introduce you to all these delightful and wild people I meet along the way.
They come from all kinds of backgrounds and locations, but they all share a commitment to their higher selves. That’s what this new series, Portrait of a Wild Child is all about.
I believe everyone has a wild child inside,
waiting to be unleashed
from the overbearing voices of expectation.
Being a wild child, has nothing to do with breaking laws, or dancing topless adorned with feathers and sequins at your favorite music festival (though I may humbling recommend those!)
Being a wild child has everything to do with being alive.
With following your own still, small inner voice, despite everything and everyone around you hurling the what if’s and worst case scenarios, as you set off in pursuit of a dream. Be that dream growing vegetables in your own back yard, or casting off from the shore and sailing across the Atlantic.
Being a Wild Child is about following your own North Star, as Martha Beck calls it in her book, Steering by Starlight.
You see, some people are noticeably wild, while others are more subdued and take a little coaxing before they let their guard down and share their seriously unruly, beautiful selves. But my theory hasn’t been proven wrong yet–we all have a Wild Child inside.
I met Julie last year at a blogging conference in Barcelona, during the time I was slowly unraveling my conventional North American life. Confident, stylish and fun, she had great energy and even better ideas. The affinity I felt for her was instant. There was no doubt for me that Julie was fully in tune with her wild. As I got to know her over the course of a week, I understood why. She was the me I would be, had I not become a mother.
Living an expat life in London, managing a small marketing team, in her downtime shopping and dining her way around the globe with her husband and adorable little dog named Basil, Julie has it going on.
While Julie holds down a full-time grown up job, she’s every bit as serious about exploring and experiencing all the magic the world has to offer, as she is about her career.
The world tells me that I am not a Wild Child. According to all of the marketing and media that swirl around me, a Wild Child:
Is loud, fun and has long, curly hair
Likes oceans and hiking and salt water
Drives an open-air jalopy wagon from the 1980’s
Homeschools her kids
Goes dancing in high heels
Is an entrepreneur
Doesn’t eat or cook with processed food
Would never write a bullet point list. Ever.
I’m none of these things.
I’m a bit stuffy and serious. I wear my hair in a straight and sometimes severe bob. I prefer the city swimming pools of my childhood to oceans. The last car I had was a sensible Subaru. I don’t have any kids, and my spoiled dog with his head on my keyboard is a stark reminder of my inability to educate another being into good behaviour. High heels hurt my feet. I don’t work for myself, don’t know if I ever will and am happy to accept bi-monthly pay checks from a massive corporation. Excel is my lifeline, my journal and where I make sense of the world.
I wouldn’t describe myself as magnetic or free-spirited. So, am I a wild child?
At her core, a wild child doesn’t look or act a certain way, but contains within herself a seed of independence, of rebelliousness, of self-governing thinking. She may stay hidden, protected, surrounded by a shell of picket fences, 2.5 kids and a career as an accountant.
From the outside, you may not see it.
You can’t see, for instance, that I am a child of an alternative education system, one where our bodies and feelings were safe and where letter grades don’t exist. The graduate business degree hanging on my wall doesn’t give away that I think that grades are a little bullshit and we should all call our teachers by their first names, and learn by doing and travelling and exploring.
My loudly expressed ambitions to be a star employee, to get a big office with a silver nameplate doesn’t reveal the wild part of me that would happily chuck it all to backpack in South America. Or hike the Appalachian Trail. Alone. My freshly pressed suits don’t disclose that I harbour in me a desire to explore the world at large, the overgrown one that exists on the fringes of the well-beaten trail.
I realize as I type this that I am just as guilty as anyone in my simple view of people, my quick declaration of what category someone is in. I should know better than anyone that what we see on the outside in no way defines what someone may have lurking inside. That someone’s appearance or job or car or way of being fully reveals all there is. I know this and we all know this and yet we persist in making snap judgments, stuffing people into boxes and rigidly assuming so much based on so little.
Inside me is a wild child. She is alive and well. And though I may not share her often, she is a vibrant and persistent nymph who guides my path in life, underscores my convictions and lights the path to my dreams.
I’m not sure why Julie thinks she got this gorgeous nymph so under wraps—because I spotted her from a mile away! Either way, I’m delighted to share Julie and her beautiful new blog with you.
Check her out over at Drive on the Left. Her and her husband Drew share their not only their travel adventures, but also great tips for expats and those looking to take their current job overseas.
You won’t be disappointed…her photos are gorgeous, as is her taste.
Until next time,
Don’t let them tame you.