Reinvention has been in the air lately. It seems like everyone we know is in the midst of formulating a plan to reinvent their life…to live a life closer to what they dream about. To break out of the mold a bit and go find what really makes them happy and just do that. Kyle and I are definitely no exception to this. We’re doing the same thing and, just like everyone else, we have a vision, a roadmap, a plan if you will.
Our plan was to spend the rest of this year in SE Asia, visiting India in the fall, before continuing to head West in January. And for a long time that plan was working great. SE Asia is an infinitely engrossing place….the people, the culture, the history, the food…it’s like nothing else you will ever experience. And we have relished our time here.
But over the past month or two of our journey, we’ve also begun to feel a bit lost, like we’re stagnating, and inspiration seemed to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.
“But we’re sticking to the plan” we told ourselves. Maybe new locations or new challenges will inspire us. Maybe we just need to take a break at the beach and not talk to anyone for a few days. Maybe we need a new project or to meet and travel with new people in order to get us excited about all the possibilities again.
Nope. Not this time. This time all of the things that usually relight the spark of adventure just weren’t working. We started to feel a bit lost and a general malaise began to settle in. We were in a funk, and we couldn’t figure out what to do about it.
And then, about a month ago, it occurred to us that perhaps what we really needed to do was to throw “the plan” out the window and figure out what we actually wanted to do right now. Because it sure wasn’t spend another 6 months in limbo here in SE Asia.
It’s no secret that we are traveling the world for many different reasons. Primary among them to have a grand adventure, to live out our travel dreams, and to discover this world. But equally important on this trip is the spiritual and emotional journey of finding the best place for us to live our life.
And that, my friends, is what got lost in all this focus on a plan. We forgot the most important reason we are here, living out of backpacks, traveling around, experiencing new things & meeting new people. It’s to find a place so special to us that we can’t imagine living anyplace else. In a way, what we are really doing is trying things on for size and seeing what feels right.
And what we have discovered is that we love SE Asia…a LOT. It’s definitely in our hearts. But, for many reasons, it is not that special place for us.
What we also discovered in the process is that Latin America most likely IS that place. It not only ticks all the boxes, but, even more importantly, it just feels right.
So we decided to completely reformulate our plan. About three weeks ago, the old one got tossed out the window and we started to come up with a new one that would have us leaving Asia much sooner (in August). And then a few other catalyst moments happened that compelled us to move up the timeframe even more dramatically.
It is with great excitement that I can finally share with you our new(ish) plan. We’ve decided to put the round the world trip on hold for a bit and go live in some of our favorite cities in Latin America.
This time next week, we’ll be getting on a plane back to the US. We will be in the states for about a month, taking care of some business that requires our actual physical presence. And then we’ll head off to Mexico for a few months. Our plan is to rent an apartment in a few of our favorite Mexican towns, and live in each of them for 4-6 weeks at a time, not as tourists but as expats.
In the fall, we’ll travel to Europe with my sister and her family (something we really wanted to do but that was impossible under the old plan). In the new year, we’ll head to some of our favorite places in Central and South America and live in them for extended periods as well. We’ll also take a bit of time to journey to India and Africa.
It’s time to start trying places on for size, in earnest, while also still journeying out and traveling the world. We’ve started a new vision board for our life after full time travel, and we’re slowly starting to piece together the life we envision ourselves having in the future.
I cannot describe how rapidly our funk lifted and how quickly excited anticipation washed away our malaise once we decided to do this. It’s the right thing for us to do at this time. And the world? Well, it will still be there. We will never stop traveling.
In the movie Dan in Real Life, Steve Carrell plays a father and columnist who writes a parenting advice column for a newspaper. At the end of the movie, his final words of wisdom are about “life plans and how we all make them.” He urges his readers to “plan to be surprised.”
It has been one of my favorite “ideas to live by” since I first saw this film years ago. But, in all the focus on our plans, we forgot about it and didn’t make room for surprise & all the possibilities it can open up. For some reason, we forgot about being flexible, even though we always urge everyone else to make sure they build flexibility into their goals. And the universe stepped in and reminded us in a big way. Plan to be surprised, dear readers. It’s just what we are planning to do.
Oh, and los pinguinos…they are coming back too.