Traveling is a choice. We can chose to make time for it or leave it for our dreams. It takes making it a priority and follow through.
I say this all the time but you never will have enough money, or enough time, or the perfect scenario for traveling. Just do it, like today. Like right now.
I came back to the United States in May 2014 after being gone one and a half year in South America. I am not going to lie, I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to visit Seattle, my hometown, after feeling the need to connect with family and friends. I wanted to sleep in the same bed for longer than 2 days. I wanted a warm shower with my shampoo! Every time I walked into the same house, to find my bed, my clothes, my jewelry, my food etc, I almost became overwhelmed with thanks and appreciation. The gift of being in one location and building community is such a luxury! Never had I looked at my life from this perspective and still 6 months later I feel the same way. Its ingrained in me. I got rid of almost everything that I own in those months and really love to live the life in a more simple way.
So I worked 6 months in a bar and restaurant and made some wonderful friends and great money. Life was good! I was riding my bike, I was reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I even displayed my artwork in 3 different Seattle locations. My art inspiration was pouring out of me and my family was feeling closer than ever. Everything that I had dreamed life would be back home midst traveling was exactly the way I thought it would be and more. I got everything that I wanted. Really, it was all right in front of me. So…why wasn’t I able to live out that life with full happiness? There was a little something in the back of my heart that was trying to tell me…something wasn’t right.
There are constantly times in our life where our heart speaks. It is doing it all the time. Turn left or turn right. This would be good for my body and maybe this would be maybe not the best. We make choices. Sometimes its literal and sometimes its nothing more than a breeze in the air that gives us a certain feeling. It is different for everyone. The heart is a small (or large) feeling in the back of our hearts that pulls on us in little tiny ways, and the only way we can listen is to be silent and trust. It is a small muscle that will grow so strong with practice and patience. And yes, absolutely this sacred gift is within each of us. We already know deep down what we need and want. It is just a matter of listening and acting upon that feeling, and that is what’s so beautiful about life: we are constantly having to make decisions and choices and its all up to our own individual hearts in the end.
The outcome of all choices will be beautiful either way. What is important is that we aware of where it comes from and how it makes us feel. In my life, I listen to my heart all the time. I choose to take risks, become uncomfortable, change the way I see things constantly to understand the world in a more harmonious and deeper way. That way works for me! I want to speak about growth with a stranger, with a loved one, with the nature. I want to soar higher than I ever knew possible. I want to push my body in ways I didn’t know it could go. I want to climb mountains and sail oceans. I want to learn new things constantly. I want to speak Spanish for months on end and I want to live my life the way my heart feels is right. Is there logic there? Absolutely not. Is there love there? Why that is what is fueling it.
So I made a decision to leave the life was comfortable and in January 2015 and was off to Oakland, California where I used to live for 2.5 years. There I found my good friends in a cooperative house living situation. Sharing food, house meetings, garden, giving to the community and working together to live a sustainable and healthy life collectively. Musicians, artists, open communicators, activists and heart followers. In this house I found my friends who were ready to take on a adventure with me. The adventure I had dreamt of – Bike touring.
I met a dear friend of mine, Lukas from Germany while traveling in Peru. We traveled together for a couple of months after meeting at a mediation retreat near Cusco. We shared so much together: painting, singing, trying new things, cooking, learning Spanish, English and German and making new friends. Lukas was traveling by bike. He was the first cyclist I met that had toured. I would hear his stories, see his pictures and how different of a perspective his travels were contrasted to mine (buses and hostels).
Ever since meeting Lukas I knew this would manifest for me in my life. I didn’t know that it would be this soon, and I was not prepared but when are you ever? When the opportunity is there you must take it! So I link up with old friends in Oakland who have made this trip two years in a row, onto their third. I had trust that I could learn the ropes from them, and travel with some friends for a bit. The group we cycle with is a band and we are called “Bicicletas por la paz” translating into Bikes for Peace. We play Latin circus funk and we carry all our instruments and have gigs lined up along the way as we travel by bike. We camp in campgrounds, in random places off the highway, in friends houses, use warm showers (couch surfing version for cyclists) and we meet beautiful people that take care of us.
Its going to be an amazing ride southward and I am up for the challenge. I cannot wait to see the different landscapes of California and Mexico in a new way. I do not have any plans. I don’t know when I will return, quit my job and moved my things into two boxes. What I do know that I will be following my heart and that is what I do best! I don’t have any answers, there is no “right way” to live. We just have to find what is right for us!
To end, as I was preparing for my trip I emailed Lukas asking for advice. This is what he had to tell me: “For your Journy I wish you happynes and fullfilment and that you will meet beautifull people. If the situation around you is difficult, you only have to conact with a silence place inside you. There is no fear, no problems. This is the reality. Loos all fear and trust in every moment, you are so strong! The most important things for a your Journey, is your Opinel knife a good tend and a air mattress…If you buy one, you will love it! But the most impotant thinks you need are not heavy but so beautfull. A huge bag full of confidence and the next bag full of patience and you need always a open heard. If you have this, the material things dont have a big importance.” -Lukas