What a great month at home in Portland, Oregon! I got to see so many wonderful friends and had an absolute blast sharing my escapades as a global nomad. I felt a little badass for a minute there, telling everyone about trekking Tigers in Nepal, Scuba Diving in Bali. It all sounds very glamorous over cocktails.
But authenticity requires a little full disclosure. As I reflect on my first “back and forth” trip home, there are some points to note.
An Explosive Pause
First off, my Big Life Pause is actually looking a lot more like an Old Life Explosion. Not so Zen as I imagined at the outset of my “off the grid” plan, this Pause is life upside-down. My first 8 weeks of travel allowed me to pull back from habituated cultural norms and begin to build a life that is uniquely supportive of my personal needs.
So, What Does That Look Like?
When I wake up in freak out mode, asking myself “What the hell am I doing out here wandering the globe all alone!?!” …. I remember that I have 3 primary goals:
Physical: Support functional healing and conserve physical capacity
These legs and hips require regular work to maintain function, and that function will inevitably diminish over time. I want to slow the degeneration curve and make the most of what I’ve got while I’ve got it. Arranging my days around walking, swimming, physical therapy, yoga and meditation means that self care is job #1, not something that gets worked in between everything else.
Financial: Minimize expenses
It costs a whole lot less to rest and recover on your rump in SE Asia than it does in most places around the world. My total monthly expenses in Bali – food, lodging, transportation and entertainment – total just over half the cost of my previous rent in the US. Knowing that my nest egg is earning interest while my periods of work at home are funding my travel is a huge stress relief and wellbeing bonus.
Emotional: Have a Damn Good Time
I’ve become a late life yes girl. Climb the tree branch out over the river to see the Rhinos? YES! Take a 10’ jump off the top of the dive boat? YES! Go play with Whale Sharks off Komodo Island? YES!
It’s thrilling to put yourself out there in the world and see what happens. I continue to be astonished at the fabulous people and opportunities for connection that flow through my days. Not that it’s always a joyride. In fact, all that walking, swimming, yoga, physical therapy and meditation can make for a lot of alone time. But in between, I’m doing my best to live my best.
A Better Way
I admit that my entire Pause experiment is a reflection of privilege, and I’m incredibly grateful for all that I’m learning along the way. I’ve benefitted from 58 years of good fortune and a robust US economy. And I’m thrilled to be returning to back in 10 weeks to support corporate wellbeing for Columbia Sportswear, a wonderful, family owned company founded in Portland, Oregon in 1938. I am one lucky lady.
I’m just here to say, life is better with more Pause. Give it a try: Slower, simpler, kinder. Less doing and more being. Consider a conscious decision to pull into the slow lane, one Pause at a time.
Think about it as you enjoy the upcoming summer season. How can you inject some Pause into your life to meet the unique needs of your heart, mind and body?
Until next time – drop me a line at SB@suzannebigelow.com and let me know what you think!