If you asked me on New Years Day 2014 where I would be in 2015, I would have told you Europe. Germany more specifically. After all, I was on my way to move in with my German boyfriend. To take a leap of faith for love.
It turns out I wasn’t allowed to live in Europe – the place I had tried to live for a year in 2014. I guess one needs a pesky visa, a piece of paper, in order to do so long term (and not for a lack of trying and applying, twice).
So, naturally, I decided to live at a yoga studio on the beach as my second choice.
I traveled to 7 countries in 2014, and so far 4 countries as of the first quarter in 2015. I currently live in Costa Rica (for the first part of 2015) at a yoga retreat on the ocean. Life is funny.
Taking Another Leap of Faith
It was surprisingly easy to find this place, this opportunity, and to arrive here. The universe opened up a path, and I followed it. It was terrifying. It was not my first choice. People questioned me. Yet, I now firmly believe if something is meant to be, it will be. There is no need to go about forcing things, or insist life should be the way I think it needs to be.
Originally, I was devastated to leave Europe. That place feels right to me, it feels like home, and I’m not done with that space. I’ll probably end up there one day for good. For now though, that is not the place I am meant to be.
I am meant to live at a yoga retreat center where it’s my job to film fun videos for YouTube, gain a larger social media following, write articles, dive deep into website html, and interview yoga instructors.
Right now, I am meant to have the life-changing talks, the heart-opening yoga classes, and the life-connecting moments with nature that expose themselves daily in this space.
It used to be such a struggle to get up before 8:30/9 am, as a self-proclaimed night-owl. I now get up at 6 am in order to journal on the sunrise deck before work at 7 am, and dabble with getting up at 5 am to have another hour to meditate and complete personal work. I also get naturally tired around 9 pm (if not earlier).
I am in love with the morning silence (until 7:30 am). I can get my coffee, morning fruit, journal and sit down at my computer to work without having to speak to anyone. I can just smile and nod. Something I always used to do to my boyfriend in The Netherlands/Germany over breakfast (that never went very well as he is very much a morning person).
I love the people a yoga retreat center brings together. They are brave, unique and open. The number of amazing and life-changing conversations I’ve had here is off the charts. I’ve grown more as a person in the last three months than I have in the past year (and I’m constantly trying to grow and change).
My Tribe and This Space
My coworkers are the most amazing people on earth. Our talents brought us here (photographers, graphic designers, gardeners) and the yoga center pulls out amazing personal growth. I’ve finally found the tribe I was looking for. We give each other cheek kisses, walk on the beach, talk long into the night, and dance the night away at the jungle bar on Fridays.
The land this eco-resort was built on is sacred. It demands one look inward and provides universal sings in the animals and plant life. There are open slots in the ceilings and walls naturally in the cabinas that would never work in the tundra of Minnesota, but allow for beautiful air circulation and a way of living with nature that deeply resonates with something biological.
Choosing the Positive
Most days, my biggest issue is where I left those damn sandals. I tend to get up and walk away from my flip flops in our outdoor office, eating and conversation area, only to realize I don’t have anything on my feet when I go to walk to my room, the yoga studio or the pool (which includes a trek across a rock gravel path).
I know, life is rough. The point is, I could have gone into a deep depression when Europe didn’t work out. I could have felt forced back into the corporate world I renounced the year before. Instead, I found a different path. A road less traveled, if you will.
Dealing with the Judgement
It doesn’t come without questioning looks, comments and assumptions from those firmly rooted in the typical life journey. I always get the sideways glance from one guest during the week, accompanied by one of the following:
“Don’t you miss your family? I could never just leave everyone to come live here.”
Of course. They cheered me on when I made this decision though. They are travelers just like me!
“Did you go to college?”
Just because I live at a yoga retreat center does not mean I don’t have my graduate degree in International Business and Cultural Management. It means I’m resourceful!
“Do your parents pay for you to live here?”
That’s funny. No, I paid my own way through my undergraduate and graduate degrees. My parents will get a kick out of this question though.
“I could never leave my office job like you did. Do you actually like it here?”
I am literally on the beach right now talking to you on my break. Let me say that again: my work break includes reading a book on the beach in Costa Rica. What was your question again?
That being said, most guests I chat with cheer us on saying they wished they had taken the opportunity to do something brave when they were young. It is a beautiful reminder that it takes bravery and creativity to diverge from the norm. Sometimes that is exactly what you need to live life to the fullest.
Stop Worrying, Stop Worrying, Stop Worrying
If my New Years Day 2014 self worried I would not be happy in 2015 because Germany didn’t work out, I would tell her I am living the most exciting, juicy and fulfilling life possible.
I was only half-living after college, working in jobs I thought gave my life meaning and made me a ‘successful person.’ Do NOT get me wrong. I fully support my friends and those that choose that lifestyle. For them it’s energizing and fulfilling, and I cheer them on. There are all sorts of perks to office work!
For me however, it was not authentic, which was the source of my discontentment. Deep down, what I require is a mode of transportation, a change of clothes and piece of open nature to explore. And of course, my trusty Mac.
The most exciting part? I have no idea where I will ring in 2016. It could be literally anywhere on earth. That possibility is terrifying and thrilling at the same time. A dichotomy I embrace now.
I’d love to know, where will you ring in the New Year? What was your greatest lesson from the past 12 months? Let’s connect about it on Instagram!