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The following is a guest post. My love of unconventional travel started when I was 12 years old. My dad had decided that, of all the ways to spend Christmas, we should go on a cycling tour around Cuba. And so we did it. We figured out how to...

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How to Be a Solo-Female Hiker: Put One Foot in Front of the Other

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Do You Really “Find Yourself” When You Travel?

"I know this sounds cliché, but I have to ask—do you really 'find yourself' when you travel?" the girl asked me. Her young friend crouched next to my table, gently stroking the cats as they slept. Café Neko is a small coffee shop in Vienna that allows cats to wander...

When Not Everything Goes as Planned, It Still Goes: A Story About Finding Your Passion

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So you wanna be a digital nomad. I’m not surprised: the future is bright for freelancers and location independent workers. Statistics show 40% of Americans will be contingent workers by 2020. That’s a lot of potential for digital nomads! Yet there’s no hands-on guide...

Limitations: Why the 9–5 Job Doesn’t Need To Stop You

Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations with people who talk about cool things they want to do, see, or make. A lot of these conversations end with “Well, I’d love to do it, but unfortunately I have XYZ,” and many times those XYZs are very valid limitations...

Stealing Second Base: From Side Gig to Self Employed Full Time

Welcome to #DifferentLifeStories, where Without Boxes is sharing how people are living differently right now in the real world. Enter Katherine Stimson: “You can’t steal second base with one foot still on first.” In the spring of 2010, a Facebook ad posted by a total...

Dreams Are Like Pirate Treasure: Hard to Find, But Worth the Risk

All dreams start somewhere and typically, no matter the size of the overall dream, most dreams start small. Let’s say yours is to feel better at work every day. You focus on sitting up straight in week one. Week two finds you taking a 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Week...

Fighting Your Inner Kraken: The Battle For Your Soul

Epic battle, waves on rocks

I’ve been fighting a battle. I have only just now reached my ink and paper to relate to you my feelings. My stories. My thoughts.

It seems that the kraken is real. It manifests itself in each of us.

We each have our own kraken, one that feeds on our innermost fears. It desires to consume us with doubt. It thrives on snuffing out the lights and devouring all hope.

Our kraken will never leave us, we can only hope to throttle it, to become stronger than it, and to take control of our own soul.

It started with a pressure. The ship suddenly stopped moving. There was a deafening silence, when suddenly the ship began to seize. There was a crack, like a whip. There was creaking. Time seemed to slow down so that every breath was echoing in my ears.

Then there was a sound, only I couldn’t hear it.

It rings in your ears, but you can’t explain what it is or from whence it came. It was a wail, a soulful piercing noise that your body could hear, but your senses could not contain.

I brought my hands to my ears, but it did nothing to stop the ringing.

The crew was missing. I was alone.

It seemed to take days as the sound slowly increased, the ship continued to creak and snap, and I searched what was accessible of the ship for a weapon to defend myself. But, against what?

Your Inner Kraken

Sea monsters

At some point in your life, no matter how many sea monsters or kappas you take out, there will always be your worst enemy. The kraken.

You can’t battle it until you know what it is. You can’t fight it unless you know that it’s striking.

I’ve been struggling with the fear of responsibility in the face of success. I want to make change. I want to inspire people. I want to do things. I want to create. I want to cultivate.

Those are good things, right?

But what if I succeed? People are now looking to me. Listening to me. Waiting for me to be an example. Waiting for me to follow through.

I’m great at coming up with ideas, and sharing passion and love.  So what happens when I am successful? What will people expect? What am I responsible for then?

I fear the answer with my whole being.

I fear that I will not stand up to what is necessary.

I fear that I will be a poor example.

I fear that I will, even by mistake, lead people in the wrong direction.

When I begin to find success and truth, I begin to shrink away. I lower the expectations people set for me. I hide.

I fear what is on the other side.

I fear that my goals will ultimately lead to destruction, even though they are filled with the best intentions.

What do you fear? What is your kraken?

The Battle

Your battle in the ocean storm

The kraken is elusive, and most who see it never live to tell the tale. If you can recognize your kraken, you can fight it.

Because every kraken has a weakness.

Speak to others about their krakens. Discuss your own. Study them. Explore them. Define them. Draw pictures of them. Sketch out their form, their shape. How does the crushing begin? Where do they tend to strike? When does the weight of the kraken ultimately drag you down?

Study your kraken.

Knowing your kraken will lead you to discover its weakness. Knowing your kraken will show you whether you can avoid it entirely, or whether you must have an ultimate showdown to reach your destination.

I am still engaged in fierce battle, but I discovered that my kraken is standing directly between me and the rest of my life.

My life cannot progress until I defeat it.

My strategy is simple. I must not give up the life on the other side of the kraken. Even if it means going through empty motions when I have lost all hope, I must continue to build momentum.

If I lose the life on the other side of the kraken, I am doomed to stay here. I am doomed to live in the shadow of my kraken, lost in misery and turning into a monster myself.

I know in my heart that the life on the other side of my kraken is worth it. Even if I stumble, even if I make a mistake, I know that the positive change I am aiming for is worth the risk.

I must defeat my kraken. I must chain him to the floor of the ocean.

If your kraken is standing between you and the rest of your life, you must do the same.

Your Soul

Your soul is at stake.

Your soul is at stake. The thing that makes you… you is exactly what the kraken wants.

Your soul is worth saving.

You are worth saving.

Your kraken can only be defeated by you. It is an inner battle in the seas of your heart. Stay steady. Stay strong. Keep fighting. Keep doing something, even if it’s only going through the motions.

One day, the sea will be calm again. The kraken will lay at your feet. You will be the victor.

You can get support. You can find a crew. You can report on deck here. You can train. But ultimately, it will be you and you alone who will strike down your kraken.

I want to reach out and give you a place to find out how to fight your kraken, much the same way others have helped me battle mine. Please, use the comments section here to share your own battles and struggles, and help others who have done the same.

– Anne
Captain of the Pirate Ninjas


Photos: Rocks Sea Monster Wave Eye




  1. Avatar

    You know one thing you’ve been very successful at? This pirate/ nautical theme. Excellent relation between the Kraken and ones inner struggles.

    • Anne Dorko

      Thanks JonMarc 🙂 I do my best!

  2. Avatar

    An amazing article. I have several krakens to face down. And thus article is something that I’ll plan to come back to when i face them. Thank you err, I mean, ARRR!

    • Anne Dorko

      Thank you for pitching in Abraham! We’ll be here when you’re ready to battle your kraken!

  3. Avatar

    I don’t know what your kraken looks like Anne, but you’re already successful. I’m glad that I get to learn from you. I hope that helps you in your fight.


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