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

Imma Li-ma Heart Here…

Buenas tardes my Lovers of Random. I’m sitting in a cafe in the Poblado district of Medellin, about halfway month 10 of my adventure, so it seems to be perfect timing for a recap of my Peruvian adventures. My recent delays in updates stems from a variety of causes – juggling three gigs during tax season (a treacherous time of year that I continue to subject myself to), trekking into the jungle to find ancient ruins, planning retreats into the Colombian Caribbean, getting as much time in with my beloved Harts as possible – but also a lack of the fire that usually ignites me to spew my thought onto paper{screen}, through in inter webs and into your Loving minds.

So, what is a writer with writer’s block to do? I can tell you what doesn’t work. Designating time. I tried to set aside time to write. Maybe this is when I believed that I didn’t write because I was too busy. Fastest method of disproving that theory was “making” time to write. First, I would just stare at the blank screen. Then, I would put on some “background” noise – Netflix – not distracting at all {binge watches three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy}. Then came the excuses, and after a while this space, your Loving space, was a distant thought, only visited when Johnny Boy and I would discuss our lost passion.

What changed? If I had to pin it down, I would say it has to do with the release of my latest blog last night, and the humbling outpouring of response to it. I wanted to give people back home a picture of this life – I knew I would capture the sentiments of some Remotes, but I never expected the overwhelming positive feedback that I got from the community. That, paired with the two glasses of house white that I’ve imbibed for lunch {hey, its Friday, no judgements}, seems to have sprung me from my funk. So, while I’m feeling all the feels, let’s run down month 9 of this epic journey: Peru.

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After a homey month in Córdoba, I was elated to once again be in a city by the sea. This wasn’t your typical beach town though. The sea sat below towering cliffs, gorgeous monstrosities that lent Lima a piece of its charm. Each morning we would wake to an intense fog that rolled in from the crashing waves, up over the cliffs, blanketing the city. We were told this wasn’t the norm, but at least for our 5 week stay, that was how we started our days. Two months of hearty, meaty, Argentinian cuisine made a city full of ceviche and fusion music to my stomach. Our first night in, we hit up Panchita where we shared a smattering of local delicacies (including the Pisco Sour) that I chased with the most decadent pork belly I’d ever had in my life – followed by Peruvian cervezas and shaking it to reggaton until the Dinster and I are almost sleeping on the dance floor.

photo cred Vueltica

Being seaside again means SURFING, and I’m elated to get back up on the board and try again, my first attempts in 6 months, since Lisbon. I’m quickly humbled by the first set of waves {fall, fall, ride for 4 seconds then fall}, quickly bored by the time between waves {2 good waves, 15 minutes of calm waters} and quickly over it when I get swallowed into a wave and my board crashes into my face. I surfaced from that last failure just praying my nose wasn’t gushing blood, sure I was about to suffer my second black eye of the trip, but once again my resilient blood vessels kept me intact, and the minor swelling I did incur went down rather quickly. I’m not usually one to quit on things, but the universe might be telling me it is time to hang up the surfboard.

My first full weekend in Peru started with a Saturday track. We loaded up early in the morning (after a rather late night) and headed to a local fishing village that backups up to a weekend beach getaway for the better off of Lima ~ a rather odd juxtaposition of cultures. The boats took us out into the choppy waters, around sea lion and penguin filled cliffs from one side to the other. Once docked in the swankier side, there was an attempt to fish (another to add to my list of things I’m not good at), some good tunes and some Peruvian history under the Saturday sun (or lack thereof).

That evening Marky and I were booked at Central. Fine dining was a big part of my “former” life, a part that I miss, so after hearing that the world renowned restaurant was a mere 10 minute walk from my Lima digs, I talked Marky into pulling something more decent than his usual t-shirts out of his closet and accompanying me to the 17 course adventure. I was so excited for it I even bought a hair straightener (recall, mine died with a electrifying POP in Thailand). In the interest of manageable posts, the meal itself will be detailed in a separate Love Letter. Dinner was followed by a walk along the cliffs where we jumped the fence and faced the edge of the several hundreds floors of height of these beauties ~ well, he did ~ I stayed about 5 feet back.

The next Saturday was another early morning load up (after an equally late Friday night) to head to Huacachina for the day. Long bus rides mean sleep, even if it is shorts naps interrupted frequently by the unpaved nature of Peruvian roads. We arrive in another tourist town and proceed to wait an annoyingly long time {sleep deprived and hungover} to load into a boat, where we’re whisked off to see {more} sea lions and penguins, but the penguins must have had the same Friday night I did, because they didn’t show. After the boat ride, we head off to a Pisco making palace lined with armed guards – only a bit strange, but they had my name nailed to a tree, so I let it go.

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photo cred Dre by Day

Post Pisco tour we loaded up in massive dune buggies to go bashing through the desert. This adventure was reminiscent of Dubai, although this time we got try our skills at sandboarding. It was… challenging. The boards themselves were total crap, and even with the sad wax they provided us, getting them to actually slide down the sand was almost as impossibility. That didn’t stop us from trying ~and failing~ over and over again. Once we had exhausted our efforts, we loaded up to check out a desert oasis perfect for a photo shoot with my Princess, and then we were homeward bound (read:napping) again.

 

After some Sunday morning catch up, Johnny Boy, Marky, Eddie, Starbucks, the Dinster and I decided to explore Barranco, an edgier, more hip and up and coming neighborhood then our Miraflores area. Street art, murals, sculptures, bands in the streets, it was all very cool. We wandered aimlessly until we found our way to the cliffs, just in time for sunset. A sunset viewed from the cliffs of Lima is like no other – cotton candy skies float above crashing blue waters, a sea that sparkles for miles as the sun dips toward the horizon ~ ugh, I could stay there forever.

Our next week is pretty chill as I’m busting out work in anticipation of our Cusco trip. Bev arrives later that week, but travel has her bed bound for the first few days, so I stop by her hostel to take her the goods {crackers, ginger ale} and pick up my care package from home. An entire carry on suitcase of all my favorite USA goods – protein powder, O’Henry’s coffee, WHA swag, rye whiskey and of course, Sour Patch Kids. I’m a happy girl.

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Returning from a 10 day Cusco trip including a 4 day trek to Machu Picchu requires some recovery, so my last week in Lima is mostly uneventful. There was our farewell, where I took a client call constantly interrupted by crashing waves and Pisco Sours, drinks on the rooftop of a fellow Hart’s building, and a last minute meal at Panchita {that pork belly tho}.

I know I’m missing some things.  As I go back through my pictures {which become fewer and fewer each month}, there are drum tracks with musical chair contests, nights out dancing, nights in watching movies, the resurrection of my risotto skills {and the continuation of Marky’s empanadas}, dates with the girls,  Race Across the Nation, sushi making class~ but darlings, I can’t be expected to fill you in on it all without writing a novel {foreshadowing?}, so I’ll leave you with the beautiful sunset that was our farewell in Lima.  And don’t worry my Lovelies, much like me, this pic has no filter.

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Until next time

Specifically Yours,

SR