Homeward Bound: My personal journey through long-term travel

Some days it feels like we just left, other days it seems  like we have lived an entire life time here in Costa Rica.

Today is the day we land home in Victoria. My heart feels like it is going to burst just typing this. I have had so many moment lately where I’ve pictured the hugs I’ll be giving and it has brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

Today is also a final day of reflection, 24 hours worth of travel time will do that to you. I find myself continuing to come back to a moment that occurred a few days before we left for Costa Rica. I was laying in bed, sick with worry. I turned over to Shaun and asked him what we would do if I couldn’t “handle it”, could we just come home?

I had never travelled for longer then three weeks, and I was so worried about the trip. What if I couldn’t handle being away from my friends and family. What if I couldn’t live a life so drastically different from the one I lead at home. What if I just couldn’t do it.

I was holding on to so much fear about our travels. I was holding on to so much fear about life.

This is how I was choosing to live my daily life. I lived from the foundation of fear, the foundation of the “what if?” The end result was that I wasn’t truly living.

Going into this trip, I knew that something needed to change. And as I reflect back on what I’ve learned, I find myself in awe of what occurred over the past 5 months.  I didn’t actively pursue change, change pursued me. As soon as I opened my heart to all the possibilities my journey of self-discovery unfolded before me in an almost magical way.

I’m not a different person, I’m not coming home completely changed.  I’m coming home with an understanding of who I am deep down, and what I want out of life.

I’m coming home and it’s time to Shine.

As for the blog…

Can you believe that I actually still have stories to tell? As of today, I will post on the blog twice a week to finish up the last few stories of our trip. After that, the blog will transform into something that excites me to no end.

But you’ll just have to wait to see that chapter unfold…

Until then my friends, Pura Vida

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Final Days of Travel: Learning to Live in the Moment

I didn’t think that the last leg of our travels would be this hard.

With 6 days left before we touchdown back home, I’m finding it more and more difficult to fight homesickness. My mind constantly wanders to my family and friends, and I find myself planning all sorts of things that I want to do when I get back. These feelings have resulted in days seeming long, and some moments where, well, I’ve been kinda miserable

There…I said it. I’ve been a grumpy bear this week. Poor Shaun has had to deal with a very homesick wife.

Of course, I recognize I need to change my tune. I’m actively choosing fear over love. If I’m not careful I’m going to waste the last few previous moments I have on this adventure looking forward instead of standing still.

I often find myself taking moments to appreciate my surroundings, but it is always in obvious ways, like when I’m watching a sunset of when I’m laying in a hammock. In those moments, its easy to be present, and appreciate the beauty and tranquillity that surrounds me

It’s the mundane times that I find challenging. Evenings where it is dark early, and no amount of Netflix or crazy eights are going to keep me entertained. Or days where I’m faced with a very hot walk to the store to get groceries. There are so many instances during my day where my mind wanders, I start thinking about home, I get lonely and I’m no longer present.

I started reading about ways to “be in the moment” and although I agree with most things I’ve read, I still didn’t really know how I was going to go about doing it. It’s easy for me to be present when I’m reading something about it, but as soon as I put my book down, I forget. The mind is a powerful thing and it will wander where it wants to wander.

I needed a concrete exercise to help me stay present, so I chose a day last week and decided to make myself a reminder.

I set an alarm on my phone for every hour. Whenever it went off, I took note about what I was thinking about. Most of the time it was about home, or something in the future. I took a second to appreciate that thought and let it come to an end.

Then, I took a deep breath and really looked at my surroundings. I would to myself, what am I grateful for in this moment? What do I want to remember? It didn’t have to be big things. Some of the things I noticed were all of the hibiscus in bloom, the amazing feeling of walking into a room with a/c, or a wicked huge Iguana. All things that I know I won’t have when I get home.

Taking time to appreciate and feel grateful for those little things helped keep me in the present moment.

This exercise totally falls into the “practice makes perfect” category. I found that after doing it for a while, it started to happen naturally. Now I have an alarm set for twice a day, but find I’m finding I am much more naturally present throughout the entire day.

So, if you are every finding yourself in a situation where you are spending to much time looking back or looking forward, try this exercise to help train yourself to stand still.

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For more on the evolution of my philosophies and “kateness” visiting my Philosophy page.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Why Choose Fear?

For those of you are Rent fans, I hope you read the title with the necessary musical inflections in which I wrote it!

Today we are going to dive into a little Philosophy of Kate…Kateosophy? Hmmm, maybe not, sounds like an invasive medical treatment.

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My journey into the land of self-awareness continues. Our trip is winding down, and I’ve started to think about how I will adapt and integrate my new way of thinking into life back at home. As a result, I’ve started developing a few tricks to help avoid falling back into my same old patterns.

Today I figured I would share one with you!

One of my goals this trip has been to get a handle on negative emotions. I talked a little bit about it in this post back in December. If I am in a negative head space, I feel as if I can’t get out of it. I will actively choose to wallow in it rather then pulling myself out. I often rely on others to “pump my tires” to pull me out of my own negativity. This is  pattern that I’ve repeated over and over in my life (just ask my Mom!)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I do this. I realized that I often feel like my emotions are to complicated to attempt to figure out. When I am in a funk, I am not feeling just one single thing, I’m feeling tons! The thought of dissecting all my emotions and addressing them seems exhausting. So, I choose to stay in them and be negative instead.

Sounds like a bummer eh? Well I’m happy to say that this realization actually helped to create a serious “AhHa” moment for me. The result is the formation of a trick to help pull me out of my funks.

So here goes:

All emotions, every single one, fall into one of two categories: Love or Fear.

Positive emotions: Happiness, Joy, Empathy, Hope, Elation, Excitement, Gratitude, are all rooted in Love

Negative emotions: Anger, Frustration, Jealousy, Guilt, Doubt Sadness, Rage, these emotions, these are based in Fear.

This simple realization has helped ground my entire belief system. Instead of looking at my negativity as a complex mixture of emotions that I need to unpack and digest, I look at it as my Fear.

I then ask myself.

Why am I choosing Fear?

When I am choosing to wallow in my own negativity, I am making a concious choice to live a life based in Fear. It doesn’t feel good physically or mentally, but I’m making an active choice to stay in it. When I am whirling in my head, and feeling my negativity take over. I consciously ask myself “Why am I choosing Fear?

This one simple question has become my focal point for pulling myself out my funks, and switching gears. And I think it is its simplicity that makes it so effective. Negativity isn’t about the complexity of your emotions, it is about choosing Fear over Love.

So, this is my new state of being. I choose Love over Fear.

Life just isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be

If you are interested in any more of my learnings check out my My Philosophy page!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Twitter:@caketress

 

 

 

Month Three- Shifting the Focus of my Personal Evolution

Remember way back in month two when I was talking about all my “Big Ideas?” Well, they got a little overwhelming. In fact, my quest for self-growth and learning took a bit of a dive this month.

Here’s the story

When I initially arrived in Costa Rica, I was determined to use the time I had to figure out what I wanted to do “when I grow up.” I immediately started dreaming up all sorts of ideas, and ultimately, stumbled upon something that I truly felt passionate about. For the first time in my life, I started to get really excited about what was ahead of me.

So the big ideas started to form. I focused on taking a moment every day to learn more about the direction I wanted to head. I was researching, plotting, reading, dreaming, and feeling energized. Then all of a sudden I felt it….

I started to get scared.

They don’t call them BIG ideas for nothing. I started to feel how far outside of my comfort zone I was getting, and with that came doubt and insecurities. It stopped me dead in my tracks

I felt my passion for personal growth and self-improvement start to wane, and I stopped making it a focus for myself. I dove into the distractions of freelance work, blogging, working out, reading….anything to help me hide from my goal of moving forward.

I wasn’t seizing the day. I was re-creating the monotony of daily life that I had worked so hard to break free of.

This week, it came to a head. I knew I had to break-free of this slump, and continue my journey forward.After a big talk with Shaun, I came to a life-altering realization. My journey forward doesn’t start with my “big ideas”…

It starts with me.

This isn’t the first time I’ve run away just as things start moving forward. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this fear. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt self-doubt. But it’s the first time I’m going to address this reaction.

It’s time to break-free

My goal now is working towards creating a new perspective on how I view myself and to build the foundation to which I will be entering in to my new life.

This is my turning point, and I’m not looking back.

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I write this post, because I want to share my journey with you. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Pura Vida

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Month Two-Travel Reflections and Big Ideas

Well we’ve passed the two month mark here at Hostels and Hot Rollers. Sometimes it feels like it’s gone by so fast, while other times I feel like I’ve been gone for years.

Although it is a long way off, thinking about coming home, and entering back into my lifestyle is becoming increasingly unclear.

Becoming immersed in a lifestyle so far outside what I have known, is causing a change in my perspective. My perspective on my life, future, and belief system.

There are some big ideas brewing in this picture

There are some big ideas brewing in this picture

Over the past year I have become increasingly aware of the need to create changes in my life. This trip became the fork in the road. The crossroads that would allow me to re-evaluate everything. As I got on the plane, I knew I was entering into both a physical, and emotional adventure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend my days mediating under palm trees, but I have a lot of time, and I have a lot of inspiration around me. It has created the space, and mental clarity to reflect. It’s both a beautiful, and terrifying experience.

I have some big ideas. Big ideas about who I am, what I want, and what I believe. Big ideas that I didn’t even know I had. Big ideas that I don’t know what to do with.

As our adventure moves forward, my personal adventure moves forward as well. I have no idea where either of them will take me.

Slowly, this prospect is becoming less scary, and more exciting.

Thoughts?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

From 9-5 to Backpacks and Coconuts- My Ever Evolving Philosphy

Today’s post was inspired by the wise words of Christian over at Transforming Monday. I had the pleasure of guest posting on his blog today, and enjoyed sharing my experience so much, that I just had to share it with you all as well. I would highly suggest that everyone check out his website, there are some valuable lessons to be learned within.

Thank you to Christian for allowing me the opportunity to put my thoughts into words, and talk about my ever evolving philosophies on life.

Hi Everyone, I’m Kate, and I blog over at http://www.hostelsandhotrollers.com. I stumbled across Transforming Monday when Christian shared a post I’d written about The Tao of Pooh. I am thrilled to share my own life transformation with you, and how it pertains to the philosophies found within the book.


For the past 10 years, I’ve worked a desk job. Pushing paper, managing people, staring at a computer. Those were my typical days. At 29, I realized I had squandered away a vital time of my life, living without passion, without purpose, without direction.
The life I am leading today is drastically different. I’m currently, sitting on the patio of a Costa Rican restaurant, listening to howler monkeys and watching salamanders climb the walls behind the bar.
It’s moments like this that I stop, and truly take inventory of where my life has taken me.
My husband, and I made the decision to take the leap three years ago. We had visted Costa Rica a couple times, and every time we had to leave would joke about how great it would be to stay. Then, one evening, we started talking seriously about making our dreams a reality. We both knew we needed a change, needed to shake our lives up.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking. “Well that must be nice, but I wouldn’t be able to do it because of (blank).” I know this, because that was how I felt. The prospect of letting go of a secure lifestyle is what had held me captive for over a decade. My husband and I had full-time jobs, a mortgage, a cat, a wedding to pay for. We had all the excuses we needed to just sit at home, and let our dream slide by.
But we wanted it, and we set our minds on making our dream a reality. Once we stopped focusing on excuses, and barriers, things began to rapidly move in the right direction. Opportunities began to present themselves that helped us move our dream forward. I was offered an amazing part-time job as a face-painter to earn extra money for the trip, my work environment changed drastically to make time off more flexible, a house sitter presented themselves that would look after the cat. Slowly, all of our barriers began to vanish. Then, one day, we were booking our tickets.
It’s because of this experience that the teaching within “The Tao of Pooh” speak to me. My greatest learning from this book, summarized in my own words, is as follows:
Don’t force it, don’t interfere, let things happen and they will work out on their own. It’s the simple mind that sees what is in front of them and follows the nature of things
When I stopped forcing myself into a lifestyle that wasn’t working for me, my dreams came true. Letting my life evolve naturally has led me to incredible adventures.
I hope my experience inspires you, and perhaps encourages you to look at your life, and see if there are situations that you are forcing yourself to stay in. What would happen if you just let go, and let your path present itself?
Thanks so much to Christian for giving me to opportunity to share my story with you all.
You can read my original post about the Tao of Pooh at:

https://hostelsandhotrollers.com/2013/12/14/have-you-found-the-tao-of-pooh/
Pura Vida!
Kate