It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, so I wanted to take a moment to check in with you all. Reading the open and honest stories shared by small business owners worldwide over the past week has made it so very clear how independent businesses are so much more than 'just a job' - They bring happiness, determination and a reason to get up every single day, to so many people!
If you have followed my story since the start you will know that my initial idea for The Token Hunter came to light when I was living in the Australian Outback. However, at this point and throughout my adventures in Aotearoa that followed, it was ultimately a day dream.
Due to several reasons out of my control, I suddenly found myself back in the UK after three years of life on the road. I was totally overwhelmed, lost, isolated and at the lowest I have ever been. Normally I'm happy and carefree (que sera sera) but on reflection at this point in time and for many months that followed I didn’t even recognise myself.
I wasn’t ready for the 'real world' - My life was abroad in exotic destinations where I had freedom, travel and the opportunity to experience new and exciting encounters each and every day. Returning home aged 30 and starting from scratch once again, whilst many of my friends were in long term relationships with families, careers and homes of their own I couldn't help but freak out and compare my situation to their somewhat solid foundations. I didn’t have a clue what to do, so I threw myself into launching a business. The combination of seeking creativity with my passion for travel whilst somewhat grounded in my hometown of Fleetwood kept my mind focused when I felt alienated and alone.
In starting The Token Hunter I was blown away by the community that surrounds independent business owners and adventure seekers online. The love and support is extraordinary and one of the many positives often overlooked when it comes to social media platforms. Being your own boss is not for the faint hearted yet when experiencing such a dark place, I was suddenly surrounded by incredible examples of kindness, not only from family and friends but strangers I didn’t even know!
Sometimes we need time out to reflect in order to thrive. We live in such a chaotic world where many are obsessed with speed and the need to look good and feel happy 100% of the time. Seeking perfection (and the impact of peer pressure) keeps us small and prevents us from being our true selves. Life is often crazy and unpredictable yet in enduring hard times we become resilient and strong. Experiencing anxious moments, making mistakes, facing fears and stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but it’s ok to not know all the answers right at this very moment in time. It’s ok to feel completely lost because it’s not about the perfect end destination - Let's face it there is no such thing! It’s about finding joy in the journey and in the change of direction embracing who you become along the way.
The Token Hunter has helped me grow in so many different ways, it has not only enabled me to earn an income doing something I love, (which would never have happened if I hadn’t returned to the UK) it has also taught me to value solitude - The blissful silence that comes only when you are home alone with the freedom to just be. Growth is a long and slow process, good things things take time and I learnt to own that lost feeling and embrace it - Trusting one way or another it’s ok to not be ok. More often than not when you think it’s the end, it really is just the start of a whole new beginning.