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The Way This Story Ends

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Golden light spills across the shoreline as I emerge from the jungle path. I dip into a tide pool and float while the pelicans catch their dinner. Tiny zebra fish nibble at my toes making me gasp then giggle. With one big breath I dunk my head under the turquoise water to blow them bubbles.

 

The sun disappears behind the forest covered mountains and the sky becomes a lavender haze. I roll out of the ocean and absentmindedly walk the path home that my feet know so well. A luminescent yellow moon appears against the purple sky and the descending sun lights the clouds brilliantly pink. My heart aches each time my heel kisses the shore like reluctantly leaving an unrequited lover, but I keep walking.

 

Playa Cocles

 

I duck under low hanging almond tree branches and climb over the fallen palms, wounded soldiers from the tumultuous storm that passed two days before. Black sand mingles with gold and contrasts the iridescent seafoam that rushes around my ankles. Passing by the fishermen they familiarly sing “Holaaaa Camillaaaaaa Bonitaaaa.”

 

By the time I step my bare feet onto my muddy path, darkness has nearly swallowed the sky. Fireflies blink like undercover fairies amidst the foliage of the jungle floor. I carefully step over the trail of leaf cutter ants, watching the forest twinkle while the amphibian orchestra tunes its chords. This is real magic.

 

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When I get home I rinse off the black sand in a cold outdoor shower and lay on the earth in my garden. It’s clear enough for me to see the milky way stretch across the great expanse of flickering stars. This is my life. This is really my life. The beauty never gets lost on me, the magic never fails to enchant me, and I become more not less enraptured with this place every time I come back. I love it here. I really, really love it here.

 

As I settle into the stillness, my heart overflowing with gratitude, I finally relax enough to cry. Because it’s my last night here. My last night in the only place that has ever felt like home.

 

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I feel swallowed up with sadness and yet, I know I have to go. I have to step forward, I have to keep walking. For a year, or perhaps forever, at this point I don’t know. What I do know is that if I really stand for freedom, I have to be willing to even let Puerto Viejo go. Which is not easy. Because I love this land more than I’ve ever loved anyone or anything. And I love myself here more than I’ve ever loved myself anywhere.

 

Punta Cocles

 

That’s why I came back four years ago. At that time I stood at a crossroads. One turn would take me down the path I spent years envisioning, living in New York City as a successful designer with perfectly smooth shiny hair, the perfect social life, and the perfect man. The other would take me to a place I had only just tasted yet couldn’t get enough of, living in the jungle as a lost confused vagabond with wild crazy curly hair, mildewed clothes, hummingbirds and howler monkeys for friends, and unrequited love for a completely unavailable man.

 

Playa Cocles

 

I chose the latter, which is to say, I chose Puerto Viejo Talamanca, Limon, Costa Rica. I made that choice because I believed that if I had any chance of being happy on this Earth, it would be there.

 

At first it was a kind of experiment. A test to discover if my ultimate fantasy could become a reality. I wanted to see if I could create a way of life that would enable me to rest in Costa Rica, travel all over the world, and feel creatively inspired. That experiment began with writing my first blog post, “The Way This Story Begins” and by starting to practice yoga.

 

red hibiscus costa rica

 

Back then I had a lot of conditioning telling me my fantasy wasn’t possible. I had no idea how I was going to get by financially, what I would do to keep myself entertained, who I could trust, and how I would peacefully coexist in a town smaller than a mini mall with a man who I simultaneously wanted and hated. The logic instilled in me through the American system told me I was a fool, but my heart told me to take a chance.

 

So, I did.
And it paid off.

 

This American Girl

 

Four years later I am embodying my fantasy in its fullest. I live in a home I love just steps from the Caribbean ocean. I am part of an incredibly conscious and supportive community. I have traveled extensively in twenty four countries across four continents. I’m now a yoga teacher. I’ve led six women’s retreats in Costa Rica. My blog has literally reached millions of people. I work entirely for myself and I make enough money to travel and live as I choose. I am genuinely happier, healthier, and more inspired than I ever knew I could be. I created my dream life faster than anyone thought it was possible.

 

Costa Rica Coconuts

 

Which is why this year
everything in my life that I thought I wanted
asked me to die.

 

To give me a reason
to keep living.

 

Playa Cocles

 

It began when after avoiding romantic relationships for the majority of my travels I was suddenly confronted with every ex from my past. Within a three month period my college boyfriend came to Puerto Viejo with his girlfriend and his family, my last lover from three years ago contacted me out of the blue, my ex boyfriend who I flew to Costa Rica five years ago to get away from reached out his olive branch, my father (every woman’s original love interest) came to visit for the first time which led to confrontations I had avoided for most of my life, and to both my horror and delight the door re-opened with the local Caribbean man who I’ve tried nearly everything to (unsuccessfully) move on from for nearly five years.

 

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Some of the men I was able to finally let go of by facing them and speaking the words I had previously contained. Others I managed to develop a healthy, supportive friendship with and moved forward into a new kind of love. But one, one I just couldn’t seem to shake. The one I risk the chance of seeing every time I leave my house.

 

Jungle Puerto Viejo

 

Facing him didn’t help me release him. Facing him showed me how attached I still was to him and how in denial I had been for so long.

 

Despite…
the lies and the betrayal
witnessing him constantly juggle different women
enduring the turmoil of having his affection one moment and cold shoulder the next
not speaking to him for over two years
being beaten up by his sister in a bar
finding compassion for him
forgiving him through meditation
eventually receiving his sincere apology
thinking that he could never get under my skin again
and resigning to peacefully coexist with him in this small town community…
at the start of the new year I found myself unfortunately re-obsessed with him.

 

Playa Cocles

 

That didn’t happen instantly though. At first, I was just confused. As soon as I got back to town after a profoundly expansive backpacking journey through Mexico and Guatemala, he reached out to me in an attempt to create a pseudo friendship. Which surprised me, though through our interactions I remembered the genuinely lovely things about him: his sense of humor, his love of travel, his reverence for nature, his quiet confidence, and his intelligent sensitivity.

 

The more we interacted I became sweetly naive. I considered that perhaps after two years of silence we could begin anew with a totally conscious friendship, bridge together the separation I sometimes feel in the community, and heal the karma of not only our past but the collective Puerto Viejo tourist-local love story.

 

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Instead, to my own disbelief, I got pulled back in. I looked forward to hearing from him, lit up when I saw his smile, and a month later I ended up in his bed.

 

It felt amazing on one hand, being consumed by his attention, and shallow on the other realizing that his presence would only last for the moment. I knew what I was doing, I knew who he was, and I knew that I couldn’t get what I wanted from him. I knew that I was the only one in love here. But I stayed in limbo because I wanted him so badly.

 

Despite holding back and holding out, I felt all of the pain of my old wound. His messages stopped coming, I saw him with other women, and we both casually acted like friendly acquaintances while I suffered inside. (More on that in my post “A Heart Open Can’t be Broken“.)

 

Puerto Viejo

 

Fortunately, as my despair reached critical mass, I had an escape plan as I often do. I left Puerto Viejo and went to Guatemala to dance and scream with my shadow for three weeks in a personal development course called The Tantric Way. I hoped that the course would teach me how to consciously engage in relationships and save me from living this painful story again and again. While I did learn a ton about how to approach relationships with consciousness, I certainly wasn’t saved from anything. Rather, I was thrown into everything.

 

Not only did I face my romantic relationship patterns, I dug deep into the disfunction of my childhood conditioning, peeled away the layers upon layers of masks that I wear consciously and unconsciously, and shattered pretty much every sense of self that I had. It was exhausting, emotional, terrifying, and extremely challenging, but it was one of the most transformatively beautiful experiences of my life.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

During that time I chose to go offline completely and not write a single word. It was the longest I’ve ever gone without “being” This American Girl. It felt strange at first, as I noticed how I had been monologuing my life for years, editing my thoughts to package them into inspirational stories that I’d eventually share with others. I considered if I had avoided intimacy in relationships by “putting it all out there” on the blog. As time progressed, more and more I enjoyed living simply as Camille. Not expected by myself or others to be motivational or vulnerable or courageous or anything. Just me.

 

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I emerged from the course with no idea who I was, what I wanted, or what I would become and yet I felt more like myself than I had ever felt in my life. I felt free. I decided that being myself was more important than being a blogstar. I decided that my life was more important than my online one. So, I decided to let This American Girl die. (Perhaps you noticed when the blog posts stopped coming.)

 

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I returned to Puerto Viejo feeling unstoppably powerful, vulnerable, authentic, awake, and alive. In the past I made myself a victim in most of my stories, particularly with men, but The Tantric Way taught me the power of taking responsibility. I realized that the moment I took responsibility I empowered myself to act in my highest good, no longer a victim to anyone else’s behavior.

 

Though even with all of the work I had done, I still couldn’t shake this guy. If anything, from all of the tantric breathwork my sexual energy was ready to explode after two and a half years of celibacy. That’s when I cut through the bullshit and told him that we needed to talk to resolve things once and for all.

 

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A game began of him agreeing to talk, stressing its importance, flaking out, making a million excuses, telling me we needed to talk, refusing to see me in person, almost coming to my house, not showing up, explaining that we couldn’t see each other because we would have sex, deciding that he wanted to have sex, telling me why it was a bad idea for us to have sex, and on and on and on. It was frustrating to say the least.

 

Thanks to my newfound empowerment, I responded with fearless authenticity. He wouldn’t sit down and talk with me, so I wrote him everything. I told him everything that I felt and everything that I desired. I named my fears and I shed light on his, even calling out his behavior. He acknowledged our connection and explicitly said he didn’t want to look at it. Which was validating and agitating all at the same time.

 

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So, I stopped playing.
I went to the ocean.
I called in every karmic tie and past lifetime connection I had ever seen with him, every cord connecting us, every unresolved soul contract we still had, and I said,
“You’re dead to me.”
I was done.

 

After that, I didn’t say hello to him when I passed him on the street.
I didn’t respond to his last message telling me why it didn’t make sense that I felt the way that I did.
I acted like he was dead.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

A couple of weeks later my Grandmother, and last surviving elder, laid on her deathbed. She was close for a long time, ready for even longer, and I felt guilt ridden for choosing to stay in Puerto Viejo instead of flying back to the states to say goodbye to her. Though, I felt strongly that Puerto Viejo was where I needed to be. Interestingly, despite supporting me in many ways throughout my life, she was the only one in my family who never seemed to celebrate my unconventional path.

 

Playa Cocles

 

One night, before she died, her soul walked with me hand in hand at sunset. It was her, but she felt different. She was like a child, exploring the magic of Puerto Viejo beside me. She asked me to come back to see her but I just couldn’t. I needed to stay in Puerto Viejo for my own sake.

 

I remember speaking to her on the phone the next day, her unable to respond, and finally saying everything I had held back over the years. I blessed her a million times over, offered her forgiveness for anything she might be carrying, and guided her through meditation into a place of lightness and peace.

 

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The next morning, Summer Solstice and Full Moon, she passed. My Dad says just moments before he heard the news a white feather landed on his feet.

 

I rode my bicycle down to the Wildlife Refuge in Manzanillo about an hour from my house with a bundle of flowers from my garden. I hiked through the jungle, beyond the tourists, and climbed into the coral cave. Where I needed to be. The portal between life and death.

 

I took the flowers and considered the past karmas of my family, the things that held my grandmother back in her waking life, and the beauty I saw within her that I wondered if she ever saw within herself. I released the ancestral pain with each red flower and offered a blessing with each pink one.

 

Island Cocles

 

Soon after, I went back to the states, to get my head on straight. The jungle can easily make a person go crazy. I knew that as good as it felt to be free of everything, dead to identity, and shattered of all previous beliefs, I didn’t want to lose all of who I once was. I wasn’t ready to let go of all of me. Some things I wanted to hold onto. Some things I wanted to nurture and grow.

 

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I began asking myself how to rebirth This American Girl in a way that would support me instead of strangle me. I asked myself what mattered beyond validation. What came from a heart centered place. And most of all, what did I not want to die without having done.

 

I realized while I had fulfilled my original intentions with the blog, to express myself, be creatively inspired, and financially support an unconventional life of travel, I had grown beyond them. I wanted more than that. I wanted to powerfully support others and remind them that anyone can make their dreams happen. I wanted to do whatever it would take to create a world where it’s possible for everyone to live their authentic bliss. Because nothing gets me itchier than seeing people settle.

 

This American Girl

 

To do that, I knew that I needed to truly authentically joyfully live my dreams myself, and grow beyond my own comfort to expand into ecstasy.

 

Despite making so many of my dreams come true, I had gotten pretty comfortable lately. Even being outside of romantic relationships, choosing celibacy, and still holding onto a man who obviously was not what I really wanted nor needed, was a form of comfort in its own right. A way to stay safe by not opening up to the possibility of someone who would actually be available for me.

 

I knew that to really grow beyond, I needed to learn to let other people in. I needed to learn to be myself beside someone else. Romantic, platonic, whatever. I needed to learn to coexist with beings other than just trees.

 

Jungle Puerto Viejo

 

I went back to spend the Fall in Puerto Viejo to lead three women’s retreats, redesign and rebrand my blog into a website, and reconnect with home. During that time I started inviting in more support with my business. I leaned on friends more for support. I watched my ideals, relationships, and illusions shatter over and over again. And I finally faced the man who I spent so many years running away from.

 

When I left Puerto Viejo for the summer I thought I had sufficiently detached myself from the guy. I mean, I hurled his soul away from me into the ocean for goodness sakes. I energetically told him he was dead to me. But time away hit the reset and I felt a renewed sense of passion. Coming back to Puerto Viejo at the end of the summer I still wanted him. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make him disappear.

 

Jungle Puerto Viejo

 

The problem was that every time I saw him over the years, whether hooking up or just waving hello, drunkenly yelling in the street or passionately whispering between the sheets, giving one another the silent treatment or professing our buried desire, caressing each other or hating each other, every time I saw him over the years, even the years where we didn’t speak at all, I loved him more than I did the time before. Just like Puerto Viejo, my feelings for him never became less they always became more.

 

Even if it never made logical sense. Even if I was just a tourist hook up. Even if it’s totally unhealthy and not what I want. Even if I’m that overly dramatic desperate pathetic obsessed girl who doesn’t have a right to want him as much as I want him. Even if and if and if and all of the judgements that I’ve thought myself and heard from others, I freaking love him more and never less. Whatever the reason why, God knows I have dissected allllll of the reasons why, that simply is how it is. The end. Amen.

 

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So, for once, I gave myself permission to give into it. To give myself what I wanted. And I reached out.

 

He told me that he made a mistake not seeing me in the past and that he wanted to now. Fantasy took over me. I decided to finally end my dry spell, to release my resistance, to satiate my desire, and deal with whatever came next. Frankly I didn’t care anymore if I was setting myself up for heartbreak, heartbreak certainly feels better than heartache.

 

This American Girl

 

But in the end, he chose not to show up, for the same reasons as before, and refused to have a conversation about it. This time, as much as it scared me, I took more courageous action. I was so tired of this old story that I was willing to be the thing I’m most afraid of being, “That crazy girl.” I did the craziest thing at all and showed up at his door. To my surprise, he didn’t look at all surprised to see me.

 

Playa Cocles

 

We spoke soberly, logically, respectfully, for the first time to my recollection. I humbly told him my feelings, asked him my questions, and expressed my confusions. He, uncharacteristically, responded honestly. After years of confusion, cryptic messages, and flat out lies, finally he was honest.

 

He made it clear that he did not return the feelings that I had for him. That he was content to bullshit in the street with me and nothing more. That he desired me sexually but not seriously. He met someone new who he wanted to be with, and was afraid that he’d mess it up like he did in the past, by sleeping with me. He made it clear that it had never been me and it would never be me. His love for me wasn’t unrequited or misunderstood. It was nonexistent. My fear that I stood alone in my feelings was finally confirmed.

 

Playa Cocles

 

I felt simultaneously destroyed and liberated. There was nothing left to cling to. Nothing left to lament. No more asking “what if” I had been or done anything other than. For years I wondered if we met under different circumstances, or if I had never left Puerto Viejo, or if I was as open hearted back then as I am now, if things might have turned out differently. Our conversation told me no. He just didn’t feel that way about me. And nothing that I could have ever done would have changed that. So, I was free.

 

Strangely, I also felt free from my feelings for him. I didn’t feel the palpable chemistry between us that I did before. It was like his desire for me had been the spark for my own flame and once he put it out nothing burned inside of me anymore. I felt oddly platonic. It took a lot of willpower not to seduce him back into the fire. I thought about letting him in one last time, just to remember it, to taste it, and hopefully be satisfied by it, but I thought better of it. Because the real thing that I wanted was love.

 

Punta uva

 

When we finished talking, I placed my hand over his heart, thanked him for all of the lessons, and humbly told him what an important person he had been in my life for so long. We hugged and I rode home on my bicycle under the starry night sky. It was the closure that I had always and never wanted.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

For two days I did little more than lay in my hammock, sink into the sand, let the waves smash me, and sob until my stomach ached. I hurt so bad at times my soul wanted to leave my body. The hardest part was feeling like I wasn’t allowed to be that upset because the insignificance of our relationship didn’t necessitate it. I thought of the women who would tell me what a fool I am. The men who would tell me what a drama queen I am.

 

Through that experience I practiced to reprogram my thought pattern that being the one who wasn’t loved in return made me weak and pathetic. I considered that loving someone who didn’t love me back made me strong. That the fiercer I loved in the face of rejection, the more powerful I was. I decided that I deserved to love him as much as I wanted to, whether he “deserved” it or not.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

Over the years I learned many lessons as a result of this heartache over him. He inspired many awakenings within me. I received the nectar of our merging and I benefitted from it, again and again. I took the medicine he entered my life to offer and it healed me. Maybe I chose the hard road, but it was certainly paved with gold. How could that ever make me less than anything? I considered that the more I let myself feel the pain, the more I would let it break down all of the walls that stood between me and love.

 

Puerto Viejo Jungle

 

As I let myself shatter a quiet voice started nagging me. The voice questioned if I could keep living in Puerto Viejo if I was really ready to let him go. I felt dubious that I could, yet desperate to convince myself otherwise. I love Puerto Viejo that much. Which… is confusing.

 

Clearly my relationship with Puerto Viejo is entirely tangled with my relationship with this man. Emotionally I think I feel them as the same. I met him a week after I first arrived here and he was what made me fall in love with this place. When I told a friend my dilemma, she challenged me, “is it that you need to leave Puerto Viejo because he’s there, or is it that you’ve been in Puerto Viejo all of these years because he’s there?” I wasn’t sure how to answer.

 

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Then the jungle started to go. Rather, they started chopping her down.

 

Every day I’d ride my bicycle down the road and get sexually harassed by construction workers sawing through majestic trees, robbing monkeys and sloths and iguanas and insects and birds and all kinds of creatures of their homes. They widened the road significantly and started putting in a huge water system I can only guess to support their plans for big hotel development. Concrete model homes were quickly built up on the stretch down near Manzanillo and in front of my favorite beach now littered with tourists. I heard the sounds of construction everywhere I went.

 

Since coming here five years ago, long stretches of beach once untouched are now completely bare to the road or covered with loungers. It’s harder and harder to find moments alone with the nature. It’s more and more common to find trash on the beach and the side of the road.

 

Puerto Viejo Surf

 

But those changes didn’t happen overnight. There used to be sea turtles in the tide pools and jaguars roaming the coastline. There used to be a Caribbean culture richer than I’ve ever tasted. Puerto Viejo started being touristic long before I got here. The widening of the road just lifted the green curtain a little higher. I didn’t want to look at the changes until they demanded my full presence. Once I did look, I experienced a far deeper grief than I had endured over the loss of that man.

 

Playa Cocles

 

Forced out of denial, I found myself in a tornado that spun between extreme sadness and judgemental anger. I cried daily. And I blamed anyone I could.

 

I blamed the corruption of the Costa Rican government. The locals who let this happen. The tourists who refuse to get their feet dirty. The foreigners who move here without caring about the culture. Myself for being yet another white person diluting the land. Myself for being yet another white person who wants to pee in a toilet, have hot water, use wifi, and buy imported quinoa. Myself for feeling totally helpless in trying to protect the one I love more than anything else on this Earth: the jungle. Myself for being part of the destruction of what I want to protect.

 

I blamed myself. I blamed people like myself who get sucked into anger and negativity instead of spreading light and love. And I blamed the world. Because I know that this happens everywhere.

 

Howler Monkeys Costa Rica

 

Though, my consciousness realized that the Earth can take care of itself. This jungle has been here long before us and this jungle can survive long after us. I’ve seen jungles swallow entire civilizations like the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico. It’s not the jungle who needs to be saved, it’s humanity.

 

So, not as the mother but as the child, I turned to the trees for comfort. They told me that they had a plan, not to worry, to align with love, to beam joy, to feel peace, to rest, to stop struggling, to surrender, and I listened.

 

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I shook my head at my ridiculous as I stared down the coastline and acknowledged how unbelievably beautiful this place still is. I danced for the sunrise, played until sunset, and prayed under the stars. I decided to treasure every moment like it was the last, because maybe it would be. Why suffer about what might become when I could enjoy what still was?

 

But I can’t deny the changes that are happening in Puerto Viejo. Nor can I deny the synchronicity of it all. I see the destruction of the Puerto Viejo I came to love as a reflection of the destruction of the illusions of the man that I loved. Both have helped me grow and yet both have kept me from expanding as fully as I know that I can. I love this place, but I want more than this place. I love my life but I want more than my life as I’ve known it.

 

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Which is why I have chosen to leave.
To start over.
And write a new story.

 

I know I have to die to the life of my dreams to make space for a new one.
I know that I have to die if I really want to live.

 

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This is hardly the first time I’ve left Puerto Viejo to go off and travel. I’ve done it many times over the years. But this time feels different. Because this time when I come back from my journey, Puerto Viejo may not be here waiting for me. She has never been mine after all, and maybe I’m no longer hers either. Maybe she’s ready to change too, even if I don’t want her to.

 

With that awareness I did my best to find closure where I could. I held gatherings, said goodbye to friends, stressed over work projects, and tried to fit everything in. When my laptop stopped working altogether, I realized that it was time to offer my attention to the relationship I would miss most of all.  I walked down the beach for hours without knowing the time and experienced Puerto Viejo the way I did so many years ago, before blogging and friends and responsibilities.

 

Punta Uva

 

Today, my last day, I decided to go back to my old house. The first one I ever lived in, on my first trip to Puerto Viejo. I went back, for the first time since I moved out and went on to Panama with my friend, nearly five years ago. I went to honor the woman who, once upon a time, made the choice to step out of one home and make this place her new one. I went to honor every part of my journey.

 

When I arrived I could tell that no one was living there, so I walked up onto the porch. Being there again was overwhelmingly nostalgic.

 

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I remembered the first night I spent here, terrified of the sounds of the jungle. The first morning walking the coastline and knowing this was the most beautiful place I had and would ever see.

 

All of the fun my friend and I shared together in that house. The nights she and I spent getting dressed up to go out then finding ourselves in a rainstorm, dancing wet for hours at a shady reggae bar. Our long walks carrying water home or seeking out the one cafe with internet. When I brought home a giant beach coconut and tried to smash it open on the front steps while she filmed me. Times we found ourselves in trouble, times we cried together, times we opened together, how much we laughed together.

 

Punta Uva

 

I felt how much she inspired me to begin this path by taking me with her to Costa Rica. I recalled how influential she was in showing me how to blog. I contracted over the mistakes I made in our friendship. I saddened as I remembered her presence leaving my life, and letting her go. She may have helped me start this story, but she’s no longer part of my story at all.

 

My mind flitted to our last morning in the house, when I woke tangled up in bed with the man who has been an instrumental part of this journey since the very beginning. Who has been such a big part of my story. Who I knew that I also needed to let go.

 

I climbed into the hammock where I used to spend my afternoons with him and enjoyed pretending the moment over. He lay across the hammock from me, feet crossed beside my head, beautiful as he’s always been, looking back at the innocent woman I was back then. As he faded away I imagined my friend (more like a sister) coming out of the house, lovingly smiling at me, and sharing my moment of heartbreak. I let myself cry tears of gratitude and loss. Then, I left.

 

punta uva

 

Down the end of the path I arrived at the ocean and surrendered my body to the sea. I turned back towards the coastline and smiled to the trees dancing in the wind. They were my surest companions, the ones who had watched me all of this time. Over the years they watched me play like a child, party til dawn, fall in over my head, dive into yoga, start this blog, liberate myself, and learn how to love. They watched me change my life completely, again, and again, and again. And no matter which phase I was in, they loved me just the same. They loved me no matter who I was.

 

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I looked up to them and I told them how much I would miss them. How hard it is for me to let them go. I told them that I didn’t want to leave them behind. They softly spoke to me through my own heart and said,

 

“Don’t you know sweetie, you will never leave us.

We are with you wherever you go.”

 

With their blessing, I felt like I could let go.

 

Jungle Puerto Viejo

 

Tonight, sitting in my garden under the stars I know that there is someone I still need to say goodbye to. Even more than the trees, there is someone who I’m reluctant to leave. Sometimes I know this one as the spirit of the jungle, other times as the spirit of the ocean, and often as the spirit of the man born to both. For me, they are all simply the spirit of this place. Which I see as love.

 

For a moment I suffer over this knowing, aching for something I know I can’t actually have. Then, I remember that the soul doesn’t know time or space or fear or distance, so I ask my love to arrive into my garden. And he does. I feel his presence. He comforts and wraps around me. In his embrace I soften like a child. With tears welling up in my eyes I ask him,

 

Punta Cocles

 

“Why did you do this to me? Why did you seduce me? Why did you bring me into this world?”

“So that you would stay.”

I sigh.

 

“Well, then why didn’t you keep me? Why didn’t you want more from me? Why did you turn away from me?”

“So that you would leave.”

 

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Which is how this story ends. With me leaving.

 

To begin writing the next story.
To begin building the next dream.

 

And so I am free.

 

(Stay tuned, my next adventures will bring me to Thailand. In 2017 I’m launching my new website, I have a new book coming out, I’m leading my first international retreat in the Thai Islands, and there will be many fresh new offerings coming through This American Girl. Thank you as always for being part of this journey with me, there is much more to come.)

 


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Comments

  1. Such a lovely goodbye, and a beautiful “Hello”. Partially because of you Camille, I leave early next year for the Portuguese Azores – Since Firefighting has been such a grand adventure, I desired another grand adventure as I left this one – Who knows what the future will bring either of us? Since the future is both unknowing, and unknowable we’ll simply have to trust in the perfection of the universe.

    Muito Bem Viagem Dona Cammile!

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Beautiful. I hope your journey offers you all of the gifts of knowing that you so deserve. Thank you as always for honoring me.

  2. This is perhaps the saddest piece you’ve evrr written. It makes my heart ache. I first went to Puerto Viejo because of the ultimate guide you wrote. Ive been there twice now and had been considering buying a small vacation home there. But realized that I may also be contributing to the development there. This is also an end for me as well. Don’t know where I will go from here

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful message and for your sensitivity. I do believe there are ways to be in Puerto Viejo without contributing to the development, but it takes really committing to learning and understanding permaculture (the only sustainable way to develop) and having a deep sensitivity to local culture. I’m trying to learn both..

  3. Your words and truth are such a gift to me. I wrote to you a while back thanking you because if it wasn’t for your blog, I never would have traveled to puerto viejo during my solo travels in Costa Rica, which changed my life. But beyond that, your words echo from my own heart – it’s so amazing that I relate so deeply to every single one of your shares. I feel like we must be kindred spirits:) thank you for your raw honesty and your beautiful words. Sending you love and best wishes on your journey ❤️🙏

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you so much for your beautiful comment Alana. It feels really nice knowing that I am never alone in my journey or my feelings. And neither are you <3 I’m blessed for this community.

  4. Camille – thank you for these words. They are so beautiful. I think we are soul sisters as I have had the same journey and pain with men, childhood trauma, etc… I am also on the same quest to live in the now, love completely and fully, and let others get close to me.

    Thank you so much for sharing as it took great courage to just share your story. It helped me face the pain of not being loved back. A reality that must be accepted to heal.

    Thank you with tears, love, and light!

    Kayla

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Kayla thank you SO much for your heartfelt comment. Yes, we ARE soul sisters and I’m blessed to know you through this space. It’s an honor to write these words and for you to read them. Thank you for who you are.

  5. Jamie Alger Says: December 5, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Wow. Thank you. This brings tears to my eyes. “Why did you do this to me?” “So you would stay.” And then the following “so you would leave.” It’s so true. And what a beautiful role he’s played in your amazing adventure and growth even if it’s not exactly what you wanted. You are definitely a woman who’s meant to keep expanding and inspiring. Thank you for being so brave- you’ve been an inspiration to me for yours.

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you for that reminder, yes this is the path I have chosen and I’m so grateful to walk it. I deeply appreciate your kindness, authenticity, and choice to read since the beginning. Sending you much love Jamie.

  6. Oh my god I was crying throughout reading this post! Have really missed your blog, but sounds like you were going through some big changes. I have finally escaped the UK after getting very comfortable in my comfort zone for a few years. In Costa Rica at the moment, heading to Panama for Christmas. Was in Puerto Viejo briefly, but then heard news of the hurricane coming so got out, but made a new friend in the process who I’m meeting back up with tomorrow to travel together. Good luck with the next phase of your adventure in Thailand, I’m sure it will be spectacular! :)

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much Tess, I always appreciate your presence here on the blog. I hope you are enjoying Central America and that you’re getting some sunshine in between the rain :) Thank you so much for your well wishes, I am really looking forward to this new journey, as sad as it is to leave the old behind.

  7. What a journey it has been! Nothing lasts forever. A sad ending and also a beautiful new beginning.Your life story has been my inspiration for the last five years. You are an amazing writer. Thank you Camille. Much love for you in your new life in Asia.

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much Yvo I really appreciate your kindness and you showing up and reading for so long. It means a lot to me, really.

  8. Such a beautiful post!!
    You had such a circle of a journey and it is time for your next chapter <3 :)

    Cannot wait to keep reading and following your adventures!

  9. What a beautiful heartbreaking inspiring post. I wish you so much luck and love and light in your next chapter and look forward to following your new journey as you share it. Xoxo

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much Kylie I deeply appreciate your blessings, and wish luck, love, and light into your future as well.

  10. Thank you so much for this raw and authentic text. It was amazing to read. I have been through the same path as you, and you are absolutely right when you say that we end up stronger. I feel much much stronger today, although I have had such a rough time a few years ago. I don’t regret it, because all this pain helped me to grow and to move on with my life. I think you are making the right choice to leave and something even more beautiful awaits you. I can’t wait to read your new adventures and maybe I will attend one of your reatreat in Thailand. :-) Safe trip! xx

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you Valerie I really appreciate your support and solidarity. Thank you for being a sister on this tumultuous, exhilarating, gloriously beautiful path.

  11. Patricia Kazimier Says: December 5, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Camille,

    Thank you SO so much for sharing your story. I feel like I am in the exact same place. Except I tried to make my way in corporate America to be the badass feminist exec I thought I was meant to be.

    When I started to see a magical chiropractor I began to tune into all of these subtle body rythems that I was holding so close to me. Clinging to patterns I didn’t even know where patterns.

    Beyond that I realized I was purposefully putting myself in harmful energetic situations. Falling hard in love with a couple of unrequited, soul destined lovers. I can feel the energy of my heart. It’s so in pain, so broken. I feel it full of energies, pulsing, warning me “no more. NO MORE”! With these lovers, I did the same as you. I cut every tie but they slowly keep coming back again and again, like we were tied together and forced to dance. It was only this weekend that I realized they didn’t love me. They didn’t love me! It’s still hard to deal with this fact.

    It’s been such an interesting year for me personally and for the energy of the awakened masculine energy.

    I’m not happy to hear that you feel this pain. But it means the world to know that someone else feels it’s depth and intensity. I just gave two weeks notice to my job on Friday bc I’m going to chiropractic school. I hope to learn more about this heart energy and all of the energies of the subtle body. I wish nothing but the absolute best in love, life, etc. Im excited to be on this same ocean wave of change with you. Love you, sister. :)

    • This post really hit home for me and I cried with you. 2017 I am finally going to get out of my job and go live my life. I have given so much to everyone around me it is time to give back to myself and you helped me so much to make the leap of faith. Sending lots and lots of love your way.

      • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        Cynthia I am so happy to hear that. You are worthy of all that your heart desires. You are worthy of infinite blessings and love, may you be blessed with it all.

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Woah Patricia that is amazing! Thank you SO much for sharing your story with me. I am so happy for you that you had this awakening and are making changes to bring you more into alignment. I absolutely feel you, we are carrying the energy of mother earth and that’s… intense… also intensely beautiful :) I love you too.

  12. wow. i discovered you only a while ago somehow…i don’t remember. but what drew me in was that i first visited/discovered puerto viejo in 2007 and had a magical time with a magical lover. it changed me too. for the past 2.5 hours i’ve been traveling/living in central america and now mexico trying to find my way and the life i want to lead. it’s coming together bit by bit. but hearing stories like yours so candid rouses in me the courage to take a leap. wishing you the best in thailand–that too is a place that calls out to me. maybe one day our paths will cross–we may have mutual friends already as i spent 2 months in cahuita over a year ago. another magical town with magical lessons 😉

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Taylor thank you so much for your message. I totally feel you girl. I am very deeply honored to hear how my words touch something within you and it’s a gift for me to offer that, truly. Thank you for receiving me.

  13. I’m glad I read until the end. The beginning and middle would be easy for another woman to judge and say you were duped/used/lied to/foolish behind a man…etc., which you may have been, but the honesty of your writings and your acknowledgements of your feelings, his feelings, your mistakes, his excuses, and how you are planning to move forward is just brutally honest. Just WOW! I actually visited Cahuita/Manzanillo/Playa Cocles alone because of you a year ago. I just wanted to visit Costa Rica. I did not know at the time that you actually lived in Puerto Viejo. Wow.

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you so much for your honesty Renee. It’s true, we can have all of the experience, the wisdom, and the insight to know better, and to judge our behavior or the behavior of others, but when you’re in the muck of it you’re just in it. It is what it is. My practice is to allow myself those feelings, with full self acceptance, and to allow others theirs. I believe that only then can we move through and rise above. There’s no fast track 😉 That’s sweet to hear that you traveled to my home, I hope you loved it like I do <3 Sending you much love sister.

  14. Sounds like you met your twin flame! Most people say twins are supposed to reunite, but I think that is the exception. You only meet them so you can collide and expand. It’s all about expansion. He was likely lying to you when he said he didn’t feel the same. But oh well. I too had to learn to get over feeling silly and crazy.

    I help people break up and get over their twins. Sounds like you are on the path and have done everything you can. Take your lessons and run. There is someone else waiting for you.

    Jessica

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Oh yesss TOTALLY twin flame energy. SO amazing the link you posted, because I began to understand this when I watched Matt Kahn’s twin flame video a little over a year ago. He is such a powerful teacher on my path. I LOVE HIM. That’s AWESOME that you help people get over their twin flames. Phew, it is intense, and it was confusing when he said that he didn’t feel anything, because while I believed him, I also believed him all of the times he was literally shaking when he saw me or told me that he felt this intense energy between us. So, I guess he showed up in that moment as exactly what I needed to finally move on and let go. Spiritual gift right there. Thank you SO much for your perspective, it’s really helpful to hear that I have done everything that I can. Love you sister.

  15. Hey Camille,

    Over a year ago I had left you a message that you then reposted on your Facebookpage 😀 I don’t know if you remember. I hardly ever reply to any websites online, yet now once again I will at yours. Last time I thanked you, this time I feel I might have something that can help you.

    It sounds as if I might have very similar experiences with a man. I had moved to the other side of the world for him, In a nutshell I ended up giving up everything to be his nothing. Eventho I knew how horrible he had treated me, I just could. not. let. him go. It went on for years. I never had thought myself to be a woman that would let somebody push me around like this, yet I did. Whenever I felt it was finally done, I had made some excuse to why it would be better or he somehow came back into my life again. Sometimes he reached out, sometimes I did.

    This kept going on for so ages, untill I had come to a psychologist to talk about a completely different manner, namely my anxiety of flying. When we discussed my past, we came to my exboyfriend when my psychologist asked me if I had ever heard of ‘Narcisisstic Abuse’. I of course had heard of narcissism, but had never to any extend researched the details of it. Narcissistic abuse is a type of emotional abuse that can possibly happen to a person if they have been in a (romantic) relationship with somebody who has narcissistic tendencies.

    And then, everything started to fall into place. The silent treatments, the showering me with affection and then giving me the cold shoulder, the fact that I projected my own good nature onto him, that I kept forgiving him, the other women, the betrayals, the manipulating, the yo yoing me back and forth, the sexual connection, the reason why I couldn’t let go.

    My jaw dropped with recognition and I started reading and researching on it. Words like cognitive dissonance and trauma bonding began to sooth me into understanding what had actually happened and I felt as if for the first time I got the answers that I so desperately always wanted from him, yet he could or would not give me. In the end it also gave me the strength to truly let go and a chance to heal myself from old wounds that had made me prone to these types of men.

    From what I hear from your story, it sounds so familiar it gave me goosebumps. However, I’m no expert on psychoanalysis, but I would recommend to maybe have a read on narcissists, and their idealization-devaluation-discard phase and see if it in anyway might relate to what has happened to you with your romance. It might just give you that last step of closure, as it has done for me!

    :) All the best

    Love <3

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you so much Tess. Yes yes I remember your message from before of course. Thank you for sharing your experience and your wisdom with me. The complexity of Puerto Viejo, the cultural differences, it’s all a lot to understand and creates a whole additional layer of confusion on the already confusing dance of relationships 😉 I did research narcissists and was a bit concerned as I recognized myself in the description much more than I recognized him! LOL! Though I guess a narcissist would never consider themselves to be one. Phew 😉 xoxo Thank you love.

  16. This piece really struck a chord with me. I understand everything that you wrote in a deep way, and I appreciate you sharing this with us. I am going through a very similar journey to the one you describe here, and have written about on this blog. In particular, the pattern of this relationship. I have had two relationships very much like this one, and recently did an ‘aura clearing’ meditation myself. I felt closure, but I wondered if I should actually contact this person to ask once and for all if there was anything I could have done for it to turn out differently. I think my greatest fear and relief would be to hear him say that he never felt anything for me beyond sexual desire. I also really relate to your experience with Puerto Viejo changing. These thoughts run through my mind constantly as a ‘visitor’ to these beautiful places where I feel guilty being a part of the problems they face. I like when you wrote that humanity needs saving. I agree. I am currently in Southeast Asia, so I hope that one day I get to go to one of your retreats!

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      I totally feel you Eva. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your heart with me. It helps me feel connected with you. I hope you find the clarity and closure that you need, in whatever way feels right for you. It would be such a blessing to have you on retreat. Thailand has a few spaces open! xoxo

  17. thank you for sharing your story, camille. it’s very inspiring and it has so many lessons! i know you’ll reinvent yourself over and over, without loosing your essence. let’s make a toast to life! :) and keep the magic rolling. <3

  18. David johnston Says: December 6, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s so honest, refreshing and authentic, like sharing a glimpse your soul. All of the pain and struggle of what it is to be human. As formless beings of light, we inhabit form to experience sensual pleasures “outside” ourself only to learn over time there is nothing and no one outside ourself that is our source of love…nothing to cling to. Even though we find and bump into momentary resonance with another being or a place, the moment we cling it’s like sand or water through our fingers. So the journey seems to be one of letting go, over and over …..no longer trying to control or manipulate but allowing it to unfold. Setting our sails but trusting in divine guidance with joy, excitement and passion as the captain;) when I read your words I thought of this book by Osho and it’s one of my favorites and I thought to share it with you. It’s called Until you die http://www.osho.tw/OshoEnglish/Until%20You%20Die.doc My own journey has led me to creating my own company called “iAwaken ” which is based on a near death experience I had. I have a Facebook page and will begin selling through Shopify soon. My slogan is …iAwaken to the source of my being…to the source of life itself :) it is simply a reminder of how precious life is in our day to day lives..to wake up from the dream of taking it for granted and recognize our source is within not without ❤️ Blessings and love! I look forward to reading more of your journey into the ever unfolding source of the lotus self 😄

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Thank you David that is beautiful. I LOVE OSHO! Such a powerful teaching. Sending you much love and thank you soooo much for your encouragement and blessings. I wish you all of the wonders of the world and beyond.

  19. I cried so much.

  20. Birgit Brenjord Says: December 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Wow.

    I just discovered this blog yesterday after finding you on instagram. I’ve read almost every post, and, like I see you did with other readers, you really hit home.

    The connection with nature, living in such a beautiful place, being your own boss, the connection with your spiritual and feminine sides etc. All of the things I want to enrichen my life with in the near future.

    You really have a way with words, pauses and balanse in your writing. Your raw honesty draws the reeder right in, with the feelings to go with it. I’m looking forward to follow your next journey and I hope you leave this page up for re-reading.

    All the best from Norway

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Thank you so very much for your kind words Birgit. Yes, there will be much more to come and I’m so beyond grateful and blessed to be able to connect with you in this way.

  21. Wow, dear one. This felt like being punched in the gut. You’ve articulated so well the abstract pain that is in all of us. I wish you everything you deserve which is nothing less than the best. You know what I’ve just realized. I think E is your version of my T. We seem to be going through parallel journeys of heartbreak. The future holds the unknown for us, both terrifying and freeing at once. Love you!

  22. Afzal Zaheer Says: December 12, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    There are relations in our lives which we wanted to be sweet and pleasant, but there are things which we have least control.
    You pointed out exact things to make us realise, that life has its ups and downs

  23. Kerry Wynn Says: December 21, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Hi Camille. I too have had a similar experience. Alone on hill top at sunset Amidst beautiful untouched nature , I realised that nature can live without us if mankind disappears nature can happily continue to coexist. And yet without nature mankind will not survive . In spite of that we continue to subdivide , pollute , consume use plastic drink bottles etc etc and God , the Creator / Spirit whatever it is you choose to believe is gracious enough to allows us to continue to exist inspite of our stupidity. I totally get what you meant about the trees.

  24. That’s so lovely, he told you he was with someone and you contemplated betraying another women yet again… do you teach that at your women’s retreats? I’d love to come and learn how to romanticise and justify messing with other women’s men.. sounds so enlightening.

  25. This is beautiful. I’ve been following your blog since just before I left for my Latin American backpacking journey and I’ve turned to it every time I need inspiration or support. Thank you for sharing this painful and honest truth. Much love and looking forward to reading about your next adventures. X

    • Camille Willemain Says: May 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Julia you are so welcome and thank you for your support and acknowledgement. I’m so grateful for you to receive my stories with your open heart. Looking forward to sharing more with you and wishing you the best on your journey!!

  26. […] reading this post, you may want to read: The Way This Story Ends Thailand, Three Years […]