Into South America

“The pilgrim is a poetic traveler, one who believes that there is poetry on the road, at the heart of everything.” ~Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

Hello friends,

Yes it has been a long while. I just haven’t really felt like writing much. Until now.

I am just beginning a two-month journey to South and Central America: likely Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. Alone, into the unknown.

Why? There are a few reasons.

Firstly, because I can. And I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity.

Secondly, because I have read about these places and how it is possible to live quite well on relatively little money. But it is one thing to read about it, and quite another to live it.

And finally, and most importantly, because there is something about venturing into the unknown that brings out some of my very best human qualities. I learned this, or perhaps was reminded of this, during my volunteer journey to Africa two years ago, and Nicaragua the year before that. When I am out of my comfort zone, in unfamiliar territory, it forces me to dig deep and open my mind and soul to new ways of being and experiencing the world. It somehow gets my “MoJo” working at a heightened level.

So off I go. I appreciate your interest, and will update you weekly on my journey.

First stop, Ecuador.

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The Cottage

For the last several years, we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to rent a friend’s cottage during the winter months while she is away. It’s a cozy little spot, only about 90 minutes drive from home. In the summer, the lake is packed. Nice, but in the fall, winter, and spring there are only a handful of people. That’s when the magic really happens.

For a number of reasons, this will likely be a very short cottage season for us. But I have just arrived, and as always, I feel so very grateful to be here. The cottage has always been a very powerful draw for me. My wife and son enjoy it as well, but not the way I do. I am thrilled to come up here for a week or two at a time when I can, on my own. Perhaps too thrilled.

I think this is the 5th or 6th season for us, but it is only just starting dawn on me why I love it here. My time is my own. I can spend it however I wish. I am not responsible, or feel responsible for anyone else. I cook nutritious meals, and enjoy doing it. I read for hours on end. I write. I think. I listen to music. I sing. I meditate, sometimes twice a day! Back to basics at the cottage. I am able to just be.

At home, I am distracted by the endless list of things that have to get done, that I am responsible for, and I sometimes neglect myself. And it can make me resentful. There I said it.

At the cottage, I can just take care of myself, heal, rejuvenate. Peace, quiet, free of static and distraction. Life moves at a much slower and richer pace here.

Ironic isn’t it that I have saved and planned and sacrificed to create a home, yet I need to get away from it to get centred and in touch with my flow?

I suppose I have always appreciated my time alone, ever since I can remember. Always a bit of a loner. Always somewhat of an introvert, although many aspects of my life might indicate otherwise. Some people need others to recharge. Not me. I am someone who needs to turn inward. And I need the separation and quiet to do it.

I am not complaining. I have a very good life, and I’m surrounded by incredible and loving people. I am very, very fortunate. But time alone at the cottage gives me the space and perspective to truly appreciate it (and I know that this is a troubling paradox…save this one for another day).

But I also realize that ultimately I must learn to find this stillness wherever I am. That will take some work.