I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the topic of my next blog post, but have been unable to pinpoint just what it is that I’ve wanted to share lately. You see, I’m well into the second half of Remote year now, and life has significantly changed.
I’m still me of course, and I’m still traveling with the majority of my tramily, i.e. traveling family, as we’ve come to coin it, (even though life happens and we’ve unfortunately lost a few souls along the way), but things have definitely changed. I’m on a new continent, once again, my first time in South America, and for starters, its been quite an adjustment from my beloved, cushy Europe.
When I say adjustment, I don’t mean it in a negative way, whatsoever, it’s just very distinct from the magical European lifestyle I’ve come to know and love in the past few months. In fact, if I am being honest, I have every intention of going right back there when RY is over, for who knows how long, because like I’ve mentioned before, I feel a bit like I belong there. Europe fits on me, for a variety of reasons, and there’s just so much more of it that I’ve yet to explore... but I digress.
While that’s certainly in my future, let’s get back to the present. I began writing this blog in the back of a van, returning to my home city this month of Córdoba, Argentina.
Last weekend, some of my group decided to embark on a 10 mile hike up a mountain called Cerro Uritorco, which is located about 2 hours outside of Córdoba in the Sierras Chicas range. Now in addition to painful, because let’s be honest, my feet were KILLIN me afterwards, this hike was absolutely magical. The trek is 6493ft above sea level, (that’s 1979 meters to the rest of you in the world), and from the base we climbed about 3000ft of that. It was such an incredible challenge given that my last real hike was in Valencia (6 months ago... holy crap), so needless to say, it took about 30 minutes for my legs to stop shaking once we returned to the base.
The way I described this mountain to my business partner is, and I apologize to any non-LA people reading this, as you may not get the reference, but this hike was like the hard side of Runyon Canyon on CRACK (not the stairs, not the road, but the OTHER trail… that is a miserable bitch), stacked 6 times on top of itself, on a sunny, 80 degree day, with lots of twists, turns and loose rock. It took me 3 hours and 10 minutes to summit, 2 hours and 40 minutes to descend, about 20,000 steps, and 240 “flights of stairs” according to Tim’s phone (because of course this was the one day I forgot to wear my fancy watch... grrr). But anyway, you get it, it was a friggin challenge, and it took almost everything I had to finish.
But as I think of challenges, I can’t help but realize that this hike is a mere pimple on the face of my RY journey. Facing challenges on this trip has become part of my norm. In fact, it’s unlikely there is a day when I DON'T face something that challenges me in some way. Whether it be hiking up a mountain or attempting to order off a menu I understand 3 words of, I am constantly confronted with the uncomfortable and unknown.
What I’ve noticed though, is that by wedging myself into these daily uncomfortable encounters, I have discovered an incredible amount about myself. Things are clearer than they’ve ever been before, and I’ve had an enormous amount of insight into my patterns, ethics, courage, resilience, value, commitment, and worth. It’s amazing how much I’ve discovered.
And I think what has made these discoveries so impactful, is that they likely wouldn’t have happened in this concentrated manner had I not gone temporarily insane and signed on the dotted line for March 2018, Remote Year Ohana. In LA, I was constantly working on my personal development, and I loved that. I have my awesome Landmark community that I love dearly, and I would always work things out with them. But the challenge was every day life in my LA world; a disagreement with my boss, a measly parking ticket, being late for a class... annoying things that would confront me, and then l’d go back to my ordinary day to day.
On Remote year, though, there is no such thing as an “ordinary” day. Now yes, there are some times where I see familiar patterns, as we are 8 months in and I have managed to establish a bit of a routine for myself, despite the unknown... but even with these familiar pieces, my life is still full of surprises at every turn. What’s crazier though, to steal one of my lovely friend Theresa’s most favorite phrases: “We chose this life.” And we did. We created it. I... CREATED it, despite all the fear, uncertainty, pushback, and objection. I created it, and now I’m here living it.
I’ve been talking a lot lately about what it means to create your life. In fact, last Friday I was interviewed on a podcast and I spoke a lot about this (I will post the link in December when it airs, btw), because I think it’s probably one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned and continue to learn. My journey on Remote Year is a very integral part of my created life. And, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I FULLY grasped the concept of what it means to create your life until my time in Portugal. I’ve known about the concept for years, that the words you say create the world you live in, but in Portugal something clicked, like never before, and I broke through the invisible shackles I had placed on myself when it came to actualizing the exact life that I want.
Now I could go on about this breakthrough for hours, but I will spare you the gory details because this blog is already long enough. If you’re curious to know more though, please don’t hesitate to reach out, because with this came an enormous amount of freedom and power, and I want to share that with everyone I can. I want to point out though, that this breakthrough came about because I made the decision to LEAN IN to the experience of discomfort in my life. This freedom didn’t just fall out of the sky… I’m not lucky, and I didn’t win the feel good lottery. Instead, I made a decision that I will not settle for a life that I don't love, and I have been ruthless with my intentionality and commitment to create one that exudes happiness and fulfillment in all areas.
That said, it has come at a cost. I had to do the damn work to get to this place. I went to therapy, I took COUNTLESS hours of personal development courses, and I sought out answers to WHY I wasn’t happy in my life. I got in the trenches and did the work needed to resolve the issues I had, despite all my cynicism, to get me to the place where I could clearly see that my life is a creation and I can create it however the hell I want. I did not stop when I was in the derailed, I cried through the breakdowns, the resignation, the debt, the failures, the heartbreaks, and the disappointments. I continued to seek out the answers to “fixing what was broken” with me, and what I ended up discovering is that I was actually never broken in the first place. No matter what, I kept at it, I was ruthless. Just like I was getting up that friggin mountain.
I remember dreaming about my life 10 years ago... thinking about travel, success, and love, like they might be possible, but they often times seemed like a pipe dream. What I think made the difference though, is that I held on to a glimmer of hope that someday things would be different than they currently were. Had that hope disappeared, I would not have carried on looking for an answer. I would not have been open to discovering that it’s possible to find happiness. But the undying commitment to "it’s possible to find happiness" held me up through my darkest times.
I don’t want to end this post with a cliché "you can do it” statement, but what I will say is this. No matter how hard it gets, I urge you to keep your head up, be ruthless, and trudge on. If you believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, then you will eventually find that light. You may have a million breakdowns before you find it, and once you think you’ve found it, you will still have more… but my point is, if you say that light exists, then it WILL exist.
I will leave you now, with this one question. If our words create the world we live in, what do you choose to say? Thank you for your support and continued reading.