listening to inner feelings

Curiosity & Desire Retreat

Hola!

As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.

But first...the backstory...

We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.

New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.

Some of you will think this is cr-azy

and some of you will think it's co-ol!

Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.

There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.

My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity. 

The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:

  1. I set aside precious time and space for me.
  2. I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves. 
  3. I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
  4. I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
  5. During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
  6. During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!

I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.

If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams. 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)

The Dips

During a particularly deep "dip in our trip," I made this 2-minute video to share about it. (Pardon the occasional wind noise.) Little did I know, it was going to get a little deeper before I made my way out of it.

Here are the links to the books I mentioned in the video: 

The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers

The vast simplicity of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is one of my favorite spots.

Back to that dip I was talking about. It continued until we took a longer break in Santiago, and I dug deeper into my basic needs to understand why I was so off-kilter. 

Like cream rising to the surface of fresh milk, letting go of everything I know to take this trip has allowed my needs to rise above my wants. By letting go of my house, job, friends, family, exercise routine, relaxation rituals, stores I like to shop in, restaurants I like to eat in, closet full of clothes and shoes, jewelry...you get the idea...I've had a chance to distinguish between my needs and wants in a new way.

Here's where I am now. I've let everything go. We're still traveling so I can't put my whole life back together again but, I can make choices about my basic needs. That's where I'm focused. I'm identifying my "minimum requirements for self care" (a term used by Jennifer Louden) so I feel like myself, comfortable in my own skin. Louden's writing prompts have helped me to get at the topic from some new angles.

For example, some of what I've learned is that time alone on the bike isn't enough for me. It was easy to get time to myself at home but on the road, I have to let Keith know that I need a few hours to myself with no interruptions. This is hugely important for my sanity and I wasn't giving it to myself! Another example is what I've started calling stretch projects, in which I challenge my mind or body or heart. The time I spent creating my ebook, Journaling Whys & Hows, fed my need to share about a topic that's super-important to me and to be visually creative. As a "thank you" for reading my blog, I'm giving it to you for free! Use the promo code thankyou.

I'm pretty sure I've made it through the dip in our trip. I've learned more about my basic needs, am in the midst of a 2-week (or more!) break in Santiago, Chile at an awesome hostel with other motorcycle riders, and Keith and I are laying out the next to last leg of our trip, which will take us to our goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. We haven't quite figured out the last leg involving how or when we go home, yet.

Whew. Who knew there would be so much to learn when we left our house 443 days ago!

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 2 of 10

The massive trunk of this tree and all its burls, curves, and branches, make me think of the many dialogues that happen within us to shape us into who we are. This tree is located in Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico and has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world! Its age is unknown, somewhere between 1,500 to 6,000 years old. 

Lesson 2 of 10: Magical Trio

Had I listened to the pain shooting down my arm earlier, I would not still be nursing my rotator cuff. Thanks to our friend Jennifer, the Physical Therapist, I know how to tend to it and am slowly mending.

I’m learning to appreciate that my body is communicating with me all the time. It says, “stretch me, exercise me, rest me, massage me, feed me,” and more. Whether I’m home or on the road, I can unconsciously let the noise of other demands from life override my physical feelings. I’m surprised by how often my mind (consciously and unconsciously!) denies my body’s simple requests. But it’s deeper than that.  

I’m appreciating the interaction between my mind, body, and soul, and doing my best to pay attention to the conversation going on inside me. What a magical trio we have inside us.

Since my life has slowed down, I can see the moving parts with more clarity. Right now, I’m sitting on the front porch of a cabana 20 yards away from the warm Pacific Ocean in Mexico on Zipolite Playa. My inner dialogue this morning went something like this: My body was hungry when I first woke up so I fixed oatmeal and coffee. Then, my body wanted to go for a walk but my soul really wanted to journal. My soul won on this one. Then, my mind wanted to work on this blog post so, here I am. I know. The walk lost out but I’ll do it at some point today. It’s a never-ending give and take.

I know that when I take care of myself, I’m deeply happier, and I have more of the best of me to give everyone around me. As I share from a joy-filled place, I’m contributing to the swirl of good juju in the world.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene