You Be You

It all boils down to this, really. Be you. Do you. Become the YOU that you love, and plan for the future you want. The future that will make you thrive as the person you want to live with. Be kind. Be good to those you love. Be good to yourself. Because at the end of the day, no matter who’s in and who’s out of your life, you will ALWAYS be stuck with yourself. Love and make time for yourself, you know? It’s not selfish. It’s truth, because you can’t give real love to anyone if you haven’t enough for yourself.

Planning for your future in a real and concrete way is great. Just don’t get carried away and become so rigid in your planning that you don’t leave the essential space to adapt. Because things change. You change. And life always throws some weird, sometimes sweet, sometimes shit, things your way.

If a new opportunity presents itself and you want it more than what your plan dictates, to say NO would be a disservice to yourself. I believe that if something excites you, then you should always retain the freedom to pursue it. Nothing planned should dictate your inability to spontaneously change course if the new path is exactly where you want to be. No matter where you go follow the truth in yourself, and it will always take you exactly where you need to be.

Trust your intuition more than your mortgage, more than the voice that says you aren’t enough, more than any institution that makes you believe that you are bound more to THEM than you are to the pursuit of self love and growth.

In short- if you are to be honest with yourself, then leave room for some spontaneity in that plan of yours.

For the Maybe Traveler

Today, I spent my first full day in León, Nicaragua. I live here now. And if you (like me) have experienced being stuck in a rut, and might like to live somewhere new and different then this post is for you. I’ve been in the country a whole week now and this is (so far) an account of everything I know to be true. I’ll go ahead and warn you there isn’t much to tell, because, well… it’s been a week and I don’t know shit.

First off; leave your life to chance when you travel here, but that goes for anywhere.

14332932_10153977861497183_6326439771388045655_n
My house, and my work
14368646_10153977839532183_2358727280927379451_n
Masaya Volcano

And that’s it. That is everything I know. Not satisfied with it? Well this post, like everything I do, isn’t very well thought out. But that’s okay- I learn through existence. And I like it here. Taking massive risks seems to me the surest way to enjoy an experience as awesome as this.

I choose to exist the way I do precisely because of the opportunity I am given to embrace unknowable things. I crave new experiences, because the more I learn the less I know. If you’ve never been here (or anywhere on your own for that matter) and think you may like to buy a one-way ticket, then just do it. Leave your life to chance, embrace the wildness of everything that frightens you, and enjoy a moment in time you will never regret.

My Last Minute Life

I’m no good at leaving places, because I’m no good at planning anything. Having some money in the bank, booking a plane ticket, and packing a bag (without forgetting my passport) is my idea of really having my shit together. It’s when I arrive at the airport, like I did today, in complete and total disarray, that my ridiculous reality reveals itself.

Rewind a few hours to me packing for an open-ended trip south. In what became, as it always does, the hour of franticness, I packed more of what I didn’t need and less of what I did. Who takes two sweatshirts and two base layers to hot, humid Nicaragua? I did that.

And now, here I am. Outside the international terminal of LAX. Carelessly, I haven’t even checked my departure airline. And unless I can get my expired phone linked up to WiFi, I’ll be out of luck. I’m walking a thin line, here.

After some time fumbling with a weak connection, I figure out I’m in the wrong terminal altogether. My layover is in Vegas, so I’m flying domestic. Okay, that’s one thing sorted, but what about the onward ticket I never purchased? I need proof of leaving Nicaragua in order to be let in on a 90-day tourist visa. And it’s something I’ll apparently need to figure out before even checking my bag. Anxiety sets in like the familiar fog of this morning’s hangover. A cold beer sounds like the right remedy, but there are a few things to be sorted beforehand.

My under-preparedness is stifling, but realistically there’s no other way. Some deep breaths and I’ll have to get on with it. I don’t plan well, and I know that if I plan things too far in advance I’ll end up talking myself out of ever doing anything. I change my mind so chronically, in fact, that a friend recently observed it may be in my best interest to never make plans further than a day in advance. Because if given the time I will change my mind. And it will be—as it always is—frantic, and totally last minute.

I may not have thought so far in advance about buying an onward ticket, and I may have no idea how to get where I’m going after my plane lands, but these are a few of many things I’ll wind up procrastinating indefinitely.

Which brings us here. I’m finishing this post from a woven hammock at GM Granada Hostel in Granada, Nicaragua, enjoying a cold Toña, and watching the beautiful tortugas relax by their pond. I count 11 turtles. Luck, fortunately seemed to be on my side on this one. In the end I was never asked by anyone to present proof of onward travel. I caught the first taxi from the airport in Managua willing to take me to the city of Granada per my offer. And now I can laugh at the fact that in spite of my logistical ill-preparedness, I made it to exactly where I want to be.

Never ‘Enough’

Nothing is ever ‘enough’ for you.  

My friend said this to me yesterday, but she isn’t the first. My Ex had emphatically expressed the same sentiment for years.

I considered the comment. Wellthat’s a good position to be in… I said, unsure whether to feel critical of my demanding nature, or perhaps self-assured by it.

Don’t you think? I added.

The truth is that I don’t want to find my happiness living an ordinary life. I want seek out experiences that turn my stomach to knots. I want to take chances, to laugh wildly (if at times nervously) in the midst of uncertainty. I choose to be restless and unsatisfied. And I only hope that I may continue to passionately  chase my dreams, that I may continue to dream, knowing that as long as I live I will never have experienced “enough”.

Of course, plenty of people living ordinary lives seem much happier than me.  They have a Doctor they see, and a Dentist. They attend community events, and grow gardens. They have families, and foundations, and love surrounding them. They have a network of support within their communities. They celebrate holidays, and plan their vacations properly. They punctuate their calendars with exclamation points!! They feel comfortable in their homes and their careers, as they build a future.

I, on the other hand, live out of a backpack. I moved to Olympia a few months ago, where I sleep on a couch in the living room of a friend’s apartment. I’m leaving my new job in a few weeks. I feel pretty lonely because I haven’t been here long enough to make strong connections. I daydream constantly. I am constricted because I don’t have a car, and my new bike was stolen. I imbibe considerably, and complain that I’m not hiking enough. My life is very far from perfect, which is everything I need.

I can- and I will- demand more. This place is as temporary as anywhere else, because what I’m looking for isn’t a place to settle into, but rather a point to jump off from. Although it has led me on some unnerving adventures, my passion is ultimately what guides me. And I like that. I like asking my heart, Where to next?

Lost

Last month I bought a one-way ticket to Bali. Last week I stood inside the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, at the gate, ready to board. It was 12:50AM and in eighteen hours I would be sipping fresh juice on an Indonesian beach somewhere. Minutes passed, allowing exhilaration to become something else. I became dizzy. I suddenly didn’t know why anymore. What was I even doing!? I paced the lounge. I spoke with the clerk. I meant to ask a routine a question about boarding procedures, but then I heard myself asking if it was too late to take my checked bag off the plane. It wasn’t too late. Something was wrong. They removed my bag and I didn’t get on the plane. Instead, amid boarding calls for flight 255 I turned around and walked the other way- in a zombie-like stupor.

In the month leading up to that moment I had rented out my room in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, sold my car (for much less than I’d like to admit), quit my job (that I loved), and said goodbye to some friends. I left without saying goodbye to a lot of people I love. And I hurt a few friends in my abruptness. But I did it all to accomplish the dreams I’d been talking about for years.

BetsyCell oct15-apr16 1219
One of my last Colorado sunsets from Rabbit Ears Pass
But when I stood at the airport, I knew it wasn’t right. So I walked away, wondering fearfully if this night was what I would remember for the rest of my life as the literal moment I walked away from my deepest aspirations.

Yes. I had big ideas of seeing the world. And this was always my dream, but this adventure now wasn’t THAT dream. It was a different one. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was running toward this adventure- in that erratic way- for the wrong reason. I lied to myself over and over about the reason I needed to travel the world right now. Truthfully, it was for someone else. Again. I’d been chasing the same boy around the world for three years. And, in the process I stopped knowing myself. This boy is someone who has given me some of the best times of my life. He is my best friend, and without him life just isn’t as good. Nothing makes sense when he’s not there, and I don’t know how I’ll forgive myself for leaving him like that. I’d rather not think about it, but I’m pretty sure that this time I’ve really lost him. He left Bali yesterday. He’s off in Europe now. And that’s all fine, because I’m done chasing.

1012363_10151554664777183_670874487_n
2012. First time in Bali
At some unknown point I stopped thinking for myself, and I ceased to be free. So I’m here, now. In Olympia, Washington. I really never would have guessed I would walk away from that comfortably chaotic love to live here again. But here I am. Life is unexpected in that way, and that’s okay. Whether I find myself here or not, it’s a fine place to be lost. For now.