We have two weeks left here in our apartment in Playa del Carmen. Our time here is winding down, and whilst I am looking forward to discovering more of Mexico when we leave, I am also sad to leave the lovely home we have created here. Cooking lunch yesterday, I wondered what it is about this ‘different kind of normal’ that I love so much.
Obviously the experiences we have had here and the sights we have seen have been wonderful, but it’s so much more than that. Perhaps the beautiful location, and the fact that we have a comfortable little home to sleep, work and relax in; yes that’s definitely a part of it. Learning some Spanish and making new friends – that too.
But most of all I feel like we have found our own version of ‘normal’, a way of life that encompasses work, travel and relaxation, resulting in a sense of fulfillment I have never felt before.
Now I think back to how worried I was to give up a life that didn’t make me happy and I feel like wrapping my arms around my former self saying, “It’s going to be okay.”
Because it is. It’s better than okay.
Having the option to wear a sarong all day (and often doing it) may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, making lunch for their partner may not be much of a big deal, but when I think back to how unhappy I was before, pushed for time and always feeling like I was one step behind, always trying to catch up, simple things like that feel like heaven to me.
And it amazes me that even though I have less money coming in than for as long as I can remember, having complete choice over what goes out fills me with a wonderful sense of freedom. I remember back to the things I bought and did to make myself happy, and how they were just band-aids for what was really happening.
I wasn’t living the life I was meant to.
I was living in a way I thought I should, trying to ‘get ahead’ so that one day I would have the freedom to do as I pleased, only I forgot to ask myself what it was that pleased me. Asking that question, even without having a clear answer, seemed to realign the sails of my life, and from then the winds conspired to propell me forward, sometimes with a wisp, and other times a gale.
Some people might think of this lifestyle we have as difficult, unsettling, and ‘gypsy-like.’ It can be all those things. But there is a simplicity that suits us; we own very little, yet have all we need; the beach, delicious food, and cable TV!
I really mean it with that last one, we love TV and movies! This is not a lifestyle of ‘lack’ or denial, of replacing old masks with new ones, we’re just living the life that suits us right now, and if that means watching marathons of Keeping up With the Kardashians, then so be it! (Yes, I love it!)
I really feel like we followed our hearts here, which is as important in travel as it is in life. I loved our initial few months traipsing around Asia, and have so many wonderful memories, but that lifestyle wasn’t sustainable forever. I feel so much more fulfilled having time to make friends, get involved in exciting projects, write and read, than bouncing from place to place all the time. There will be plenty of that ahead too (like say, driving an auto-rickshaw 3,500 km across India), but for now, my ‘different kind of normal’ is the best one I’ve ever known, and I’m so grateful I found it.
*Subscribe to my updates to receive them via email!