It all started back in 2012, after seven years of living in California and having recently graduated from University of California Santa Cruz. I said ” I am done with this routine, with dating flaky California surfers (sorry), I am done with this culture of going with the flow, of political correctness and potlucks and I am done with cold weather and weird micro-climate pockets. Enough. This is my chance to unsettle and go.”
With no more academic commitments tying me down, I really wanted out of California. I just wanted to be free to go wherever I pleased. And so I did.
I waitressed at an Italian restaurant and put some savings aside. I sold all my things. My car, my Craigslist vintage blue dressers, my 90’s egg shaped white table, my mountain bike, everything. I kept some clothes and shoes and art and put that in storage. I flew to Italy for Christmas and started a diligent research of where it is I wanted to go. It felt so good to be surrounded by snow and yet research all sorts of dream places, from Caledonia Island to Barbados and even Hawaii. I was researching places to take my yoga teacher training. Which made little sense since I had just majored in Legal Studies, but whatever. This was my time to explore. I knew my next place had to be warm, tropical and give me a concrete ability to teach yoga as soon as I graduated my program.
I ended up in Miami. I took my training, started teaching and working, and after a year of subletting various apartments I decided to leave. I wanted more, or maybe I actually wanted less. So I ended up in the Osa Peninsula Costa Rica. I loved the freedom it gave me. No traffic, nowhere to be, no rushing places, no one to impress with clothes or lifestyle. It allowed me to go back to simplicity and to the roots of what mattered. Of course I could tell It was a very different lifestyle than well, most. Dirt roads, limited access to just about everything, outdoor living. But I didn’t care, I liked it precisely because of that. Because it was for the misfits and for the rebels and for those who want to live unconventionally, which had always been me.
Then life took me back to California where I taught yoga, house sat, crashed with family and friends but still never settled. The thought of having to commit to staying in one place gave me anxiety. I’d always say “I don’t even want to own a laundry bin”, while priding myself for being so care-free that I could pick up and go anywhere in the world on a whim if I chose. I made my travels affordable by staying with friends and finding jobs on the side.
And so life went on, taking me once again back to Costa Rica for a while, and then back to California, with long trips in Italy in between.
I would sometimes look at those friends who had more settled lives and envy their creature comforts and their stability. I would long after their expensive beauty products, their Anthropologie dresses and their mid-century modern furniture. It made me want to crawl on their couch and feel safe and protected and decorate their house with them. But I always deep down knew that what I got on the flip side of the coin was also something so gratifying that tasted and felt like freedom, which was my absolute priority at the moment.
Sure, there were down sides to the travel lifestyle. For one, never having my own place really. Which meant I could never just “stay home” and tune out the rest of the world for some R&R and introspection because I was a guest most of the time. I also ended up traveling quite heavy, because I would often hit up several destinations of different climates so I needed a little bit of everything to get by. And then of course with the lifestyle comes the classic financial instability, which was difficult to some degree, but I still realized came with the gig. The gig of being free and having no commitments and no plans; how refreshing.
After the fourth year of this lifestyle I started to find traveling all the time and lugging my things everywhere exhausting. I developed more of a desire to spend my time in Costa Rica only, which in and of itself is already a challenge and an adventure. So I thought okay, here I am, living here ain’t easy, but I am ready. I’ll slowly get more established in Costa Rica and keep traveling for my yoga retreats and other vacations and that will be my comprise to a “freer” life.
After a few years of trying, I realized that living in the jungle in a very remote area of Costa Rica hardly ever feels like settling. It feels more like surviving and constantly figuring out how to get by.
That’s when I decided to make a radical change. And the thing is, it felt right and it felt good. I was no longer fearing the laundry bin ownership. I fact, I was craving it.
And that is when I put my name on a lease and it felt so damn good.