I'm an adventurer and I absolutely LOVE to travel, especially exotic foreign locales that have something to show me, teach me, and entice me to unleash my wild, nature-loving spirit. Which is why when we received an unexpected trip to Tahiti, I pinched myself and then literally screamed with joy! (more on that in a minute) But prior to leaving I stumbled upon this pretty famous Seth Godin quote in one of my social feeds, and it got me thinking... was I using this trip to escape my life?
This was one of those trips you just don't say *no* to. It was literally handed to us on a silver platter. Having a husband who works for a global airline definitely has its perks, and after misplacing our original company holiday gift of two tickets on Virgin America (which we were going to use to go surfing in Sayulita, Mexico), we were lucky enough to have them replaced with two tickets to Tahiti – thank you to the someone else who had decided they wouldn't be able to use them. Goodbye little baby Sayulita waves, hello massive Teahupoo waves.
This was a trip we both were really really looking forward to, with Pancho's cancer diagnosis (my dog), a rough year for business, and some pretty massive personal growth experiences for both of us, we couldn't wait for that plane to whisk us away.
And, it all came to an abrupt halt when Pancho relapsed – months of healthy days turned into days of uncontrollable vomiting – and our plans turned to prayers, we were so close to getting on that plane! Finally, I made the call. He needed us more than we needed Tahiti. If something were to happen to him while we were away, we wouldn't have been able to live with ourselves. Calls made. Nice people understood. Trip postponed. Pancho recovered. Life has a funny way of making sure you're attention is focused on what's important. Tahiti would have to wait until February.
As the weeks approached our new date, multiple bottles of sunscreen were purchased, Jacks Surf Shop frequented, tent and backpacks rescued from storage, and cautious enthusiasm became our mantra. Both of us dreaming of crystal azure waters and desperately trying to keep focused on the tasks at hand – global marketing campaigns, product launches, completion of MORE:kindness, creation of other MoreSeeker goodies, while also preparing Pancho and his sitters for our 10 day absence – all in a rather desperate move to make sure life could move forward while we stole away to rejuvenate our souls, inspire our spirits, and just simply *be* together.
And amidst the frenzy of holiday preparation I happened upon the "stick it to you" wisdom of Seth Godin. Correction, I didn't just happen upon it, rather it kind of slapped me in the face as Mr. Godin's straightforward honesty can often do, literally stopping me dead in my tracks. It hit me like an arrow in the heart, wounded. Was I escaping? Life had definitely not been a cake walk. The past year had literally been downright deplorable. One for the record books. And one I happily said "Sayonara" to on December 31. Shit! I fricking needed this beach holiday, damn it! (Probably more than I think I really realized.)
But was I escaping? Was I miserable? Had I done it again, chosen "other" over me? Was it not OK to escape?
I tried to put it out of my mind, "Screw it! I'm going, even if I am escaping!" And now I'm haunted with this thought, rolling around from conscious awareness to sub-conscious marination. Major questions creeping in – lurking, knocking, wanting answers – offering me the opportunity to see the truth of my life. Had I created a life that required escape? Had I let life get the better of me? Was my life running me? Or was this my life – adventure, international travel, luxury, blissful moments collaged together into one big amazing life, all while watching the clouds move and the sun rise and set?
When I was growing up my mom was a vigilant sun chaser. The antithesis of a vampire, the sun nourished her like nothing else. She would pull us out of school for weeks on end to "trip the life fantastic" under the bold bright sun in the likes of Maui, Mexico, and Southern California. This was my true nature. Right!?!?!?! Open spaces, sun-kissed days, watching oceans glisten, mountains tower, spirit soaring, taking flight. This is me. This is my life. Or was I fooling myself?
Truth be told, this was far from my current reality. I hadn't been on a lavish, soul-nourishing getaway in quite some time. Sure, I'd climbed the Andes with my favorite shaman and mystic, I'd retreated in the hot desert in the middle of nowhere hot Utah, and stolen away from a speaking gig to splash in a lazy river in a fancy Orlando hotel.
Nice. But not the same. I had to accept the truth, I'd gotten caught up in my life, drugged by the details of everyday living, self-care more of a blurry memory than a real practice. Truth has this funny way of creating an interesting tension.
Was this trip an enhancement to my life, or an escape? The question loomed louder, demanding an answer.
Five days into our holiday getaway in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far away from my regular everyday life, I sat on the edges of the shimmering waters of the pristine Huahine Iti lagoon, just starring, just sitting, just breathing, and a little voice fluttered through like a sweet little butterfly, "Why can't it be both – escape AND enhancement?"
"Yes, why can't it? It can! It is!" This was my life. I loved my life at home (even with all its recent lessons) AND I desperately needed a break, I needed to be inspired by something I could not feel, experience, or find in my own backyard.
This was my life. This was the life I'd purposefully created, a life of hard work building something amazing that I absolutely loved, devoted to making the world a better place, a life nurturing the ones I deeply care for, AND a life filled with adventures both near and far.
Yes, I'd been lackadaisical about myself and my own self-care, caught up in the mind boggling joy of creating an entrepreneurial business, experimenting, failing, learning, succeeding. I'd basically forgotten to love myself as much as I loved what I was creating, as much as I loved my loved ones. So, absolutely, I needed *an escape*, a holiday a getaway. But not *to* escape. I needed to refuel, light up my soul, reconnect with my husband, and awaken my spirit. I needed to go to Tahiti to feel connected again, to be inflow, to nourish what had been neglected, and in the process, depleted.
Our souls need us to take a break, to reset, to feed ourselves with new sights, interesting sounds, alternate energies. Americans are notorious for not taking advantage of vacation. The Huffington Post reported in January that 42% of Americans don't take ANY days off. Now that is crazy-talk, people! Even Obama steals away on vacation! Honestly, no matter what kind of life you've built, no matter how wonderful, and how fulfilled, you still need a break from the surroundings, people, habits, and routines you've created to make your life so fabulous! Holidays shake things up, jolt the system, open our eyes and our hearts. They add MORE!
Escaping and holidays should be required. Work can wait, kids need a break from parents as much as parents do from them, points are meant to be used, favors called in, rainy day funds used for sunny days. And honestly, when you know what you want, it always finds a way of happening (thank you Air New Zealand for the the beautiful gift of free tickets). Everything has a way of working out when we know what we really want, and need. And everything will be there when you get back. And you'll more than likely be better equipped to handle your life, the good times and the tough.
It's OK to wander off, to escape, to get lost for a little bit! Please, please, please don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
This one, simple message made me realize I'd built a life I was excited to come home to. On our last day, as we lounged on the deck in our overwater bungalow (you simply can't go all that way and not stay in one of the infamous overwater bungalows), I realized I'd built a life I wasn't escaping from, I'd built a life I was excited to go home to. I was going home to hug on my dog. I was going home to create new things from new inspiration. I was going home to share stories with my best friends. I was going home to participate in life with a new outlook, and a relaxed sense of being. And I was going home with our next trip already in the works.
My takeaway – it's good to escape *to* something. For me it's adventure, new lands, discoveries, insights, cultures, nature, other beautiful people, experiences like no other. Because it wakes me up. It gives me new content, new dots to connect, new stories. It brings my body, soul and spirit that much closer together, and that feels really really good!
So, YES! I escaped. And I'm better for it.
When was your last escape? Your last real, true holiday where you unplugged and could choose to spend the days drooling, if you really wanted to? YAY you if you said last month. Now book another! And, if you haven't had one in a while, I'm guessing you have one in mind, so book it! Or maybe do it MoreSeeker style and get out the map, close your eyes, and let your heart wander to the place that will open it wide, and allow your spirit will soar, your body to relax, and MORE to come your way!
PS: If you can't steal away to Tahiti because your vacation days are already delegated to other amazing adventures, but you want to escape, I'll share some ideas and a fun new resource to help you create mini-adventures next week! Talk to you then!