With daily images of me lazing on tropical beaches, I can understand why one might think my life is nothing more than an extended vacation. And at times, when I wake up with no agenda other than yoga and a long beach walk, it is.
But as any backpacker or nomad will tell you, life of perpetual travel is work. Often hard work.
It requires finding clarity in confusion.
Trust in unpredictability.
Comfort in discomfort.
This morning, after a long weekend in Nosara swimming in an infinity pool overlooking the ocean (okay, you’re allowed to hate me right now), I spontaneously decided to take a bus to Nicaragua.
My original plan was to return to Puerto Viejo with door-to-door service in an air-conditioned car, for free. There I could rededicate myself to my yoga practice. Find a comfortable place to live. Become more consistent with all of you.
But something in me thought… I’m not ready.
And besides, my visa expired two weeks ago… Oops! Time for another stamp.
At first I hesitated. Seven weeks of nonstop travel, sleeping in hostels, surviving on rice and beans, taking one dusty sweaty bumpy bus after the next, has left me exhausted. I have friends, a home in Puerto Viejo. It sounded so alluring.
When I expressed my hesitation, my friend told me that I am lazy.
“Come on Camille, it’s a vacation!! How hard could it be?”
He has never seen the way that I travel.
How I wake up at sunrise to write, spend the day through my camera, carry my entire life on my back from one bus terminal to the next, navigate a foreign city or town in a language that is not my own, cook my meals in primitive kitchens, and sleep on too hard or too soft often damp mattresses at night.
It is not vacation. It is work. And it is also the life I have chosen.
After spending three days, all expenses paid, lounging in a luxury home, drinking wine next to the pool at sunset, dining in fine restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I can hardly view the journey I’m about to take as vacation.
But as tired as I feel, I’m ready to rough it again.
Because something I realized this weekend, as difficult as it is at times, is that I actually prefer sleeping in hostels. I prefer cooking with the few ingredients I’m able to afford. I prefer taking buses surrounded by locals. I prefer walking miles down deserted beaches to reach civilization. I prefer the work of travel to the ease of vacation.
I find satisfaction in what I work for. I find wonder in everything that I observe. I find myself transformed by the lessons I learn in the struggle.
But I understand that sometimes vacation is necessary. Sometimes we need to escape. We need to reenergize to prepare ourselves for the lessons of life ahead.
Travel has taught me to find the balance between effort and ease.
So today I will push myself to see a new country and learn along the way. I will continue to do this for as long as my heart tells me is necessary. But I will also give myself permission to relax. I will allow myself to surrender.
And wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whichever life you live, I hope you will do the same.