learning / play / reverse culture shock / transitions / travel

Day 18/28: When Your Soul Craves Adventure

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“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” – Paolo Coelho

My need to wander, explore, and create prompted me to go on a last minute trip to the beaches of El Salvador this weekend. Right now, I’m sitting in a pretty rustic room at a surfing lodge just steps away from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a simple set-up: bed, hammock, ceiling fan, a salty breeze coming through the window, and me wearing a tank top and cut-offs tapping away on my laptop. I had this sense of wanderlust that was not going to be quelled unless I packed my bags and hopped on a plane.

Am I even surprised this happened? 
Since returning to the States about two and a half months ago, it was only a matter of time my adventure-craving spirit would begin to be filled with this innate desire to roam. I was starting to get numbed by the predictability and the mundane. And, to deal with my boredom and angst, I started going down my go-to list of things I liked to do when I’m back in Texas. (I completed the list within a week.)

Houston may be the fourth largest city in the country, but wow, sometimes it feels like a tiny fishbowl. The constant questions, the incessant gossiping, the bickering on Facebook, the reminders and triggers about my past relationship and the discussions about our current political affairs….

It starts to make my mind numb and then eventually starts to make my spirit rage with resentment.

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What have I learned from all of this?
Nothing is perfect AND, ultimately, I still have a responsibility to create my own happiness and make a life that I can be proud to have.

I have also learned that back home in the United States we are easily tricked into thinking we need to have certain things, relationships, or milestones to be happy. If you are pursuing what you truly want, then I think that’s fantastic. But, I am also aware of this pressure people face especially when you choose to live your life on a more non-traditional trajectory (for example: remote living, digital nomad, and/or small business). 

Since returning to Texas, I have heard a lot of these dumb lies lately. If I hear them long enough, I can get lulled into believing these lies, and they can take me into a very dark place. I’m talking about the lies about who I have to be, what I have to accomplish, what I need to value, what my worth is, and how I need to achieve happiness.

Living in another country has taught me that I can ensure my happiness in so many other ways. I live in a more conscious and more connected state.

– If I walk everywhere I go, I don’t need to punish myself into going on a 6 mile run.

– If I spend more time outside, going on a hike, or just sitting on a balcony breathing in fresh air, I don’t need to binge watch Netflix.

– If I spend more time getting to know people who are different from me in my real life, I don’t have to get sucked into reading all the crazy racial and political nonsense flying around on social media.

– And, if I only have two suitcases worth of clothes that I already like, then I don’t obsess over what I look like.

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So, what does adventure look like to me?
Right now, I need to be living a life where I am still taking on the challenges of learning new things, sharing my passion for yoga and creativity, and feeling connected to a like-minded tribe of people.

And, I think adventure is more than that.

Adventure can mean unpredictability about a way of life that is so different from what you are used to.
–  Adventure is taking a leap of faith on an idea and walking away away from a mundane lifestyle.
– Adventure can be navigating your way through El Salvador with a cab driver who only knows Spanish.
– Adventure can be a long and intense conversation with a new friend as you make an arduous trek up in the jungles.
– Adventure is a long night laughing and dancing with your friends on the rooftop of a club while fireworks and an erupting volcano light up the sky.
– Adventure can be connecting with another kindred spirit who has walked away from the cubicle life and is starting his own NGO.
– Adventure can be a quiet weekend in a cabin, practicing yoga, and working on your latest creative writing project.

Ultimately, adventure is an incessant calling in my heart. And while adventure can be dangerous, I do have to agree with Mr. Coelho here. Routine is lethal. 

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