“Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am.” Michael Creighton
And so it is with me. Life gets busy, running here to there, doing this, doing that, piling more on my plate, saying yes to more and more until I’ve lost my footing. I become ungrounded and move through my days mostly on adrenaline. Writing, yoga, running, art, sleep, music, sitting for dinner with Steve all help bring me back to center and help me get grounded but sometimes it takes something big to bring me back. Traveling to a distant region of the world is guaranteed to completely unmoor me, and then slowly bring me back to my center and get grounded again. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to remote regions for both pleasure and work, travel that has tossed me completely out of my comfort zone, and then I make my way back. My comfort (and discomfort) zones grow a bit bigger during the time I spend out of them and the ground under my feet becomes more firm. It’s why I go, again and again, and get restless when my butt has been firmly planted inside my comfort zone for too long.
My latest distant region, out of my comfort zone experience, was a remote jungle in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Having made the decision to leave my career, I wanted to immerse myself in something unfamiliar, all consuming and away from home to close that chapter of my life and dive head first into the next chapter. I did not want to slowly pull that Band-Aid off or allow myself time to question my decision or wonder what was going on “at work” come Monday morning. I’ve practiced yoga for ~15 years and have found peace, comfort and energy in that practice. I had been toying with the idea of a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) for a couple years and when the plan for making my career move became more real, I was even more drawn to do a YTT. I knew if I did make that commitment, I would do a full immersion, on location YTT, in a remote location. Costa Rica was top of my location list and a google search found The Sanctuary at Two Rivers. I was immediately drawn to the remoteness of the location, knowing it would provide the space (physically, spiritually and metaphorically) I desired to totally unplug from my career and begin the transition to something new.
I gave my notice at work and signed up for the training the same week. Fast forward 2 months to June 24th when I spent my last day at Hewlett Packard saying goodbye to friends and colleagues that I will deeply miss. I left June 25th for Costa Rica. I spent the first day in Alajuela, not totally disconnected from HP quite yet; I work with several colleagues that are in the San Jose (Costa Rica) office and one of my colleagues picked me up at my hotel and we drove to a restaurant outside of town and had a lovely dinner. I had never met her in person and it was a treat to sit down to dinner with someone I spoke to via phone so often!
And then the universe spoke. Call it coincidence, irony, synchronicity… whatever words you use for these kinds of things, but I received 3 messages that it was time to disconnect and leave my corporate identity behind to create the space to identify with other parts of me. Having worked in the corporate world for the past many years, I spent a lot of time in my corporate identity, my corporate skin, shedding blood, sweat and tears through the years. Some of the physical representation of that existed in my computer files – excel files, PowerPoint presentations, word documents, all which I had on my work laptop. I had transferred my personal files to my newly purchased laptop and planned on preserving my work files on my last day (hanging on to that identity!!). In the flurry of activity on my last day, I didn’t copy my work files to my personal laptop and then wiped my work laptop hard drive clean. No safety net. No recovery. The next evening, while at my hotel in Alajuela, I spent some time on the patio just outside my hotel room, with my laptop, catching up on personal email before going to the jungle. I wore my “work computer glasses” while on the patio. When it was time to go to bed, I gathered all my stuff from the patio table and took it inside. Somewhere between the patio and my room (all of 20 steps), my computer glasses disappeared. I tore the room and my stuff apart 3 times that night and once again in the morning. No glasses. 2nd sign that my “work” identity was being shed. The next morning, I walked outside my hotel room to take a walk. At the door, I glanced down at my wrist, and yet again, my “ID” is gone. I put on my road ID bracelet before we left Tucson 2 weeks ago and hadn’t taken it off since. It was on last night. And this morning, gone. This isn’t a bracelet that slips off occasionally. If fits snugly, and doesn’t break or come apart (picture the Live Strong rubber bracelets). And yet, it’s gone. I took a sweep through my hotel room. Nowhere. Rather than hunt for my ID bracelet, I accepted it as another sign that I am on a journey and I’m ready to let this chapter and identity go and it’s time to move on to the next one!
My taxi van picked me up at my hotel on Sunday morning and we picked up a few other travelers and drove to the ferry. Just over an hour’s ferry ride got me across the Gulf of Nicoya where another van picked me up and drove me (and a few other travelers) to another town, where I was dropped off and picked up by a man driving a car, unmarked, presumably my taxi. From there, he drove me over hilly roads, through the town of Montezuma and around more dirt roads and parked at a gate, on a dirt road, where he made a phone call. (Neither us of spoke the other’s language, so there was no verbal communication between us). In a few minutes’ time, a man driving a quad/ off-road type vehicle barrels through the gate and greets me. I learned later this was Naga, the owner and founder of Two Rivers. About 1km and 4 river crossings later, he pulls up to the Sanctuary, just in time for the big meal of the day. I’d arrived! I knew this would be just the remote location I desired to disconnect and find some peace and quiet.
<I’ll explore and explain the trust I have developed when traveling, of not speaking the local language, not having to know exactly where I am and getting into taxis and cars with someone I don’t know. Don’t tell my mom; she’d have a heart attack if she knew half of what I did while traveling! That’s an entirely different topic to write about!>