I left for Costa Rica in March. After 3 months teaching, learning, and becoming incredibly tan and bug-bitten, I’m just now realizing how transformed I am.
Coming back to Chicago is bittersweet. It’s almost like I’ve never left. I’ve traded the exhilaration of jungles and mountains for the comforting familiarity of my neighborhood. It’s loud and there’s so much concrete but seeing familiar faces fills me with so much stupid, giddy love that trying to articulate it seems trite and ridiculous.
Everyone asks “How was it?” and I don’t even know how to answer. It was amazing. Transformative. I’m a different person on a million subtle levels that I’m still discovering. I learned about herbs and magic and soul-stirring ritual. I met people I’ve known for lifetimes, teachers and students and the exquisite tapestry of energy exchange. Rainforests, giant bugs, mountains, hiking, swimming, sand, sun, and torrential downpours. I discovered my natural habitat is lying in a hammock on misty jungle mornings reading about curanderismo. There is one word for my trip: nourishing. My soul is happy and I am thriving.
There’s something about traveling alone that allows for growth at hyper speed. It’s scary and uncomfortable and sweet and divine. You figure out what still terrifies you and what tiny things make you fall in love. Traveling alone is like dating yourself, for better or worse.
This trip was akin to pressing the pause button on my life: I severed ties with jobs and people and things I thought were precious to me, and lived without them. I was uprooted, existing in ether, and able to do whatever and go where ever I wanted. As a compulsive planner, this was simultaneously sublime and nearly excruciating. Without a job, I felt free but purposeless. I craved contributing to something bigger than myself. But it was a time of surrender, to accept that I am learning instead of doing. Surrendering to the fact that I don’t have control and it’s OK.
Control is an illusion anyway. We don’t have control over anything. You can have a plan and work toward something: a good plan motivates us and keeps us productive. But the ultimately, the Universe doesn’t care about your plan. You will be presented with opportunities that you never saw coming. You will fall in love and move across the country. You will be blessed and gifted with abundance you had no clue existed if you are open to what is in store for you. This is called The Flow. Surrendering to The Flow is fucking scary, but totally worth it.
You know you’re in The Flow when things happen effortlessly. This trip happened effortlessly. Going to Colorado after Costa Rica happened effortlessly. Things are offered to you, opportunities fall into your lap, members of your soul tribe appear and you need to follow those things and people down, even if you’re afraid of them.
So what do I want to hold onto? What did I learn from this trip?
- We are most human when we are exquisitely stretched beyond complacency.
- Stay passionate and curious and playful.
- Being in the dirt and grass is paramount for me getting grounded. Garden, grow things, be lusciously sensory and in my body always.
- Keep journaling and meditating with the same diligence I did when I was abroad.
- Smile stupidly, shamelessly when I realize the constant beauty that surrounds me.
- Know what I want, and brazenly, unapologetically demand it. Settle for nothing less.
I’m still in that half-life transitional period of coming back home–more like a culture shock from the traveling lifestyle. Although it’s wonderful to no longer be living out of a backpack. Big, phenomenal plans are in the works.