I’ve been pretty damn content these past few months. I dare say I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been. I say dare, because in my experience, contentment hasn’t been my default state of being for long. And I’m grateful for that, because I’ve been led to amazing discoveries and experiences, both internally and externally.
This feeling of contentment, though, it was nice. Different, unusual (insert Kath Day voice here), but I’ve recently drifted out of the state of, “I could just live out my days exactly like this and be happy,” towards yearning for the different and new again. There are a few things which sparked a feeling of adventure-lust in me, and one was doing something new (swimming with whale sharks). Another was reflecting back on my life and past travels; on my own life story which has taken place on four different continents in over 30 different countries.
I realised I have puzzle-pieces of my life all over the world.
I was chatting to some friends at dinner the other night and they were shocked to hear we would be leaving Playa del Carmen in February.
“But you will be back,” one of my lovely friends told me, half asking.
“Umm, maybe, probably,” I told her.
“You have roots here now, ” she told me, which was true, I do.
“Yes, but I have roots in a lot of places,” I told her, thinking about Asia and Europe and India and the little pieces of me I left in each place in exchange for the little piece of them I took with me.
I love it here in Playa del Carmen, there is no doubt about it. It has become home to me and we’ve cultivated a lifestyle here which is very agreeable to us. From our simple home, our friendly landlord, our neighbours, our gym, our favourite restaurants, our friends, that beach, it’s as close to perfect as life could get for us, hence wanting to spend a full year here, just living.
But I also love Thailand and Bali and India and Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, oh how I love Morocco, and I love the places I haven’t been yet like Tanzania, Antarctica, Colombia and Kenya. I really love those places too, and I hope we get to see them one day.
Yet a week ago, I was feeling anxious about the prospect of traveling again, wondering if in fact I even wanted to. Because traveling is hard and uncomfortable and unsettling.
It’s also one of the greatest loves of my life.
That’s not to say that I want to travel continuously for the rest of my life, but I’ll always travel in some capacity. As long as I can, I will. It’s like a fire that continuously burns within me, sometimes as smoldering cinders and at other times a roaring flame, but always burning.
My friend Kim (who I drove across India in an auto-rickshaw with) just published her first book, Life On Fire. It’s about locating the voice within that directs you to your life’s purpose, and following it to live the life of your dreams. Kim is a living example of listening to the voice of her soul which led her to seek out a life as a traveling writer. She weaves her personal experiences into the book, such as her story of losing weight, quitting smoking and becoming a marathon runner, along with the traveling and writing part.
It is very inspirational, but also practical, because she has actually done it and outlines exactly how. The very fact that she wrote and published a book and makes a living from her writing is a testament to her ‘walking the walk’. She doesn’t claim perfection or massive wealth but has managed to change her life to become a writer and travel the world, which she believes is her life’s purpose. According to Kim, everyone has one, but we get distracted along the way somewhere, and many of us even stop listening to the voice of our soul which is directing us towards happiness and fulfillment.
I can relate to that.
I’ve also witnessed the opposite, where someone is so completely in their bliss that joy just radiates out of them. When Tyrhone’s sister Taunee visited us earlier this year, we did a lot of things. We sky dived, we stayed at a beautiful hotel, we ate at great restaurants and snorkeled with turtles. But the day she was happiest was when we visited a nearby horse ranch for a ride along the beach. Animals are her greatest love, dogs and horses especially, and the smile etched on her face for the entire day was a testament to exactly where she needs to be – with animals.
I’m not sure why it’s easier to see in others than ourselves sometimes, but I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that if we had have left her at that dusty horse ranch for the rest of her life, she would have lived out her days in pure, contented bliss.
She currently works in the UK as a carer for people with special needs, which although is an important role, is not her dream job. I was delighted to hear the other day that she has enrolled in an animal behaviour and care course, and is one step closer to living her dream life among her four legged, furry friends. I just sent her a copy of Kim’s book (it’s an e-book available on Amazon) to help her along her way.
Because the world needs more happy people who do what they love.
Which brings me back to me…of course.
What is my purpose?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is one single thing I was put here on earth to achieve, which if I don’t I’ll be damned to a life of disappointment, but if I was going to put ‘the thing’ that makes me happy into words, what would it be?
I love to travel, yes, I love to write, yes, and I love to learn. I love to share what I learn – the stories about the people I meet and how the world has changed me. I love being transformed by the world and sharing the stories of how it happens. But I don’t necessarily see myself as a ‘writer’ because it’s not the writing itself which brings me joy. I enjoy it, yes, but if no-one was reading, it wouldn’t be meaningful to me. I don’t keep a diary or write for the sake of writing. Words themselves don’t really do it for me. What I do love is the process of translating a feeling into a thought, into a sentence, into an idea, then sharing it with others in order to connect with them.
I like to connect.
Through travel, through people, through writing.
I like to find the thread of commonality that links us together and makes us feel like we are one (which we are, I believe). I like to do that because it reminds me I’m not alone and tells you you’re not alone and that we are all in this together.
I like to share stories of kindness, compassion and generosity because that is what I have experienced in the world, even though the ‘news’ continually paints a different version. And I like to share my internal journey with others, because of the gifts I receive when people share theirs with me- connection, change and transformation.
So as contented as I have become here in Playa, the fire continues to burn within me, asking to be tended, trusted, and allowed to take me on the journey my soul desires.
All I need do, I suppose, is let it.
What fire burns within you? I’m giving away a copy of Kim’s book to one of you for your thoughts on ‘purpose,’ happiness, and living the life of your dreams (selected at random from the comments)! And if you have nothing to say but would like to be in the running to win a copy, just leave me a smiley face and you’re in the draw!