Tag Archives: adventure

Road Trip Happy 4th of July !!

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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.

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

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

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Oh..I Did Live Once

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Invisible Widget

In a world that moves too fast for dreams to take root, no wonder you’re disappointed.¬† Where is the safe place in your socially networked mind that you go to get some peace? Who are YOU? A profile, a mask, an image, a task, a job, a role, an invisible widget in something¬†that feels like life? ¬†I ask you WHERE are YOU? ¬†What would you call yourself if you didn’t have a name?

I’m filled with many unanswered questions too! ¬†I walk out into the big wide world and think,¬†what the fuck am I going to do? Success may be fleeting, but what else makes living worthwhile? So we figure out where we’ve failed in the first part of life and then spend the second half¬†making a self-improvement plan and celebrating the little victories. ¬†The hope is that maybe everything we do will make just a little bit of sense. Just enough to keep us waking, working, striving, rinsing, and repeating.

Do you have a dream? Remember when it felt like you had time to dream? ¬†You took that for granted didn’t you. And now you wish for naps in the middle of the day where your mind could just float away and nobody snapped you back to anything that was more important – called REALITY.

Recently, I’ve started dreaming again and now it looks like the first step of one of my dreams is about to come true. Nothing could both excite and terrify me more. I wasn’t sure I could allow myself to dream after years of shutting them down. And here I am again, almost 40 and about to start school again en route to¬†a new career (middle school science teacher!). It feels different that it did when I was in my 20’s in grad school. Sometimes I wonder if I can make it through!

I think acting on your dreams is scary business especially when you stopped even daring to dream for so long. When we take the next step into action, we make it real. We bet the house on ourselves. Sometimes, that bet doesn’t feel like a sure thing. It is an act of faith towards ourselves. Sometimes we need time to prove to ourselves that our faith is well placed.

One step at a time.

–<3 with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

You’re Nobody’s Fool: Realistic Optimism

can or cant you're rightIn a culture whose mantra has become, “what you believe, you conceive”, we could use a cold bucket of reality to wake us up every once in a while.¬†While I tend to look on the bright side of things, I wouldn’t consider myself an optimist. ¬†Quite frankly, I think these definitions are too oversimplified to be helpful.

I think we can all agree that being¬†a “Debby or Dan Downer”¬†with¬†things in life can be just as bad as expecting to shit out rainbows for breakfast everyday. Total¬†realism,¬†on the other hand, is like a¬†dry piece toast; edible but not enjoyable. Extremes in any form are¬†not healthy, no matter which way you slice it.

I like to think of myself as a Realistic Optimist which I define as, someone who goes into a situation filled with the hope of a good outcome, but who is realistic enough to know when enough evidence to the contrary says it is is time to walk away.

So, I find¬†promoting the idea that “what we believe we can make true” without any caveatsOptimist-Pessimist-Realist-Quote is both¬†irresponsible and untrue. ¬†For example, no matter how much we may believe and conjure up all¬†our will power, hope, and commitment towards changing someone, we cannot make an individual¬†do something they don’t want to do. ¬†We cannot make them change. ¬†We cannot make someone care. We cannot force love. None of these things are possible through the power of thought.

You don’t need to put up with someone’s crap just because you want to show how positive you are. Or how kind you are. Or how loving. Here’s another newsflash, they are not going to change for you. They are an asshole despite you. You sticking around will only wear you out. It will not cause them to change.

I promise you that they will not wake up one day and say, WOW!! Because she’s/he’s stuck around all this time while I’ve busted up every boundary she/he has, taken all my shenanigans in stride, and given her/himself up for me, I’m TOTALLY READY TO SUDDENLY BECOME (WO)MAN OF HER/HIS DREAMS NOW.

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Translation: (L-R) My glass is half full. My glass is half empty. My glass is half past eight ūüôā Good German Humor..

It is fine to give someone chances, but have a time limit in mind. ¬†Showing¬†yourself less love will not make someone change unless you want that someone¬†to be¬†YOU. You have not been put on this earth to martyr yourself. ¬†You don’t have to stay in a place that sucks. You can do better. It may not feel like it at first, but being alone is better than having your soul sucked out by someone else who means you and the relationship no good.

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Why Bother Doing Difficult Things?

One of the questions I got when I returned from walking the Camino de Santiago was – “Why did you think it was a good idea to walk 800 km across a country?” Basically, what’s the point?

French Pyrenees - No guarantees what's ahead.
French Pyrenees – No guarantees what’s ahead.

I had a lot of reasons for walking the Camino, but I realized that for someone who asks this question, none of those reasons would justify a 500-mile walk.

I wanted to be able to reach people with an answer, regardless of where they are at in their understanding, when they ask me “Why?” There is some curiosity there to even bother asking at all.

I took some time to really think about how I could explain the “reward” of taking this journey.

In fact, why bother doing difficult things at all, really?

To be totally honest, the rewards of the Camino are not predictable, but the effort and pain and fatigue are guaranteed. And frankly, those rewards may not be in proportion to what you invest.

Roncevalles, ES
Roncevalles, ES

Some people can look at the pictures of the landscape and the historical buildings and think, “Wow! That looks cool!”. “I want to do that”. They say things like, “How was your vacation?” There is so much beauty, but they also don’t see or feel the wpid-20140625_161727.jpgphyscial, mental, and spiritual pain and exhaustion it takes to get to that rewarding vista.

You don’t get something amazing by doing no work. It is the willingness to do hard work itself that transforms you into a better person.

As I thought about answering the question, “Why bother?” it occured to me that you can substitute “marriage” or “parenting” or “my career” etc. for the word Camino in the above sentence and it reads just as honestly.

“The Camino” is a living breathing metaphor for the path we take in our lives towards anything we consider worthwhile.

The reward ? An absolute certainty that as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will get there. And that I won’t be the only one on the road. And there is great comfort in that.

Keep walking. Don't give up. You will arrive.
Keep walking. Don’t give up. You will arrive.

If you want to be a successful person in life and achieve your dreams and goals, then you have to persevere.

Never give up

Always move forward

Rise up to challenges and overcome them

One step at a time

…until you arrive.

 

— With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Don’t Stop Walking – Camino de Santiago

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Today I was amazed that I could walk 14 km., take a half hour break and then walk 14 km. more. This sign seemed to sum it up.

I was refreshed from having taken a day off due to the “camino virus” that’s being passed around.

Today, I found the joy in the routine and things seemed a little less routine somehow. Oddly though, now I’m having a hard time sitting still.

I sit for a bit and then I feel like walking. Problem is that while this is a beautiful town, it is small. This makes me feel like a gerbil caught in a wheel (or better one main street with a really amazing bridge). It only adds to my anxiety.

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It is like my body got revved up and can’t idle or turn off the engine.¬†

I absolutely loved my walk today. Right now, though, I feel a bit like an animal kicking at her cage.

As√≠ es la vida…

Buen Camino — aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Finding Joy in Routine – 200 miles to Santiago de Compostela

With Santiago de Compostela less than 2 weeks away from my feet, I notice something a little sad on this final part of the journey.

I seem to have lost the depth and spiritual breadth that I experienced in the begining.

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There is so much to learn at the start  that you might imagine that there would be less time for such contemplation than in the following weeks where one becomes a seasoned pilgrim.

I find that the day has become routine and in that the magic is lost. Much like it feels at home in our daily life.

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For me, my day is – wake, walk, eat, walk, arrive, shower, wash clothes, eat, siesta, dinner, sleep. Repeat.

How many of you can make a list like this for your life at home – maybe – wake, eat, work, gym?, home, eat, chores, sleep. Repeat?

It seems as though no matter where you go, no matter how exotic it seems at first, eventually routine sets in.

The challenge seems to be noticing how awesome things are around you DESPITE the routine you find yourself in.

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I think to myself, really it isn’t that this part of the Camino is less amazing than the begining. I’ve just learned to take it for granted and get into a routine where I am blind to it.

Maybe tomorrow I will try a different approach – at each step of my routine, I will ask of myself to notice something wonderful. I will pick up my head more and appreciate my environment as I walk – no matter how barren or busy the landscape.

Perhaps that’s the key to happiness – finding things to be grateful for amidst the routine of life.

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Buen Camino — aneternaltraveler ūüėČ