Yesterday, as I was packing my last few things into my bag, my mom stood in the doorway and asked, "What are you most excited about?" I pondered briefly and replied, "Getting back out there." She looked at me with a puzzled look then said, "Ah, yes, I get it." We both laughed because we both knew she did not "get it" at all. I get that the journey I've been on for over a year is one that many people don't "get." It might be one of those things that you only "get" if you experience it. And that's ok.
So a quick catch up to how I got here (on a plane to Cartagena, Colombia). Last February I began to consider as people encouraged me on my journey to "do it while you can" that I still could... as long as my amazing renters wanted to stay another year. When they agreed to extend the lease at the end of March, I thought to myself, "What have I just done?" I quickly got over my doubt and began to consider my options for my next journey. I knew I wanted to keep traveling but the funds I had set aside for last year were more than gone. So, how do you travel for close to free? Workaway.info! Workaway is a website (I believe it originated in the UK) that allows you to name your job, name your country, and there is work to be done on a volunteer basis (to avoid work visa hassles) in exchange for room and board. I had heard about it prior to planning last years adventure but wanted the sabbatical to really be a sabbatical without working, so I filed the idea away. But now was the perfect opportunity to look into it. I coupled the idea of working away with pursuing my interest in opening a B&B at some point in the future. Last year I found that I loved meeting fellow travelers in the various albergues, tea houses, and hostels I stayed at along the way. So I checked the box on workaway that said "working with tourists". Then I began scouting out where I would like to spend my first month in Colombia. As a result of my research and inquiries, tomorrow I will start my first day of work at Finca Carpe Diem in Paso del Mango. It's about an hour south of Santa Marta and the Caribbean, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have no idea what lies ahead of me but I'm excited to learn and share my experiences with you!
Which brings me back to "getting back out there". I've kept in touch with fellow travelers, many of whom are still "out there". As I was updating my friend Dan (whom you may recall from Peru days) on what my plans were, he said "Welcome Back." By that, I think he meant "back out here." And another friend that I met "out there" in Cusco is planning on meeting me at the airport in Cartagena! When Sherwin told me he would meet me there, any anxiety about the Colombian unknown subsided. Even though I'm venturing out there alone, I'm never alone!
If my memory serves me correctly, this is what I remember learning about how best to experience life "out there." (And most of these lessons probably are in the blog archives in some way, shape or form.)
Expect the unexpected.
Accept the hospitality of others.
Say "Thank You" (Even if it's a phrase Americans are known to overuse, it's one cultural trait I refuse to abandon because I truly am thankful for the hospitality of others and I want them to know that.)
Pay it forward.
Be open to sharing life with others whom you may not normally converse with.
Pray... for provision, protection and opportunities. And then acknowledge how The Lord worked in all of it.
Not that it can't happen back in the States, but I found I was much more open to living life this way when I was out of my routine back home. Maybe practicing this life for one more year will help to make this a lifestyle for always, regardless of where I lay my head.
But for now, I have one question I need to figure out a good answer to. "So, what do you do?" Right now I'm thinking that my answer is going to be "I live life." But I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks for joining me as "The Journey Continues..."