Fear of the unknown

Another oldie that I’m putting forward for you to have a look at, an important part in my life and thankfully one that worked out well

Part #12 of Josie’s Writing workshop and I have decided to go for option 5 this week …

5. Tell me about a time when you ‘felt the fear and did it anyway’

By the time the spring had sprung in 2004 I had been a single mum for almost 9 months and the truth is I wasn’t coping very well at all. I was living in a smaller village up the road with the children, Thomas then 16 and Megan 14 (not the best ages for dealing with a separation)

I was working in the local tourist agency and I was good at my job. I enjoyed it. I looked after the ‘Foreign Office’ as it literally translates and it was my job to drum up groups to come to Folgaria in the winter for a ski trip. My lunch break was so long I was able to do a quick ski, eat a hot dog at the top of the Martinella ski back down, drive to the office and change in time for opening time. How cool is that?

But, I couldn’t adapt to this new life thrown on me in August 2003.

You see, we lived in a tiny mountain village in the Dolomites. I’d been there for 17/18 odd years and I knew everyone. I knew their parents, children, where they lived, how many pets they had and what they bought from the supermarket, so consequently they knew everything about me.

They knew my ex was living in the family hotel and frequently entertaining the girl he’d left me for. They knew where they’d been last night, how much they had drunk, who had been with them and what they were doing at the weekend. For some reason, they felt the need to tell me these things, as if it was a help to me.

I knew I was drinking more and more at home alone in the evenings to dull the pain, pass the time and just get drunk in order to sleep comatose and dream free till morning and I also knew deep down that my future here would be just like this. I would never lose the title of his ex-wife and therefore never move on.

So I needed to do something.

Move to Trento? Rovereto? Two of the local towns at the bottom of the mountain.

For what purpose?

No, I needed to go back home to the heart of my family, I needed the freedom and acceptance of England. I needed to get away from it all. Be free. But how?

A plan slowly started to form. A job at the Italian Tourist Board in London came up and before I knew it, I was on a flight for an interview.

I ‘knew’ the job was mine, it just felt so right.

I received confirmation via email a week later giving me one month to close down my 18 year life in Italy, move to England, find a house, hand my notice in at work and say goodbye to my friends.

My heart was beating ten to the dozen. It had happened. Everything had fallen into place, it had to be right but all of a sudden I was petrified. My forehead was damp, my breathing was rapid and I felt sick. My armpits were sweating!!!

What if it wasn’t the right decision?

What if this was the biggest mistake of my life?

How would I make friends?


One million and one questions bombarded me and all I could rely on were my instincts which were shouting at me

‘The time is right. It’s the right thing to do. Go for it!’

Tommy decided to stay on in Italy. I understood. No teenager wants to uproot at that age. He would live with his dad in our family home that was being renovated after a fire in 2001. And the pair of us would become frequent flyers.

Megan was torn, of course she wanted to be with me but she too was frightened. She didn’t want to leave her dad or the friends she’d had since nursery school.

She decided to come.

I did it. I followed my heart, listened to my instincts and am here telling you the tale. So don’t be frightened. If it’s the right thing for you it will all fall into place and you must follow and step into your new life leaving the door of your old one to close quietly behind you.


  1. Jean
    February 4, 2010 / 4:44 PM

    The way your story comes together reminds me of a quote I love from W.H.Murray, a Scottish mountaineer … a strange choice you may think! However, what he wrote on his Himalayan expedition I think has a resonance in whatever you set out to do which initially seems daunting:

    “This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! ”


  2. February 5, 2010 / 10:08 AM

    Beautifully put Mr Murray! Thanks Jean ;)
    Funnily your quote budged a buried memory of a book I read years ago The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.
    Telling the story of an adventure, the choices made along the way and how things ‘fall into place’ at the right time and moment. Very thought provoking and very inspiring.

  3. Karen @ If I Could Escape . . .
    February 6, 2010 / 1:30 PM

    Lovely post. My hubby and I are looking to uproot and move back to the UK after 20 years this very summer! I have all those same fears, but just feel the need to do it.

    • February 6, 2010 / 2:06 PM

      If you’re ready, go for it and you will be so grateful you did looking back.

      The UK has its problems like any other country but having returned the silliest things can make me appreciate what I was missing all that time, from the brilliant Malteasers ad campaign on ITV to enjoying a damned good curry.

      I wish you all the luck in the world and am slightly envious of the journey – at times quite manic – you’re about to take.

  4. February 7, 2010 / 7:55 PM

    I loved this and am so pleased that everything is working out for you. So many times life seems to present us with the right set of circumstances, or we meet someone just as we need their skills to hold our hands on our journey and your gut instinct that you’d get that job must feel like more than chance…

    That said, I’m incredibly jealous of the lunch breaks you gave up!


    • February 8, 2010 / 11:10 AM

      LOL, the lunch breaks I think I miss most of all!
      Thank you for reading.
      I do get back once/twice a year to see my two grown up children but haven’t been back for a ski for quite some time. On the to do list for a couple of year’s time when the twins are ready ;)

  5. Mama Syder
    June 7, 2011 / 9:19 AM

    Oh Wow…What a brave move you made! Reading this brought a lump to my throat…I admire your strength…you must of been bricking it! Oh and I notice you mentioned Celestine Prophecy – Fab book! x

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