Today I’m writing to you from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, where I’m sitting at a small table on my apartment patio sipping a fresh jugo verde. There’s a little pool in the courtyard my patio faces, and I can hear some kind of construction going on above me—drills, sanding, pounding, the works—mixed with the sound of birds whistling and the faint laughter of the Australian girls from next door.
My face is red from dehydration and heat, the plastic chair I’m sitting on is slick with my own sweat, and I’m scratching at a mosquito bite on my upper thigh. But I’m here.
And here is a very long way—in distance and in mentality—from where I was just a week and a half ago.
Just a week and a half ago, I was working in an office in Orange County. I was there, sitting in my white swivel chair and doing my work and taking snack breaks to gab about The Bachelor with my wonderful co-workers, but in my heart and head I was somewhere else.
It started a while ago—this strange and urgent feeling that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. Sometimes it would manifest itself at work, and I’d feel a tight stirring in my chest, a sensation like butterflies trapped in a jar trying in vain to escape.
Other times I’d be driving home staring at all the familiar road signs and sights, and I’d feel a sudden, unfounded anger about that one street with the horrible left-hand turn or the uphill stretch of road where everyone slows down to thirty-five godforsaken miles an hour.
Sometimes I’d catch myself openly complaining about something that was in my power to change. Or I’d hear myself respond with a shrug and a “meh” when my mom asked me about my day.
Occasionally the feeling would steal over me in normal, everyday moments like brushing my teeth or eating dinner. This isn’t it, it would whisper. There’s something more. Other times, I’d just be lying in bed at night wishing for a different routine.
This feeling of general discomfort and dissatisfaction came on slowly at first, then grew over time the way a snowball gains speed and size as it zips down a mountain. The powerful, insistent longing I initially felt morphed from general confusion to the inevitable pondering of what ifs to absolute clarity to simultaneous excitement and fear to, finally, an irrefutable truth—one that said, simply: Move forward.
So I did. I’d been wanting to pursue my freelance writing work full-time for a while now, but fear of failure and the unknown stopped me from making the leap. It was only when I realized that staying in my current lifestyle felt scarier than stepping into uncertainty that I said yes to my dreams and started to make concrete plans.
My plans only go so far as a couple months out, but they are special and exciting to me nonetheless. Going forward, I knew there were a few things I wanted to do: continue to do freelance work, tackle a few personal writing projects I’d put on the back-burner, travel, and carve time in my schedule to pursue learning for learning’s sake.
These desires, coupled with the fact that I craved an immediate change, led me to book a month-long intensive Spanish course in the small port town of Puerto Escondido. It’s only my second day here, so I’m trying to stay open to the possibilities and adventures that will come my way. In the meantime, I’ll be writing, working, studying, meditating, swimming, and exploring.
I don’t know how this month will pan out, nor do I know how the next several months of my life will unfold. I don’t know if the risk I took will pay off, or if I’ll be left scrambling to rearrange the pieces of my life into a picture of success and happiness. I don’t know if my expectations will align with reality, or if reality will knock me to my knees to humble me.
But as I sit here on my patio—the last drops of my jugo verde gone, my back dripping with sweat, the new phrases I learned in this morning’s Spanish class still buzzing in my head—I don’t really care.
All I care about is that I’m here now—listening to my intuition, saying yes to learning, embracing adventure, and honoring the part of myself that bravely said, “It’s time.”
When was the last time you took a risk? Anyone ever been to this part of Mexico? Would love any travel tips you have!