On staying and going

In less than two months, our visas are up, as is the lease on our apartment. It feels weird to have a deadline. They’ve been few and far between on this journey of no fixed plans, so I oscillate between dread and excitement as it approaches.

It’s not so much a case of how we feel about heading off to Guatemala in early February, it’s a question of how we feel about it today.

Our feelings change from minute to minute, day to day, and we have come to embrace this mixture of emotions which contradict and wrestle each other in a subtle tug of war.

Though ‘war’ would be the wrong word to use today. Today, I’m embracing the ‘I don’t know, not really sure-ness‘ of our approaching departure, which is laden with equal amounts of excitement and fear.

I am reminded of all the irrational fears I am faced with when change approaches (What if we don’t like it? – we go back, what if we find somewhere else we love and we don’t come back to Playa? – we will be happy, that’s a good thing) and how they are similar to those I had before we left Australia, only now they hold far less power over me because I have seen how the journey has panned out.

I’m almost reveling in the mix of emotions, for once being able to embrace the fact that I want to stay and go at the same time. I’m accepting the fact that it will be hard to leave behind the life we have found here, it will be hard to drive to another country, to decide what to do and where to go afterwards, because in my experience, the hard things are the good things.

I say ‘the life we have found’, because that’s the way it feels. We stumbled upon it without any expectations or intentions, which are always how the best things happen. We didn’t build a life here, it built itself around us, and it’s been the best year of both our lives.

Another reason to go with the flow, methinks, to let the rest of our lives unfold rather than be controlled. I’m like a child who wants to hold the pretty baby bird so tightly because it is The Best Thing Ever, but we all know that squished baby birds are not.

It’s not easy to let go, but it’s better.

It allows space for Life to happen.

And if this whole experience has taught me anything, it is that Life has a better plan for me than I could ever dream up.

I’ve also come to embrace the dwindling of time (after wrestling with the concept for a while) as a necessary motivator. Fittingly, good things are happening here for us. Tyrhone has been offered a new web design project for a large company and I’ve had a burst of inspiration for a new writing project. Of course, there is “Not enough time!” because “It’s almost Christmas!” and we have so many things to do while sharing a computer (Tyrhone’s broke and he is waiting on another) – it is always the way.

It is always the way, that when faced with limitation, life expands to fill the time we have. It’s a like knowing life is short and we must make the most of it, but struggling to practice it until faced with death, our own or someone close to us.

It is both a gift and a curse to be limited by time, but mostly a gift, for it allows us the pleasure to dive into our lives as though it were a dwindling ocean, to appreciate the brightness of it as though a fleeting supernova.

I’m being a little dramatic, of course, for it is in my nature to wrestle with Life, which flows surely as a breeze, unquestioning itself, through all my worry and fear; planning and excitement.

Occasionally though,  I’m given a glimpse of its wonder and I step back in windswept awe and say, “Wow.”

Photo of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala by Jimmy Dau.

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On staying and going — 21 Comments

  1. I think we all struggle with wanting to stay and wanting to go! When we were on the road, there were many bouts of homesickness if, for nothing else, the normalcy of knowing a bit about what to expect the next hour, or day, or week. And yet, now that we’re home, our feet our itching to be back on the road again, feeling tied down and despondent about being “stuck”. I HOPE we learned something last time and know enough to travel much slower, know to find places to call home along the way, even if just for a short time.
    Rhonda recently posted..Soaking in Southern ComfortMy Profile

    • Yes, it’s certainly a ‘first world problem’ to be pulled in two good directions! I think it is human nature to see things as more black and white than they really are, or at least, for me, to accept that we never really know what is going happen. Just like you experienced, ‘travel’ is great only when you have the passion for it, and ‘home’ is wonderful when you are in the space to enjoy it. Accepting that life is fluid and ever-changing and always paving the way for what is to come is something I am learning… slowly :-)

  2. Ah… the “what-if” factor, it gets me every. single. time. It doesn’t matter where we’re going or for how long or how far, the “what-ifs” sneak up on me almost from the minute we start to plan the next adventure. They’re brutal and play havoc with my head. If you ask me the night before we are scheduled to leave for anywhere, if I want to cancel, I’d say yes, but I wouldn’t mean it. Of course within an hour of actually leaving, I clear my head and wonder what in the hell was I so worried about and swear that next time I won’t do it. But next time rolls around and it’s the same old story. It’s quite the vicious cycle, but I’ve learned that it’s just part of my process. 😉
    Patti recently posted..See the U.S.A. – 4My Profile

    • Hehe, this cracks me up! When my friends ask me if we are leaving I say “yes” but I am in such denial it feels weird, like I’m scared to say it out loud!! I’m thankful that Guatemala is our first stop and I am actually really exciting about going there, otherwise, I may never leave :-)

  3. This is so beautiful, especially this line I love: life expands to fill the time we have. I have found that to be true as well. I have a feeling that there is a lot of life waiting for you out there Sarah. But if it doesn’t make you happy, you can always go back to Mexico. 2014 will be filled with exciting adventures. XO
    Kim recently posted..What a year it’s beenMy Profile

    • Thank you Kim! That’s right, you can’t have adventures without taking risks. They are not always the most comfortable option, but always provide the best lessons and experiences :-)

  4. The concept of time is a hard one to grasp. We are on the cusp of our own adventure and the past year leading up to it, especially this past month and a half, feels like some sort of a time warp. Time seems to be going way too quickly, but at the same time we have enough time to complete all we need to.

    You will love Guatemala – it is one of my favourite countries. The people are so kind. We loved San Pedro on Lake Atitlan and I highly recommend making it to Semuc Champey – absolutely beautiful!
    Emily recently posted..19 Days to Go: Reflections on 2013My Profile

    • It’s so much about our perception, isn’t it? When we came to Playa for a year, it was like, WOW a WHOLE YEAR and now, it’s drawing to a close it seems to have gone by in a blink. Thank you for the recommendations, I will definitely be checking out those places!

    • Yes, I’m getting excited, it looks like an awesome country. Plus, I hear the coffee is amazing, which is pretty much enough for me. It is a nice pic, isn’t it? 😉

  5. That photo is incredible. I’m excited to hear about your new adventure; I’m sure when the times comes it will be hard to leave but once you get going I bet you’ll relish being back on the road.
    Amy recently posted..Journeys from HellMy Profile

  6. Oh, how I know the feeling… This summer we travelled around Europe on bikes, and we had to leave somewhere beautiful every single day. In the beginning I thought “we’ll be back!” but then after 3 months with that feeling every day, I began to realize that maybe we won’t be back. Not to all of those places, anyway.

    But we’ve fallen in love with new, amazing places.

    I’m glad to see your fascination for Playa del Carmen, though. We’re going there the day after tomorrow, actually, and right now I just don’t want to leave beautiful Miami!

    But hey, I’m sure Playa del Carmen will be awesome :) Maybe we’ll even bump into you, since you’re there for some time now! 😀 Yay
    Celia recently posted..Photo Essay: My African Dream – Part 2My Profile

    • Hi Celia! I hope the rain clears for you!!! Yes it’s always hard to move on and make a change, but after writing this I am feeling confident we are doing the right thing, and am excited about the experiences Guatemala will bring :-)

  7. I could definitely do with taking some of the advice in this post. I am such a worrier – always wondering what such and such will feel like/what to do next. Learning to take it step by step, day by day is a lesson I have to work on every day. Have a lovely Christmas Sarah x

  8. Hey Sarah,
    I’m a recent discoverer of you blog and I just wanted to let you know how inspiring your whole journey is. I can tell from your writing that you will adore wherever you end up next, so just keep that in mind as you pack up. Playa del Carmen is fantastic… but it will also always be there to return to. The restless have to move… And if we ever end up in the same country/city at the same time, I would love to buy you a coffee. Because I love reading your blog :-)
    Turf to Surf recently posted..Sailing the Southern OceanMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Tasha!! And I love coffee so that sounds absolutely perfect to me!! I look forward to following your adventures too. Sounds very exciting! Xxx