Time blurs by as adventure fills my soul.
My words would be nothing but a blur
as I glance over our story.
A blur; we can’t recall the day before.
Where did we sleep?
What did we see?
Who did we meet?
We rushed through our days
filling our hearts with experience
stuffed like pennies in a piggy bank.
And that’s just 30 days from a lifetime of stories.
After the rush, when things start to settle,
I find myself eager to see what’s next.
To have what’s next.
To hear and taste and feel.
To BE what’s next.
Hunting for something more,
While life flashes past in a blur.
Slovenia greeted us with a bitter cold
That I wasn’t ready for.
A cold that seeped into my mind
Blocking the sun and the warmth of my spirit.
Forgetting where I was, what I dreamed to have,
I hurried to move on.
Saddened by the cold grey sky
I wanted something better, something more,
not realizing I was exactly where I wanted to be.
A place I had been asking for the whole time:
Green grass, rolling hills, peaceful at natures side,
Time to write, time to read, time to BE.
Yet as soon as it was in my grasp,
I was ready to move on.
To throw away the moment
And leave behind a blur.
So instead I sat in the pouring rain
With a coffee and my book
Noticing how great life is
when you sit in the moment
And don’t let it pass in a blur.
Time passes so quickly; we have seen so much and been to so many places. We have had experiences and adventures that bring us so much joy and contentment. 30 days and 5 countries means that we moved quickly to see and do everything we could. It seems to pass in a blur. Looking back, I realize that I would live in and out of the present moment. I would enjoy where we were but then stress about finding the next place to sleep. I would sleep well and then worry about what we will do next in the day. So often we were chasing the “what’s next?” In the rush of travel, it’s easy to let the feelings, thoughts and experiences slip away. Memories slip away.
Francisco and I are currently in Austria at a Workaway. It’s a really fantastic way to travel, learn about other cultures, connect with humans, and give something back. We work 5 hours a day with a local family and instead of being paid for our work, we are given food and a place to sleep. Each workway is different and as of now we have experienced two.
We started in Slovenia where houses were spread out among the hills and views of the countryside. It was beautiful. Truly. Timing worked so well that we arrived for a cold, rainy week. There were other plans of what work we should have been doing but the rain changed our course and our work consisted of sanding, painting, cleaning up the yard, taking down the children’s play structure, raking leaves, and such. It was most of the mindless stuff you wouldn’t really want to do but it gave me time to listen to music and finish an audiobook which I wouldn't normally do. Francisco got to play in the forest with spiders, and bugs, and chainsaws while he chopped trees for winter firewood. We had a taste of life in the Slovenian farms with daily shots of homemade local schnapps, unending glasses of wine and bottles upon bottles of beer (to help curve to cold and boost our immune system, of course) and work was always interrupted for a drink.
We lived with a family of 4. Only mom and dad spoke English but it wasn’t too hard to communicate with the children (5 and 8 years old) who only spoke Slovenian. And even if it was hard they would just pull on my sleeve and drag me along to whatever they wanted to show me. We played games, peeled apples, and drew pictures while waiting for the rain to stop. When it didn’t rain, we picked chestnuts from the forest floor to roast them later over the fire. Our time was mostly spent with the father who had time off from the military. He was kind and wanted to make sure we were comfortable and showed his appreciation through alcohol, wanting us to enjoy our stay which we did.
The property had a large house with the kitchen and family rooms upstairs. Our room was on the lower level and accessed only from outside. It was a room with wooden walls and floors and storage made from pallets. The door was thick and had cut out holes for air flow but we had an electric heater to stay warm. To me, it was kind of like a cabin but a cabin that was made with whatever scrap pieces of wood you could find. It was the kind of cabin where you check for bed bugs. Next to our room was a bathroom decorated in a mix mash of leftover tiles but newly constructed and clean. The shower was hot and so, so welcomed in the cold. Beside that was a patio where we often ate breakfast, drank, and talked about life. There was a decent sized vegetable garden (which we thankfully fed us), rows of grapes for wine, walnut trees, apple trees, a natural pool/pond. They own a piece of the forest and even built a tiny room up on the hill for an Airbnb. It was great. Truly, the space was incredible; it has everything I want to have one day.
But even though I always wanted to be in a place like this, I convinced myself it wasn't what I wanted. I didn't find the joy in the boredom of finished work, I was frustrated with the cold and I begged the rain to stop. I was having a hard time appreciating where I was. In fact, there was a time when I was so frustrated by where we were that I told Francisco I wanted to leave. I probably cried a little and said I was done. Like always, I wanted something better, something more.
It was in that moment he reminded me to look around, to see where we are and the possibilities we have. He reminded me that this is a place where I can just be. That I can take my time. Enjoy the view. Read. Meditate. Do yoga. Work on my projects. I finally had the time and I finally had the space. It was a moment I always dreamt of having but I was so caught up in the things I didn’t want that I lost sight of what I did; he helped me change my perspective. He shook me awake with his words and rather than continuing to live in the future, I woke up in the present. I sat in the hammock wrapped in a blanket with my warmest clothes, a cup of coffee in my hand, and read. I read until I became inspired to write. I wrote until I was so inspired that I had to tell Francisco of all my new ideas. I was so inspired.
I am always looking for the next best thing. When I say always I mean quite literally always; What am I going to do today? What’s my plan? What should we eat? Where should we visit? Who should I be? Etc. In the process I miss out on the now. I don’t give my time and energy to what I’m doing at that moment. To be conscious about everything happening around me, to me, inside me. To be mindful.
Fast forward 3 weeks to us in Austria with another Workaway Host. Here the work is harder and nonstop for 5 hours (no beverages to warm up, “heal” your body, or take the edge off if you know what I mean). The great news is that we end at 2pm which gives us time to spend the afternoon and evening how we want. I am trying to be more mindful. To listen to what my body needs. To fulfill my mind’s ideas. Work. Read. Write. Create. Play. Sleep. Watch a movie. Drive. Hike. I have a greater appreciation of where I am and what I choose to do (or not do). I try not to worry so much about what’s next and aim to stay present in the moment so that life doesn’t pass me by without me knowing or without appreciation.
My dear friends, I ask you to look at where you are at this moment and make a list of all the things you appreciate about your life (physically, mentally, emotionally). Then start to recognize the importance and benefit of the place you are in right now. What value does it bring to your life? How can you hold onto that?
I leave you this with lots of love!