Category Archives: Travel

Being High. Who does it hurt?

A friend said to me,”is it wrong that I enjoy being high? Shouldn’t we, as adults, be allowed to change states as we choose? Should the state really have control over our freedom of choice? Should we be imprisioned for making a choice to live in a different state? ”

A lot of interesting questions. Personally, I live in a state that doesn’t appprove of neurochemical state changes. 

I’ve never really had an issue with the use of “alternative” natural medications to get you where you need to be. One caveat…it can’t hurt others or keep you from supporting yourself like a freaking adult.

Otherwise, have at it. 

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler ūüôā

Advertisements

Fly into the Light, Butterfly

Like a worm in a cocoon we are unaware of the transformation taking place until the moment we emerge a butterfly.

As the season that represents the hopes and dreams of the world is upon us once again, I find myself ¬†filled with a hope and joy in my life I haven’t felt since 2003. 12 years in the making. I nearly gave up many times. It has been a long journey; at times very painful. Nonetheless, I have finally arrived. Today, I realized it all at once.

I haven’t been on a solo travel adventure ¬†in some time. ¬†As I left my house this morning my luggage lightly packed to leave room for possibilities, I stood on my front porch and taking a deep breath I thought – you’re really happy aren’t you?

I am at peace. ¬†I finally care about something again. ¬†In my teaching, I have purpose. ¬†They help me be a better person and I help them too. I have great friends. I haven’t found that one special guy yet, but I’m enjoying dating 4 different men¬†of interest in the meanwhile ūüôā ¬†I make a good salary finally and found a way to make extra money and paid off all my student loans. ¬†I am debt free. ¬†In 3 months I took my 7th graders to great success in an engineering competition where they were 5 of only 12 students in two counties to be awarded “outstanding engineers” and have lunch with the Chief Scientist of NASA. My life is on the rise again after fighting in the trenches so long. 12 long years.

I’m estranged from my mother who left me on Mother’s day, yet to return again. I have made peace with her choice and learned there are some things you cannot control. ¬†One of those things is how people choose to behave and interact with the world. ¬†Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is to let them go. Many times she asked me to leave her life. I wasn’t listening. ¬†Now I hear loud and clear. ¬†At about the same time my ex-boyfriend had left and my pet of 16 years died. ¬†The timing of those two relationships ending was the peak of the tragedy over these 12 years. I spent much of the summer recovering from two big blows. I was really alone with myself once again.

After I came out of it all, I began to map out how I wanted the future to look. I became very clear on what I would and would not accept into my life. I thought a lot about what I wanted to focus on. ¬†I made a plan. I stayed focused. ¬†And you know what? I’ve been knocking it out of the park. ¬†My goals are from my soul so working towards them feels in harmony with who I am. ¬†When I FEEL that connection, I know I’m on the right path.

I also made the choice to have a serious talk with my doctor to manage a debilitating health concern when I finally couldn’t continue to have any quality of life¬†without beginning medication. It is something that no one knows about and I’ve kept private for a very long time.

“Coming out”, if you will, freed my soul and allowed me to accept the whole me. Walking into the sunlight helped me love myself better. ¬†In the end seeking treatment instead of suffering all these years was a great act of self-love. ¬†Everyday I am happy I made the choice and my only wish is that I had made it sooner. That conversation with my doctor saved my life.

So, now I head to the red rocks and sunshine of health-conscious Sedona to introduce myself to¬†the world of butterflies. ¬†A new beginning; surrounded by some of the best of natures’ creation, I will spread my¬†newborn¬†wings and fly towards that which brings joy, peace, and health. ¬†I look forward to witnessing¬†the vastness of the Grand Canyon and drinking in the elixer of possibility seeing both my smallness and my greatness at once.

As  I go into the new year, I have but one resolution Рto keep flying towards the light.

—- With love this holiday season from¬†aneternaltraveler ‚̧

Am I too Late?

I have been a wanderer, a traveler, an explorer, an escapist most of my life. Nothing of mine collected dust. I always seemed to have a Plan B, an escape route. If it got too complicated or messy or boring I’d take off one way or the other.

Though it probably sounds harsh, if I’m honest, I was still feeling this through both of my marriages. I wasn’t ready to settle down, to lay roots into the earth. Wandering was always in competition with this idea of what I should be doing at my age. So, I’d find myself with the trappings of a settled down lifestyle while inside I was fighting it, distancing myself and fantasizing my way out of it. Talk about the definition of one foot in and one foot out.

Looking back it is easy to see why I was so miserable for so much of my life. I was by no means living in harmony with my soul’s urge. I felt one way and tried to fit in another. Terribly painful way to exist. There are years of my life that I don’t even remember because of this dissonance.¬†

I didn’t form meaningful relationships with people because I didn’t see myself sticking around anyway. If I’m honest I didn’t really take my marriages as seriously as I could have either. To be frank, I didn’t have the first clue of what a marriage really was anyway.

So much of my life was spent like an out of body experience where some other force felt like it guided me along. I gave up control of that “traditional life stuff” in exchange for holding on to my fantasies of the life I wished for. Somehow I never thought I was allowed to have the life I actually wanted so I settled in a different way. I clung to my fantasies to make the reality I thought I was obligated to live, bearable.

After my second husband left, I spent several years watching my life tear apart at the seams.¬† After 33 years of living this double life, I couldn’t hold it together anymore. It was one if the most painful and lonely times of my life. I had to get a grip, make a new plan Stan, drop off the key Lee, and set myself free. How the hell do I do that?

I spent a year living overseas in Ecuador. I traveled just about the whole continent, I learned a new language, I got a job, I rescued working girls off the streets and offered them an education, I danced salsa almost every night, I learned that Latin lovers are not all good despite the reputation, I climbed volcanos, zip lined through the jungle, ate guinea pig, fell in love, lost love, lost weight, gained friends, and came home eventually to an empty house in the USA faced with the reality I could no longer escape. It was time to start over.

There was still so much distance between me and the stuff of my life. My house, my car, my things…all just stuff…meaningless. I had no real friends, no one I could count on. I was so used to keeping that distance and I could do most everything on my own anyway, so why bother?

I stayed this way for awhile. Had lots of disposable lovers.¬† For awhile sex was the only place I felt anything at all. When guys started to get personal or clingy, I’d drop them.¬† They never slept over. I didn’t want to wake up and see them. I struggled to keep the roof of a house I wasn’t sure I wanted over my head. I was committed to nothing.

Fast forward to now (5 yrs. later) and I find myself wanting to lay roots. Wanting to commit. Wanting love. Loving my house. Wanting a life partner. Understanding what that means. Wanting close friendships. Feeling so deeply that sometimes it scares me. Terrified that I’m waaaaay out of my depths most of the time with my understanding of this lifestyle. Freaked out that I can’t hack it. Afraid I’ll screw it up.¬† Thinking how behind I am. How much remedial training I need. How lonely I can feel now that I care to have people close to me. Resisting the urge to flee when I’m scared. I keep at it. I stick around. I want to find out if I could stay at a job long enough to collect a pension. I want to know I’ll be ok 6 months from now. I want stability and safety for a change.¬† I want to trust myself that I can do all this. I wonder if at nearly 40 I’ve arrived too late to the party.

I still want to explore this wonderful world around me and learn from it. I just want to have a place that I am happy to call home now too.

This is one of the most frightening adventures I’ve ever embarked upon. I am in pursuit of my own brand of happiness. The stakes are so high because the outcome matters so much. It’s finally personal.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Life is Short

When you’re sick it makes you feel lucky for all the times when you are healthy.

Sunrises and sunsets? Some things are just beautiful no matter what and a constant reminder that you only get so many. So you gotta fucking enjoy them.

Some pizza and a bottle of wine with the right person. That can make the shittiest day better.

Coffee dates take up a pretty good chunk your time but they’re worth it.

You can choose to work yourself to death, but you can also throw all that work away for the right person. That may be chemical but it’s also magic.

Love comes around a couple of times if you’re lucky.

No matter what life always seems short.

from the movie Spring

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Road Trip Happy 4th of July !!

image

There is just something All-American about a roadtrip. What better time to head out on the open road than the Fourth of July weekend!

Roadtrips have a way of loosening up the knots inside. You turn up the tunes, open the windows,  let the wind blow through your hair and become aware that today is filled with endless possibilities.

I like when you get a spontaneous invitation AND you can actually go. So, I am headed South for a few days. I think it will be good for me. Gonna see some people I haven’t seen in awhile and meet a lot of new ones.

Since I’ll be crashing with fellow musicians, I’m gonna bring my djembe and my voice and my piano hands and see what happens.  It’ll be fun to have a jam session. It has been tooo long.

image

So for now, that’s me saying see ya and Happy Open Road 4th of July !!

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Oh..I Did Live Once

image

Today I changed things up and went into the city to enjoy a folk festival whose focus was on the country of Peru.  Having lived in the neighboring country of Ecuador and traveling many times to Peru,  I feel a real affinity for the history,  culture, the region.

I had a date planned also, but I figured who knows how that will go, so I may as well make the festival the primary focus. Soooo glad I did ūüôā Who knew a professor of music could be soooo boring?

Aaaaaanyway….as I walked around exploring everything from traditional regional foods to Shaman’s performing traditional healing rituals I felt like I was “home” again. I realized how much I missed living among people in a vibrant community. Learning about the ways of the past and how they are interwoven into the present. I missed learning the ancient ways of being connected to the earth and the interdependence we have with one another.

image

When I returned to the US from living in Ecuador back in 2011, it was a very hard transition. I felt very lonely and cut off. This country can be very alienating to the human experience and has an obsession with “getting over it” as if there is a time limit on processing impressions you make in this world.

I was in love many times while living there. I remember lying in bed next to a man who became my best friend and lover and having these wonderful conversations and laughing as I tried to find the Spanish translation for “orgasm”.

We would lie there comfortably naked with each other as the ceiling fan barely kept the humidity at bay.  There was no rush. The culture of ma√Īana. At first this was very tough for my type A American personality, but I came to realize that when you slow down you make room for moments like this.

When I lived in his country he cared for me in such loving ways through a divorce and a difficult breakup with an evem more difficult Peruvian man. He made dinner and brought everything I needed to have my first dinner on my first night in my new totally barren apartment.

He helped me with many things. I did not know how much he loved me then. I was too entangled in another bad relationship to see. He would never force himself on me, but he was always there to listen and hold me through the rough patches. When I was alone on my birthday, he surprised me with a custom made cake. Somehow my Spanish and his memory were good enough to recall that I loved chocolate with raspberry filling.

And even after all this time and a country between us he still remains my dearest friend whose door is always open to me in Quito. Ahh….adventure, slowing down, really living and loving and being loved through this and that.

image

This story demonstrates what happens when we really make room for people to be where they are. Pablo really loved me for the whole person that I am. I loved him for who he is and all the struggles that came from merging his Indian / indigenous culture with modern Ecuadorian culture. His refusal to cut his long tradtional indian hair, though it would be seen as more acceptable, would cut him off from his culture. Many indigenous men in Ecuador try to disguise themselves as non-indigenous people because they are often paid better. 

I loved what he stood for. I loved what he fought for. I loved that he always met me wherever I was at. In tears, screaming, pissed off and walking away (he would give me distance but always “catch up”, smile, hold me with one arm and say, est√°s lista, linda? And i was ready). I never had to force myself into another state of being to make him or anyone else happy. I felt I could be authentically me.

It’s taken me years to realize the biggest difference for me between here and there – authenticity. I was allowed TO FEEL however I felt and people accepted it and didn’t rush me through anything.

Many times this is what made me feel there were more hours in the day in Ecuador than in the US. Even though everything was significantly more manually labor intensive, there was a sense of being at peace and content with whatever stage of life you were at.

I guess you could say that it is when I lived in Ecuador that I knew what it was to be free. I’ve never felt that in the US.

Freedom for me is freedom to be who I am and be surrounded be people who accept however that comes out from one moment to the next.

You only know what feedom is once you have lost it. In its absence, you will try to substitute other things for it, but you know inside you’re aching for it like the embrace of your best lover.

It is no wonder I crave going back so much. It was my 1 year out of 38 years of life that I knew how to be alive.

image

As I walked around today for hours, I had these and so many more memories flood my heart and soul. The smells and colors & sounds of a region that felt like home bombared my senses. I remembered when I was alive. The guy I was meeting didn’t stand a chance against that competition ūüôā

I forgot how much I used to enjoy studying about medicinal plants. Since I was a child I was researching alternative and indigenous medicines. I used to study symbols and their cultural significance. I used to dance and sing. It is as if I went back to my own roots today and I fell in love again.

Perhaps, it was a wake up call that I must find ways of living again. 1 in 38 years is not enough life. I must go where I can have the freedom to be.

So much inspiration today.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

The Road to Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy. We live in a society where any inconvenient thought or feeling is considered “drama.”

How do we find our happy place? Can we plot out our journey with happiness as the final destination? Can we steer clear of the “drama” until we are only sourrounded by people with no needs at all? Will that make us happy?

Avoiding unhappiness, is not the road to happiness

How many times have you heard yourself say, I need to get away? How many times have you walked out on people or situations that challenged you to stay present? How many times have you drunk, smoked, fucked, shopped, etc. too much just to avoid facing the unhappiness in your life? You’re not alone. This is a place where we can stop lying to ourselves, put down the mask and look into the mirror.

People are not happier because they’ve been through so little. They are happy because of how they handled getting through so much.¬†

Fear: Ah yes! Your fear can kill you from within making you second guess yourself into inaction.¬† Fearing death makes you afraid to live. To really live is to smile at the face of death and say “thank you for one more day”.

Happiness is in all the moments on the periphery.

It does not come when we try to force it or search for it or put a laser focus on it. It is when we stop looking that we catch glimpses of it out of the corners of our eyes. It is there in the moments we are enjoying a conversation, a play, the birth of our child, a five second orgasm. It is the moment when we confess to another our truth and they say with their eyes, I love you as you are.

Clariry of Purpose is knowing what you’re willing to lose to keep that happiness.

The key to everlasting happiness is knowing what you value the most and relentlessly pursuing it with all your might for the rest of your life.

For example, if the happiness of your spouse makes you happy and s/he is currently suffering, then you will not feel well either. You will feel her pain, suffer with him.  Your happiness will elude you. Therefore, you must work for her happiness directly and your own, indirectly. You see, your smile, your hapiness is the by-product of achieving what you value most Рthe hapiness of your wife.

Figure out what you value the most, pursue it tirelessly and you will know how to acheive everlasting happiness.

Mine is to be loved and accepted for who I truly am. This has been the main pursuit of my entire life. So goes the name…aneternaltraveler.¬†

What’s yours?

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Self-Love is NOT the Cure for Self-Hate

A step in the journey to self-love - Camino de Santiago.
A step in the journey to self-love – Camino de Santiago.

Self-love is not the cure for self-hate, it is the result of a healing process.

You must make your mind up that you will love yourself, but then go through the healing process. Most people just wear a mask of fake self-love or pretend to be selfless, but that’s not what it is.

You can’t fake it till you make it. You have to do the work to get to the other side. There are no shortcuts.

Here’s my 5 step plan. It’s what I did. It worked for me. It may work for you too.

Cry if you have to cry

If you’re in pain just admit it and mourn it properly. Stop trying to deny it. Stop taking it out on other people. Just take some private time and admit you’re pissed about your dad, mom, upbringing, how you feel shorted, spoiled, at whatever disadvantage, feel victimized, abused, unheard, ugly, whatever it is. Cry it out as far as you can. Then, dry your eyes and go do something else that’s comforting and nurturing. Take a bath, a run, a ride on a bike or in your car, put on your favorite music, call a friend, read a book, jump up and down or do a happy dance. You just got real with yourself, mourned it, and let it be. You don’t need to dwell on it all damn day.

Stop Being Selfish

You spend all day long thinking of just yourself. Oh I hate myself, I suck, I’m not worthy, nobody likes me, everybody thinks I’m a loser, I have no friends…and on and on.
Turn off the broken record and go help someone out. Become a volunteer at an organization for people who are way worse off than you. I bet you probably have a home, food, a nice place to sleep, some money in your pocket. Lots of people don’t.

Challenge yourself with something that will prove to yourself what you’re capable of

I took a walk across a country for 500 miles to show myself what I was made of instead of continuing to assume I’m not capable. I just stopped my bitching and got moving. It scared the shit out of me. I did it anyway. ¬†Just that move showed me that I was courageous. What can you do to put yourself in that position? Because right now I’m sure you just have a long list of reasons why you suck and things you’re not good at. Why not find something that would test whether that’s true? Something where you’d have to make it work and prove yourself to yourself. I guarantee you will pleasantly surprise yourself.

Do little things that consistently make you feel good and proud of yourself

Some of the things that make me feel content are not in any way exciting sounding. In fact they are pretty mundane and ordinary, but they make me feel good inside. For example, I really like making sure my kitchen is clean. I like when I manage to cook a healthy meal and eat at home even when take out tempts me. I like when my cat eats all her food and is active and healthy. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good job of caring for another being. I feel loved for it in return (in the way only a cat can show:) I like when I have my best friend over and we talk even for a few minutes because I feel connected and enjoy exchanging ideas and humor over life’s adventures. I love bubble baths and when take care of myself and get enough sleep so I am ready for the next day. So you see, it doesn’t have to be some expensive thing or big ta-da – you don’t need surround sound in your living room or a better satellite package, you don’t need stuff. You need to do things that you feel good about. That make you feel proud of yourself. Things you can do everyday.

Maybe you’re right¬†

Maybe people don’t like you. Maybe you’re a genuine pain in the ass. Maybe you don’t take responsibility for your life and your actions. Maybe YOU need to change that instead of asking people to feel sorry for you. Maybe there really are good reasons why you feel these things. Maybe you’re putting your energy into manipulating people and whining instead of healing yourself. Maybe you should get off your ass and make the necessary adjustments to be a better person to the people around you and for the world you live in instead of waiting passively for someone to come along who “gets you” and makes you falsely feel “all better”.

The healing process sucks. I’m not going to lie. But what’s the alternative? — Keep bleeding out all over yourself and others? C’mon. I know you can do better than that. You deserve more than that. Go get it!

–with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Have You Settled for Less Yet?

yoloDo we all reach a point in our lives where even the most rebellious among us finds themselves settling? Have your dreams started to feel like old wrinkled black and white pictures of days gone by?  Do you even remember having a dream?

Is it that we reach a point in our lives in which we boil down to the bones what’s most important to us and go for that minimum? OR —¬†are¬†we settling for less because we are no longer willing to wait for our dreams to¬†come true?

I talk to a lot of people who have found themselves still working in a job 10-15 years later that they said was temporary. ¬†They were going to light the world on fire with their ideas. ¬†They weren’t gonna get caught up in it all. ¬†They were going to show us all how to live. We wanted to be them. ¬†Maybe we were them.

How about the women who have given up on meeting Mr. Right and have opted for Mr. Good Enough because at least she knows he’s real. ¬†It’s not passionate and everything you’ve dreamed, but it’s not lonely either.

And then,¬†I think of all the things most of us put off until (the) tomorrow (that never comes), and it feels like we take for granted the time we have and the people in our lives. ¬†Suddenly, one day you¬†wake up (usually about the time you notice¬†you’re really unhappy with your life) and realize that you’re¬†entrenched so deeply in the life¬†you¬†HAVE created, that the life we wanted has already passed you¬†by. Remember, those were those “crazy” choices that you talked yourself out of because it “wasn’t practical.”

As time goes on, we¬†start to rationalize things, especially our lives. ¬†We tell ourselves it isn’t that bad. We¬†have to make sense out of where we “ended up”,¬†right? How many of us have just moved¬†the goal post and tried to be happy about it? Or maybe you¬†openly admit that you’ve settled, because the alternative is trying to rebuild something better from scratch. ¬†Right now at least you’re living¬†some kind of successful life. ¬†And maybe that has¬†be good enough. ¬†Whether it is or it isn’t…

Because honestly, at this point what would motivate you to bother doing better?

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 7 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngDay 7 of 30 – Gratitude for Work

This one is a little bit tough for me because I’ve never felt like I’ve had a career that I loved. On the other hand, I am grateful that I’ve always found some kind of work to help pay the bills and support myself. ¬†

In my current position, I am grateful that I can help children with special needs reach their potential. I enjoy giving my kids hope, finding strategies to manage behaviors and ¬†accomplish academic goals. Everyone needs to feel useful. I don’t care what struggle you come with into this world.

I am also grateful that the school is nearby, making for a short commute.  Having summers off to explore the world allows another part of me to flourish.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted two basic things out of life “when I grew up”. ¬†I wanted to help people reach their potential and to see the world. ¬†Ideally, I could combine those two concepts together. ¬†I still hold out hope that someday I will.

I thought a lot about how to leverage my education and experience into a career in education which seems like it could be a great fit for the life I want to live.  I went to an information seminar which talked about an accelerated teacher certification program for people with a degree and experience in science and math. I thought to myself, that could be it.  I have a B.S. in Biology and I would appreciate teaching older students (vs. elementary where I am now) because I could go more in depth and do more complex experiments with them.

Before you knew it, I was signed up to take the Middle School Science Praxis II exam. Passing this is one of the requirements to apply for the program. It basically tests you in all areas of the sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Technology) and determines if you’re competent ūüôā ¬†I was pretty nervous during the test and walking out, was sure I failed. ¬†While in Spain, I learned that I passed it by 25 points!¬†

So, I have another basic Praxis test to take which tests core competencies (Reading, Writing, Math) that I need to pass. ¬†You’ll probably laugh after hearing how well I did on the Science test, despite my concern that I failed, but I am afraid that I will bomb the easy stuff and pass the hard stuff. ¬†It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened. ¬†For example, in college, I got C’s in General Chemistry and A’s and B’s in Organic Chemistry !? So, maybe say some prayers, please ūüôā

I digress.  Got a little sidetracked there. Tying it all together.

I am changing careers or at least modifying how science is paying the bills. It is kind of nerve wracking sometimes. Exciting, yes, but a little scary.  I am 37 and find that I am ready to have what I really want in my life. Within the next three years, I will work to put everything I want in place so that when 40 rolls around, there will be no life crisis. I am ready for more stability and a career that allows me to build for my future and also helps other people reach their potential.  I am also ready to have the freedom that allows for my adventurous side to flourish (summers off) so that I may always meet new people and cultures and see the world.

So, I am not quite where I want to be, but I am grateful that I have a job that is in the field that I want to advance myself. I am grateful that I have work that offers me the chance to help children discover their potential.  I am thankful that it provides me with health insurance, a pension, and that I am already building towards that future that I want. 

How about you? Why are you grateful for work?

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ