But my health has been improving and I was itching to go on an adventure! I got the go ahead from my doctors and I booked my tickets. Being overseas is a part of me. I started taking volunteer trips with my family when I was 9, first to Mexico, then to a remote Alaskan village, then to Ecuador. I lived in Panama for 2 years in middle school and beginning of high school, Europe after college for about 8 months, and Spain when I was 30. I crave the adventure and freshness of a new environment.
But foreign travel isn’t a walk in the park. It’s actually quite challenging, being in a place you aren’t familiar with, far from home and its comforts. But that is exactly why I love it. I feel alive in ways I simply don’t when I’m in the comfort of my own environment and routines. There’s a beautiful space where awakened awareness and presence creates magic.
Puerto Rico was simply amazing, filled with fun excursions each day like surfing, rappelling, jumping off waterfalls, spelunking, seas fishing, zip lining, and jungle hiking. I knew I’d be challenged and out of my comfort zone while traveling, but just wasn’t sure how that would all play out. It all played out in a beautiful blend of discomfort, adrenaline, and bliss each day. At times I was extremely cold, dripping wet in dark caves deep in the ground. Other times I went squelching hot on a boat in the sun. The layovers and unexpected delays on hellishly long travel days certainly tried my patience. And most nights I had passed the point of fatigue and functioning while still being out with the group.
It’s funny though; I knew it would be challenging, and then when it actually was, I’m like, ‘why did I do this?’ But the new heightened and engaged experiences remind me why I willingly put myself in a less controlled environment: I FELT ALIVE.
How can I bring that sense of engagement here in my more comfortable life? How can I carry with me the attitude of flexibility and patience when things are uncomfortable and stretching beyond my limits? Of Engaging in activites that scare me a bit. Of connecting with and seeing people more each and every day?
Here are a few things that I thought of that will continue to engage me more fully, even when I’m not in the unique experience of being oversees.
Meditation: The habit of doing this daily puts me in the present, the stillness, the Beingness, which then guides me to live the rest of the day from that space. It helps, but it doesn’t completely stop the influence of the busy pace or my own agenda from getting in the way.
Learning and trying new things: This year has been a fun revolution for me with learning. I started taking improv classes and have now performed several times in front of a live audience. I’ve also tried ballet, Barre classes, Ariel yoga, and trapeze. I’m currently taking a course on healing better though energy and intuition. Even though I’m not usually good when I start, I experience the rush of trying something new. Every time we do something new, we change our brain chemistry (trendy topic of neuroplasicity).
Saying YES to relationships: Relationships take time and effort, but they are one of the core elements that make this life all worth it. It’s easy for me to avoid connecting and just be by myself. But being consistently, lovingly intentional and authentic with people in my life and even people I don’t know opens me up to a perspective and depth and I will not obtain just going it on my own. New life always come from connecting.
Being in Nature: This is a key piece in helping me engage more with life at its very core. I am reminded of endless Beauty of what is always around me. The lessons I learn from the pace and the activity of nature are constant and applicable to my everyday life. One example: Slow the fu*k down and just BE.
Having balance and creating space for self-care and healing: I must take care of myself, or else I don’t have the fresh energy to enjoy life. Taking care of myself is a full time job it seems, but it feels so good to feel good, you know? It’s essential to have the energy to truly see, enjoy, connect, and stay encouraged.
There are many things that happen each day out of my control, and while they aren’t always coupled with potentially adventurous activities, I still have the choice to be patient, flexible, and embrace the Flow. I still have the choice to try and learn new things that heighten my awareness and change my brain chemistry. I can still slow down my life to connect with the endless beauty that is always around me. I can still always take time to heal and reflect and rejuvenate. I can still live outside of my comfort zone and embrace new adventures HERE.
If there is one thing you get from all of this its this:
It’s not about doing more but a matter of intuitively asking yourself how else you can BE more intentional about engaging in habits and activities that grow, challenge, excite, and connect you on a regular basis.
I encourage you to ask yourself how else you can engage in more life, connection, growth, and love that we all have access to every moment of every day!