Finding peace on the road

I realized I felt it, truly, for the first time in weeks on the way to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a mountain town on the southern border of Mexico.

Already, it had been quite a day.

After a week each in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Huatulco, I was on the move again, a process that had become stressful as I started my transition from “avid traveler with a steady job” to “full-time nomad struggling to pay her bills.”

I’d taken two flights, discovered I needed to pay for my overweight carry-on (apparently that’s a thing in Mexico), and then nearly missed my connection from Mexico City after mistakenly walking out to Baggage Claim 7 instead of down to Gate 7 (why were they next to each other anyway?!), making my way through security again and then losing said boarding pass.

Now, after all that, I was on an hourlong shuttle to my next destination.

I should have been exhausted, or frustrated. I’d certainly had my share of those moments over the last month.

And yet, there it was:

Happiness. Or peace, maybe. My anxiety had dissolved somewhere on my commute and left my heart lighter.

It felt like an odd moment to have this breakthrough. 

There we were, a shuttle full of traveling strangers, buzzing through the pitch black countryside. I didn’t yet know that San Cristóbal de las Casas would prove to be a charming city filled with cobblestone streets, sweeping diversity and breathtaking nature. I didn’t yet know I’d fit in, so seamlessly, with its welcoming, inclusive vibe. I didn’t yet know it would be one of the most memorable places I’d ever been.

No, at this moment, after three weeks of gazing at vistas, castles, cliffs and beaches, all I could see was the occasional street light illuminating the passing pavement. 

But as I looked out the window, into the deep dark, I realized I was humming, quietly. I felt content.

Why now?

I wondered if it had something to do with letting go, finally.

Over the last month, I had battled with the idea of losing control over my day-to-day, my working and sleeping and showering conditions, my access to WiFi.

But suddenly, I was letting life happen to me in a way that felt OK — good even. 

I’d made my flights. I’d found my shuttle. I had conquered another day.

On that little shuttle passing through obscured mountains, I had everything I needed: water in my canteen, cookies in my stomach, a sweater on my back and a power cord to charge my phone in my hand. I saw those things so differently now, which was exactly what I wanted. 

I knew I wasn’t over the hump, so to speak, with challenges, but maybe I was on track to start absorbing them better, bouncing over the rocks and allowing the boost to propel me forward.

I had the feeling that everything was going to be fine in San Cristóbal, and that maybe, just maybe, I was getting better at this crazy thing.

5 thoughts on “Finding peace on the road

  1. I’m really glad to hear you feel like it’s going better and the challenges are becoming more manageable.

    Not sure if you have the wi-fi to be able to watch it, but here’s a link to a Ted Talk that I think is somewhat germane to what you have been going through:

    It is entitled “Living in the Question” and was presented by singer/songwriter/awesome human being @nataliegelman at a Tedx event in Spokane a couple years ago. She is the same friend who wrote/performed the song about dealing with her mom’s dementia.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Amelia and Kevin for being our bridge and sharing my work. 🙂 It’s a crazy life to travel and flow with all the constant changes. I don’t naturally fit the profile of an easy going traveler but that’s part of why I push through and like to explore different parts of the world myself.

      And I know that happy peace “whatever happens I’ll be okay” place you’re talking about. I think
      it comes from remembering the bigger picture in times of travel stress and knowing that everything is figure-out-able or as Kevin mentioned, perhaps presents a better opportunity.

      Lots of love on your journeys!

      1. Thanks so much for your comment, Natalie! It’s so nice to know that others go through similar struggles. And I agree with you — a big part of why I’m doing this is FOR the challenges, not in spite of them. 🙂

  2. I’m really enjoying your posts. It sounds as though maybe you have finally turned a corner and the worst of the doubts and perturbation about your new gypsy lifestyle are subsiding. That makes me happy for you. Keep your chin up and continue to enjoy your journey. – Higga

    1. Appreciate it Higga … change does not always move in a straight line! And ups do not mean the downs are gone…as I have already discovered. But trying to take it day by day.

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