The adventure with Audventurism started when I was sitting at lunch with a childhood girlfriend who had just lost her job and ex-boyfriend and was joking about going to travel the world. I remember thinking in the back of my head, “Wow, that actually sounds very liberating.” At the time, I was unhappy with my career and unsure about my love life. Fast forward a few months later and it’s November 2018, and I too lost my job and my boyfriend--both within about 5 days. I wasn’t just sad and discouraged, I was angry. I was angry at myself, others, and the universe. What did I do wrong? I thought I was doing everything right by pushing forward and working hard to achieve my goals....from my career, personal life, and social life to following social norms….come to think of it, what were my goals? What were my dreams? But all I could think of, was why me? Why did my boyfriend of 5 years all of a sudden tell me he wanted a break right after looking at engagement rings and 6 months of sacrificing our living conditions to buy a house? We were on the typical path of getting married, buying a house, and starting a family...but was that what I, me, myself, wanted? Did I think about this life-changing decision long and hard that would determine the rest of my life? Plain and simply, no - I didn’t really think about it. How is that possible?
My ex-boyfriend told me he wanted a break right before the Thanksgiving holiday and a week later, I got let go (company restructured) from my 2-year role as a project manager for a start up internet domain space company that I was planning to leave, but was waiting for the “right time.” My priority then seemed to be to get married, but why? Why did I wish to get married to this guy when deep down inside, I was truly unhappy. This, in itself, is a scary thought – the fact that you think you want to live your life with one person for the rest of your life and make all these adjustments for them and with them….and then, what if that all goes away, for whatever reason the universe, or some circumstance, decides? The only reason I can muster up in my mind is that it must not correlate to the true self, or the universal soul. I obviously wasn’t aligning with the unconscious soul, because I point blank was lost and trapped inside my own subconscious monkey mind while trying to follow social norms.
Like I said, I was angry. So my first inclination was to Google “top yoga retreats” and that’s exactly what I did the same night after being let go. I thought about going to Hawaii and then started seeing all these options for Costa Rica...I landed on a 5-day retreat in Costa Rica with hesitation but booked it as soon as I made my decision. It was final, I was escaping this mess in just a few days, scared shitless, but excited at the same time. That was the first time I felt those uncomfortable yet empowering feelings that were hiding beneath my skin for many many years. My experience on the retreat itself will need another blog post, but to sum it up: I fell in love with the country of Costa Rica and met the most incredible group of women who helped empower me to meditate for the first time, and gain enough confidence to finally go get my certification to be a yoga teacher.
As I arrived back home before Christmas, I was determined to figure out where to get certified. Of course, I looked for places in Costa Rica and found one that fit the budget. A month later, I was off to Costa Rica for the second time, a different part of Costa Rica, with the same feeling as the first time, but with a clearer vision of my goals. I’ll save another blog post to get into my yoga teacher training experience of 3 weeks, but to sum it up, I met another group of incredible women from around the world and gained more knowledge about the practice of yoga and myself than I ever expected going into it. From that training, I became even more aware of my purpose and knew I needed to completely end things with my ex-boyfriend and start teaching yoga, so I did exactly that. When I returned home, I organized and sold all of our shared belongings, said goodbye, and started looking into yoga teacher opportunities around the world. Thankfully, I ran into someone who told me about a workaway/volunteer exchange program called Workaway and then eventually heard about a similar program solely for yoga opportunities, called Yoga Trade. It was the perfect situation for what I wanted to do….explore other places and practice and (now) teach yoga.
I had never really been exposed to the whole expat, backpacker, volunteer/workaway/work-exchange industry before traveling to Costa Rica, but I had met many people along the way that introduced me to this other world. About 3 weeks later, I landed a workaway position as a yoga teacher and kitchen helper at a resort in another part of Costa Rica I had never been to. So this was the third time jetting off to a country I so admired within 3 months, not knowing what to expect every single time. The workaway lasted 3 months and I’ll save this experience for another blog post, but to sum it up, the place, people, experiences, and just the whole damn journey through those 3 months, led me on yet another path to get closer to my true self and destiny...my heart was calling for more adventure, “an adventure of a lifetime.” It turned out to be an Audventure!
By this time it was Summer 2019 (6 months after losing everything I had built), now living in my own paradise (in the jungle on the beach) while teaching yoga and searching for corporate jobs back in America (for whatever reason), not knowing what to do next. My gut was telling me not to go back to America and my heart was telling me to keep traveling, so I was able to listen (through the practice of yoga) and did exactly that...I stopped searching for jobs and started researching places that I’ve always wanted to visit. And then I came up with an itinerary to be home in time for Christmas - I had 6 months to go with this so-called “freedom” “liberating” “empowered” mentality. Thankfully, my dad was able to come visit me for my birthday so he brought me a large backpack and a few other traveling necessities I could think of for a backpacker (a term so unfamiliar to me then).
To this day, I contemplate what would have happened if I hadn't decided to go on that 5-day yoga retreat (but ideally it wasn’t my decision after-all, it was my true self calling). The drive to escape and leave everything behind was fueled by the suppression of feelings and desires my heart and soul craved for so long that was trapped with a blockage in my mind. I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right, I just didn’t know how to make the change, so the universe led me to it, and that in itself is the reason for trusting in the universal soul, the higher power source (whatever you believe to be true). Once I was ready to take the leap of faith, my whole little world that was destroyed started to rebirth into another world, the universal soul, that I was missing before. One “opportunity” (should be dream) after another, on my own terms. My eyes and ears opened up, I was becoming a new person with a new perspective just months after being heart-broken and angry by other means.
The anger I had before turned into empowerment that eventually led me on a roller coaster ride of overcoming obstacles one step at a time. I was in over my head, my monkey mind wasn’t there anymore because it couldn’t in this other world, I couldn’t have control of anything besides my senses. Though, for the first time, I didn’t want to have control. I wanted the universe to guide me, like it had guided me out of that shitty little world that my monkey mind created. There’s so much that got broken down and rebuilt inside and outside of myself that I completely transformed into a new woman throughout my backpacking journey. The journey of a lifetime...a life time...a dream...a roller coaster ride….an adventure…however you want to define it, it’s there, in the past now. Nevertheless, it wasn’t your typical backpacker experience...I moved very quickly (faster than any other solo-backpacker I met), because I was on a mission to see it all, I was on a roll and I never gave up. I overcame many obstacles along the way, and am very proud of what I accomplished, I finally found the “Audventurism” in me.
Once I returned home for Christmas, I wasn’t ready for the transition, and you’ll read the following posts why I might not have been “ready” or mentally prepared for it, but to sum it up, I was in over my head again. Did I push myself too hard? I wasn’t prepared for the adjustment or culture shock, but who is? No one will ever understand what I experienced, or how I felt when I returned back home after this long, yet fast paced solo-adventure of mine, but as I tried to continue to let go of the past and follow my heart, while allowing the universe to guide me, I was stuck with that angered feeling yet again. How is that possible? I just went on a trip of a lifetime by following my heart and trusting the universe...was it because I wasn’t following social norms (mind), or was it because that one dream (heart) to travel the world ended? Nonetheless, that feeling inside yet again empowered me to make a change. I knew I didn’t want to stay in the same environment I had previously built, I didn’t want to waste time looking for another 9-5 job that I wasn’t passionate about, but knew I wanted to continue to practice and teach yoga (because that makes me happy). So I made a decision to go back to Costa Rica and teach yoga near the same place I was volunteering at the year prior (because that’s where my heart was the happiest after being broken). Sure, the whole backpacking journey was a dream, my heart was in it, fully. But when that ended, what was next? I couldn’t even think clearly, because I had just experienced this “adventure of a lifetime” that I was trying to digest at the same time as trying to be “normal” back in America’s society, my “home.” I can write more about the whole transitioning process and this adjustment period in another post, but I wasn’t going to give up, I wasn’t going to just go back to my old self, old habits, and forget everything I just learned about with myself, the universe, the “bigger picture.”
So in February, I ended up jetting off to Costa Rica again, for the fourth time, to the same country I had never stepped foot on just a little over a year prior. Why? Why did the universe guide me in that direction? Was it the heart leading me or the mind? Well, all I knew was that I wanted to try to establish my yoga teacher in me while I was there because that’s where I felt the most energy in the world. Unfortunately, at that time, the yoga teacher workaway position wasn’t available at the resort I wanted to teach at, but a local guy who I had met the year prior (and had been talking to since), offered for me to stay with him while I found another opportunity in the area. It was a tough decision because I didn’t really know him all that well (we had met 8 months prior), but I also knew many people in the area since I was living there for 3 months before. So I decided to take the leap of faith and just go for it….because why not? What did I have to lose? For that’s what my gut was telling me, and I was trying to follow my heart.
Well, I arrived in over my head and didn’t know what to expect, but was happy to be in paradise again. I tried to find and feel my groundings, but was distracted with the living situation and people I was surrounded by. Throughout my backpacking journey, I overcame many obstacles that I knew I could tackle any living situation, and then leave if it didn’t work out. My “plan” was to go feel out the yoga teacher in me and see if I wanted to possibly establish a business or just work for a little in a place I admired so deeply in my heart (3 months before jetting off to Italy with my family for a trip we had been planning for a year). And I had other options that were in the works as well, like other workaway positions in other countries I could go to if this one didn’t work out. But like I said, as soon as I arrived, with no real “plan” other than teaching yoga and feeling it out, I got distracted by my surroundings and was trying to decide what to do for the next couple of months...and then COVID-19 hit. I was faced with yet another, grander, higher power source out of my control decision to either stay in the environment I felt the most energy in and where my heart remained, or go back home and deal with the pandemic (not to mention this place was very secluded down a dirt road 45 minutes from town so ideally a perfect setting for a pandemic).
Well, I decided to stay and face the obstacles I knew I could overcome, but didn’t know fully to what extent, the boundaries, I didn’t even know existed inside me. And there’s more to that decision from when the pandemic hit that I could get into deeper, with emotions, senses, boundaries, but I’ll save that for another post because there is a lot there. But to sum it up blatantly, it was a dream that didn’t come true. I mean, in my mind, I was wrapped up with the belief or goal or dream that I could establish a business in this place where I thought my heart was, but then the universe said no to that dream without my mind even being able to make that decision (I was still processing). I needed more time to decide if it was right for me...but isn’t that what I said to myself when I needed to look for another job? Either way, the universe made that decision for me, it wasn’t meant to be. And, on the other hand, the universe said no to every being, not just me. Not this time, the universe wasn’t just guiding me, it was, and is guiding every being (in my opinion, to stop and change the way things are, in the present moment). The new me was once again turned upside down, for the second time, a year later, right after this backpacking journey, a dream come true, a long lasting dream, one after another, with a new mindset and new dream….but then no, it’s not going to happen this time. Why? Now what? What do I have to overcome next?
Here I am, yet again angry, but this time with a different mindset and fragile heart. I’ll go back to where it all starts: the heart. My heart was broken before, I was uncomfortable, so I changed my environment...I discovered my true self as I listened to the universe instead of my mind, with the knowledge and experience gained through yoga and travel. Ideally, my heart is slowly opening back up as time goes on. That’s inevitable, because love is what we are all here for – for our soul to be filled with joy every single moment is a dream come true. We are all at our best when we break free from the mind clutter and love with our heart so that our soul, the universal soul, can be all-ever-embracing love in abundance. So I’m not going to let my mind control the present moment anymore, as I now know to listen to my heart and soul, in order to be present. I’ll let go as I did in the past and continue to allow the universe to guide me and everyone else down the journey of this lifetime.
Just because one dream doesn’t present itself to the true self, doesn’t mean there isn’t another dream waiting down the path of self-discovery, for the self will never know, the universal soul knows. Just because I had all these dreams come true right after another and then one didn’t come true, doesn’t mean I’m giving up...my heart will continue to heal because my mind can’t control my heart anymore, I won’t allow it. I have a very determined and focused personality so when something fails I try to fix it, I do anything I can to make it work out. Just like with my ex-boyfriend, my ex-job, my ex-dream...these stages of life...it’s all evolving to our destiny. No self or being is expected to predict the future, yet we try to control it with the best of our ability because it’s scary to not know. So many of us are fearful of the future, why? I think that’s the exciting part: not knowing what’s to come. The mind gets fearful and does everything it knows how to control the situation, fight or flight mode. In my opinion, this exact thought/mode is the reason the pandemic has hit our world. It seems that the higher source is sending a message that there needs to be a change, a change in the mindset, to be more open and present while consistently connecting to the true self, because the soul of the universe is being damaged. In other words, there needs to be a movement to allow ourselves the freedom to change, change with the universe so that the spirit is lifted, the heart is full and the mind is clear. This in itself and in my own terms is Audventurism: a theory of being present with more heart and soul, through the practice of yoga in finding one’s true self, in order to listen to the universe and take action with new experiences, to travel. Where are we going next? It’s an adventure of a being, a life, a dream, a reality, a mind, a heart, a soul...Audventurism...I’m here for the adventure, follow along if you dare!