To stay or to go.
The travelers dilemma.
The two best things I own right now are my single fin surfboard and a half of croissant that I’m saving for lunch. I’m in a dream — I’m so excited about both. So excited in fact, that I changed my ticket back to the states to indulge. Only by a week. I am a gringa, American woman, living a fulfilling life in Costa Rica but also maintaining a job in California. I also live a fulfilling life in Florida. And life is really, really good. I’m connected to all these places for various reasons, all within the realm of my adulthood, my dreams, my capabilities. Granted, one always knows that one can do more: stay put somewhere, have a farm, make a family, start a new career…but is that me talking?
The inherent fact of a traveling life is movement, this is just as much a fact for sedentary life. With a traveling life there is so much newness on a daily basis that in comparison to a sedentary life, it seems like there’s more newness, more magic, more to explore. But in reality it’s equal. Thoughts are movement, thoughts provoke emotion which is movement, thoughts provoke emotions which provoke thoughts which provoke movement, desire, escape, expansion, change. This all happens when you sit, too, but in traveling mode we are physically pushing the limits, pushing the mold, knowing that movement equals safety, safety from thought provoking movement in stillness…
As travelers we know that there is always that pull to “get back to reality” get back to where we came from, our jobs, our families, only wishing that we could afford to stay longer, maybe even live the life of traveling as an occupation but nah, that’s so difficult and I need more money to do that…I need permission. So this pull is always with us, this pull is egocentric, this pull is greedy, this pull is society’s voice implanted inside of our heads saying no, sorry, you are a different person. But are you? Are you the person that wants to stay a little longer, do something spontaneous, make “wild” decisions?
One day about a year and a half ago, here in Costa Rica, a local friend comes up to me and my girlfriend saying that there is a sea lion on the beach — we were in relative disbelief, how could there possibly be a sea lion here so close to the equator? Where did he or she come from? Is the animal sick? Caught in a storm? We went running down the beach to see the leo marina. When we got to the spot the creature had since disappeared, but in no way did I think the sea lion was imagined. My girlfriend began to tell me about an evolutionary theory that she had read about: where in animal communities it has been noted that there is a tendency for a member of the community to stray away, to go outside of the limits of what is considered normal — and that the actions of this individual is quite possibly the first steps that a species takes as a whole in evolving.
The radical individual paves the way for the change, as in how a cell within one’s body eventually multiplies and creates more cells. Maybe sometimes it doesn’t stick, maybe sometimes is takes a few generations, but in general the idea is change from the individual.
And yet so alone this sea lion must be…
As time has gone on many people in the area have seen the sea lion, I’ve seen a video taken of it, barking at the videographer and jumping off of rocks into the plentiful ocean. I even think there was a little article written about it in a newspaper. This creature is surviving in an previously unknown land, sustaining and yet completely removed from it’s former community.
Does the sea lion want to go back? Can the sea lion go back? Does the sea lion go back, maybe traveling a current and living seasonally?
Do You want to go back? Can You go back?
In traveling, the world expands. One is put in situations that practically forces absorption, soaking in sights, sounds, cultures, friendships, and through the many journeys you change and become apart of the events as they are apart of you. You survive your surroundings, you are living the travel, and then home is now something different. You see where you came from with different eyes, you realize places are places and things are things. Home is a place as anywhere else is, and things are things as anything is a thing. Time becomes a farce and we recognize the holiness of what is real for each and every one of us.
And reality changes. It is not the needs, the musts, the responsibilities; reality is what is.
I’ve changed my ticket twice since I’ve been here in Costa Rica for the past month. Deliberation, checking surf reports, talking to friends about work in the states, talking to work about dates … All the while thinking that I need money to be righteous, though knowing I find righteousness in my decisions. So I’ve settled on a date to encompass the next swell and even get to work on a project for a few days at my friends farm within the work time frame that I was told. Well come to find out the swell is late by a few days and the work is early by a few days, so I’m basically missing both! And thus the inspiration for writing this.
I catch myself jumping quite a bit and as a result I revel in this genuine journey that is completely unique to me. And I love it. I’m not going to change my ticket again. I’m at peace with my decision. Oh the trails and hiccups and cruelty and misjudging! And home! Home is forever calling me back to California, calling me to Florida and then calling me right back to Costa Rica. And through all my evolving I realize there is one true home and it is inside me, wherever I am, making my journeys, experiencing and riding the current. Like the sea lion, living without judging, surviving the moment, finding genuineness in my decision making, finding home within the moment.
“Home is where the heart is”. That’s just awesome cause my heart is right here! Right inside of me! Pumping blood and involuntarily allowing me to BE the experience the we call life.
Abby Tirabassi: born on the gulf coast of Florida, shovel bum in California, surfing in Costa Rica, finding joy daily.
Featured photos: Megan Kathleen Photography