Conceding to the Universe

Hola mi amantes! I’m coming to you today as I soar high in the sky above the Caribbean on my way to San Andres island. This is the third weekend in a row that I’ve jetted off to Caribbean destinations in Colombia – first it was a house in the middle of the ocean, and then a beach hidden deep in the jungle – now its time to live the island life for a few days before heading back to Bogota. But with some time to kill, I thought I’d check in with you with my latest personal discovery in yet another brain dump post.

I used to believe that in order to love my Harts, I needed time away from them _cue solo side trip_. See, in a past life, I was the kind of person who would sacrifice my own well being to make sure that the people I cared about were happy. After being taken advantage of in this respect time and time again, I started to view this as a weakness, and attempted to reinvent myself as someone who didn’t give a fuck about anything but what she wanted. Ahem, this doesn’t work for me {insert Starbucks “toasty marshmallow” reference}. I’m not saying people aren’t capable of change, but once a caring soul, always a caring soul. What I did learn as the number of people that I cared about in my life grew, is that in order to love and care for those around me, I need time away to love me. Surrounded by the group, I allow myself to be swallowed up by the pursuit of their happiness ~individually and collectively ~ and I’m not complaining, I love every minute of it, and it is a much more fulfilling way of life when those around me are constantly recognizing and appreciating me for who I am. What I didn’t realize until I landed in Cartagena is how draining it can still be on me if I let it, and that my happiness {while still mainly derived from the joy of others} requires effort on my part to focus on me and recharge that spirit of giving. So, in order to love my Harts, I need time away to love me.

I’m not big on faith. I have a hard time accepting that there’s a grand master plan out there, or a celestial being is guiding my life, or that my mood is dependent on where Mars is in orbit {cough, control freak, cough}. That said, sometimes the Universe speaks so loudly, I can’t help but give it a little nod and an “ok, ok”. When planning my flight to Cartagena, the launching point for a weekend at Casa en el Agua, I decided to take a few days on the front end for myself ~ a funny notion, considering this was the consensus of at least half the Harts.

When we landed in Bogota, it was gloomy. I was sick. It was cold. Sure, cold is relative, but when my suitcase is loaded for endless summer, 50 degrees and rainy is a bit uncomfortable. It was fine, I told myself, only a few days until I was coastal bound. When making my usual initial grocery run [er, Rappi delivery], I hesitated on a few items I would normally get for the month {mainly the makings of a PBnJ}. I also heavily researched gyms, and hesitantly held off on signing for the month. When I packed for Cartagena, I WAY over packed, a severe deviation from my usual minimalist travel style. All of the above mentioned out of character moves made complete sense the moment we landed in Cartagena. I stepped off the plane, the Caribbean breeze hit my skin, and I knew I > was > home. Month 11 wasn’t meant for me to spend in the mountains of Bogota {which I’m sure is a lovely place rich in experiences}, but rather on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, gazing out at the sparkling waters and recharging my so{u}l<ar> batteries. That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to buy a jar of PB. I see you universe.

Cartagena is a beautiful mix of Miami and New Orleans. I had booked a swanky top floor condo in the Miami-esque area of Bocagrande, a peninsula of high rises that overlooked the bright blue waters of the Caribbean. A mere 5 minutes cab ride away is Old City, a walled maze of brightly colored buildings, energetic activity, and a distinct New Orleans vibe, if you replace the jazz with salsa. Less than 24 hours into my trip, I booked my AirBNB for another 10 days.

I didn’t spend the whole time alone. As I previously mentioned, there were other Harts with the same idea I had, so I hung at the pool with Duffs, had lunch dates with Mel, birthday dinners with the crew, a week of the Marky and Noir show featuring jungle treks, beaches, hammocks and _boulders_, and of course, the tramily gathering at Casa en el Agua. But when I was alone, I was never lonely. I slept. I ate clean. I drank lots of water. I took myself out to dinner. I ordered food in and binged on trash TV. I laid by the pool. Caught up with friends. I wrote. I read. I watched every sunset. I worked, long days, that I didn’t mind because I was slaying. I woke up every morning to the sound of the waves crashing and a view of the ocean that put a smile on my face. I started to feel rejuvenated and refreshed, felt my confidence return and my mind start to ease. I missed my Harts, but I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. Ok Universe, I get it.

As we begin our descent into San Andres, I have to regrettably say that the time allotted for this brain dump is up. I’m off to more Caribbean adventures and can’t be bothered divulging my inner workings anymore. Until next time Lovers…

Randomly Yours,

SR

Sad you didn’t get any adventure updates? Guess what… pics are UTD

Untitled

This is not a small thing we are doing.  We made a choice.  For some it was easy.  Others agonized over every detail – either way, we ended up at the same conclusion. Some were excited, some were scared, but most were a mixture of the two. We packed up life as we know it, and said our see-you-laters.  We boarded flights to destinations, both known and unknown.  We began a journey that has taken us further than we could have ever imagined.

We chose. To live an unconventional life.  To leave loved ones behind and abandon our creature comforts.  We warped our sense of home, to the point where some of us don’t know how to answer that question anymore.  We changed our perception of family.  We opened our hearts and our minds to the world, agreed to weather whatever it threw at us.  We prepared to do it alone, and quickly realized we didn’t have to.

We climb mountains.  Crawl through caves.  Swim in oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, pools. Hike to lakes, hot springs and epic views – through jungles and rice fields to hidden villages – to waterfalls we scale up and rappel down.  We seek sunsets and sunrises – sometimes we miss both. We camp. There is bungee jumping, cliff jumping, wake boarding, skydiving, skateboarding, sand boarding, paragliding, surfing, volleyball, soccer games, rugby pickup, disc golf (that last of which I suck at).

We work.  All hours of the day and night.  We prop our laptops up in airports, cafes, workspaces – in homestays, hostels, hotels and AirBNBs.  We take calls in the desert, on docks, outside clubs, on boats, at breakfast/lunch/dinner, in the wee hours of the morning and the darkest hours of night. We hunt wifi and power.. outlets and passwords are our survival tools.

We dance in the rain – and in airports, on beaches, in workspaces, apartments, elevators, on planes, trains and automobiles. In the occasional club.

We set goals. We grow. We fail. We succeed.  We fall in love, and have our hearts broken –  we break hearts along the way.  We fight… with ourselves and each other. We celebrate, ourselves and each other.

We explore – near and far.  We take early morning flights and overnight buses – ferries, rails, and bullet trains – we rent Pandas and load into BlahBlah cars, hop on scooters (sometimes with strangers), all to reach the furthest corners of the world that we are capable of seeing.

We face tragedy. We get sick, and hurt, and lonely and sad. We struggle. We miss our family and friends.  We feel guilt at not missing them enough sometimes. We fear we may never be able to return to our previous lives.  We process the reality that we may not want to.  We accept the fact that we are forever changed, and consider that our loved ones will never understand.

We sleep… sometimes very little, and mostly whenever and wherever we can.

We get Bali Belly and the Peruvian Plague – between porcelain palace trips we run down the sushi/ceviche/street meat/not-properly-boiled-water we ingested that could have put us in this predicament.

We face language barriers – we learn hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and I’m sorry (mostly for not being able to communicate).

We live everyday life.  We do laundry and grocery shop, get haircuts, manicures, pedicures.  We pay bills and balance our budgets, with the added pressure of FOMO and side trips.  We order Dominos in Peru, eat mac and cheese in Malaysia, visit Hooters in Colombia, make stuffing out of pancakes in Bali –  we Netflix and chill, have girls nights in. We try to eat healthy (amidst a sea of delicious cuisine), and we hit the gym – Crossfit, Monkey Boxing, Muay Thai, Zumba, Pole dancing (yes) – we go for runs, power walks, lift heavy things, practice yoga.

We lose tramily members along the way – to personal, family and professional obligations. We know that a piece of us goes with them, and a piece of them stays with us. We make new friends as well – at Nation Houses, Island Takeovers, New Years, Carnival, Lantern Festivals.

We share our adventures. Through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, blogs and journals. We recount stories over FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, however we can reach you. We share the world, our world, with those that we love, so they can live vicariously and have a sense of our joy for themselves.

We inspire you. We confuse you. We scare you (mostly our parents). You’re envious of our adventures, proud of our bravery, fearful for our safety, grateful you don’t face the struggles we do. You’re happy for us, but you miss us. You want us to come home, but know we are where we need to be.

I chose. To live an unconventional life.

I have been holding onto this post for a while.  Tweaking it, adding to it – thinking of a good title, a play on words – trying to wrap it up with a neat little bow, something catchy, witty, something that will have you coming back for the next post.  I regret to say I’ve come up empty, so until next time Lovers….

Randomly Yours –

SR