As I write this, it’s been a month since we returned to Playa del Carmen. February was a short month, which gives me some comfort at the pace with which it seemed to fly by. The last month has been a home coming of sorts, but it has also been a time of huge change; we’re ‘settling down’ for an entire year after a year of roaming the globe. It’s what we want, but has required some adjusting and getting used to…
Thankfully, we are back in our ‘old place’ so there were no surprises there. We had considered looking for a bigger or a cheaper place, but after looking online at what was available, it seemed silly to risk being in a less accessible area that we didn’t know well, or to deal with a different landlord in a different building when we had enjoyed it here so much last year. So we are back in our little studio; a one room place with a kitchen, a table and chairs, a large bathroom, comfy bed, wardrobe, drawers, a ceiling fan and A/C. Oh and cable TV. We pay about $600 per month.
It’s cleaned weekly (yeeha!) and we have a lavanderia (laundry) on site that charges $1 per kilo for washing. The friendly caretaker Wilbert is always around pottering in the leafy garden and is always up for a quick chat in our limited Spanish. And as I have mentioned before, our landlord is just about the nicest guy in the world and that just makes things so much easier. Even some of our neighbours are still here from last time, so we’ve slotted back in well.
The biggest blessing about returning to Playa has been catching up with the friends I made here last time. I am very lucky to have a great group of women friends here, from Mexico, Canada and the States. Spending time with them makes my heart sing, as they are such a nurturing group. I feel so lucky to have met them.
I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some other travel bloggers here; Erin and Simon from Never Ending Voyage, and Earl from Wandering Earl. We met up with Erin and Simon a couple of times before they went to Cuba, and it was really great to meet them because I’ve been following their journey since before I started traveling full-time. Those guys are really doing it – blogging, developing apps and even starting a digital nomad coaching course soon which I’m really looking forward to.
Plus they are super nice people. Tyrhone and Simon enjoyed talking shop about everything from sci-fi to web-design, whilst Erin and I chatted about writing and FOOD. She has just written a fantastic vegetarian food guide to Playa and I am systematically making my way through her recommendations.
Lunch with Erin (right) and her friend Vilija (left)
I bumped into Earl the other day on the street. His blog was the first travel blog I ever read. Tyrhone put me onto him, and I’ve been following him ever since. He is the sole reason we decided to come to Playa del Carmen last year, and his friend Elizabeth found us the place we are living in now. I wanted to thank him and let him know how he had inspired us and impacted our lives, so when I saw him on the street I shouted out to him, then bounded over and began blabbing all the above mentioned stuff to him. He was a little surprised, but a really, really nice guy. He’s starting his tour around Mexico next week which looks really cool.
It’s really nice to be a part of this global community of people who are living life on their own terms whilst inspiring others to do the same. Those guys have all had a major impact on my journey and it was so awesome to meet them in person and realize that yep, we did it! Not in a ‘we’re so successful’ sort of way, because we feel like we’re just starting out, but that we took the leap, hoping that maybe, just maybe, we could be happy living a nomadic life, free from the confines of jobs we weren’t happy in and a mortgage that kept us tied to them.
We are so happy with our decisions and even though it was one of the most difficult and scary things I’ve ever done, I can’t imagine life any other way now.
And if I forget, I just need to look outside…
In saying that, this month brought challenges with it that launched me into a new set of self-imposed fears and insecurities. While Tyrhone began banging out chapter after chapter of his science fiction novel (I mean, REALLY?), I found myself either completely paralyzed before the keyboard or avoiding it completely in favour of ANYTHING ELSE.
All I have wanted for the last few months is to be here, in Mexico, with the time and the freedom to write this story I have inside me, and yet once I was given that chance I clammed up like a…well…clam, and the negative self-talk, doubt and fear just overwhelmed me and got me thinking, ‘what the hell am I going to with my life if I can’t write it?’ and, ‘Maybe I should stop being so silly and go and get a job selling timeshare.’
Thanks to being able to talk these things over with some wonderful friends, I have recently moved past that fear, and I can literally feel that self-imposed pressure melting away.
I will be okay. I can take little steps every day towards my dream. I love telling stories, and I think this one might be able to help someone. I want to write the book I wish I’d read three years ago.
So I’ll try.
The same goes with the blog. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself for it to succeed or to attract more readers, and I’m never happy when I’m in that place. I read this the other day which helped me shift out of that fear:
“When we act out of fear, we add to the sum total of darkness on the planet, and when we act out of love, we bring light to the world.”
I’m going for love! It may not get me huge popularity or monetary success, but I will feel happier and more productive acting from a place that sits right with me. Like this post. It may not be ground-breaking writing or award-winning photography, but I’m writing my truth and it feels really good.
It’s been so great getting back into yoga, and I am reaping the benefits of the practice. I need practice at being present and recognizing the perfection of each moment, and yoga (and meditation) gives me that. Yesterday, however, I was late to class and decided to hit the gym with Tyrhone. I’ll be honest, I don’t love the gym, but I was pretty impressed that I could jog on the treadmill for a few minutes without passing out. It feels good to be getting some fitness up.
Oh, and he quit smoking, which is pretty amazing. I’m so proud of him and as we speak he is hoeing into some peanut M&Ms instead of sucking down a cigarette (the lesser of two evils). The drug Champix has provided him with the support he needed to be able to throw his cigarettes away, and he’ll take it for another couple of weeks. I really didn’t expect this day to come but I am so happy it has.
I am not really prone to homesickness, and whilst there’s nowhere I’d rather be living than Playa del Carmen, lately I have been missing my family, especially my two little nieces. My oldest niece Olivia just started school, and my youngest niece Sophie is just starting to talk. They are so beautiful and I miss them like crazy.
Also one of my dearest friends is getting married this week. I have known Jyoti since I was 6 years old and it’s one of those rare friendships that has stood the test of time through the many twists and turns of our lives. It breaks my heart that I won’t be there to see her Dad walk her down the aisle, or to hear her and husband Alex say ‘I do.’ But they know I’ll be with them in spirit, and I’m just so grateful my beautiful friend is marrying a wonderful man who loves her the way she deserves.
An OLD photo of Jyoti and I in Dublin, 2008.
GOOD LUCK JYOTI AND ALEX! XOXOXOXO
Well that just about wraps up our first month in Playa del Carmen. Despite the challenges I’ve come up against, I am so grateful to be on this journey of learning and growth. I’m sure there will be many bumps in the road ahead, but also much love, laughter and joy. And I can’t really ask for any more than that! Thank you, as always, for following my journey and I wish you all the very best on yours.