My mom’s advice on playing big.

When I first started scoping out places to live this winter, a friend introduced me to someone in Denver looking for a housemate. I met him and visited the house one sunny afternoon. It was cute, surrounded by trees, and in an awesome spot with a garage out back for doing art. I knew it was right.

It was also at the top of my budget, and this was before I adopted my pup, Dewey. I started questioning if I could swing it — living there, working for myself, having a dog, and still traveling a bit.

Instead of going with my gut and effortlessly easing into the decision, a war waged inside between my intuition and worry/scarcity mindset. I kept checking Craigslist every 30 minutes. Having mini meltdowns. Wasting so much time (and energy) going back and forth on the decision.


One evening I drove to the mountains for a sunset hike.

With every step I kept asking, "What should I do?"

I reached the top of the trail, sat down on a rock, and looked out at the sun sinking into a forest of evergreens. I heard my mom's voice, "Trust yourself." And I remembered a similar situation I was in almost seven months ago.

April 6, 2016

I recently moved back from New Zealand with sights set on vanlife. My mom and I went to look at a '97 Toyota Previa I found on Craigslist. I immediately fell in love with this awkward little bubble-shaped van that looked ready to launch into space. It was at the top of my budget (sound familiar?), and after registration, insurance, tags, etc. I was wondering if I could afford it.

As the worry crept in, I shut the dream down almost immediately. “I can't do this. I don't know what I'm thinking, living in a van. This is too much."

That's when my mom took my hands in hers, looked at me with a slight smile and an eye sparkle of determination that I so love her for, and said:

“Amanda. Trust yourself. You CAN do this. You’ll make it work!” 

I'll never forget that feeling. Tears rose in my eyes when I saw the complete trust she had in me. Seeing her believe made me believe, too.

Seconds later I walked into the car salesman's office and decided yes. I am going to make this work. In rushed the excitement, the vision, the dream I'd long held, and out washed all anxiety and indecisiveness.

The day I got Penny and it all began!

The day I got Penny and it all began!


Flash forward almost seven months, sitting on the top of that mountain, I remembered that one statement — that vote of confidence and look in my mom's eye.

"Trust yourself."

And suddenly it became clear once again. I will rent this place in Denver. I will adopt a dog. I will keep making my art. I can do this.

You can have it. Trust yourself. Trust your vision.

I trusted last time and had one of the most influential experiences of my life. I'm so glad I chose to go all in and will never regret it.

At least give yourself a chance.

If you have the option to go big or play small, I hope you go all in. I hope you choose to toss aside the empty worry and indecisiveness robbing you of the abundant, wonderful life that can be yours.

Listen to your gut, and if it's saying "YES! THIS IS IT! GO BIG! RISK IT ALL!" Trust it. Lean into it. I've found it often will speak ONCE loud and clear. After that, it's up to you.

It's up to you, my dear, to listen, to trust, to go all in.

Amanda Sandlin3 Comments