When I left Sweden to travel the world, my mom would tell her friends I was on a "world tour". I was a free spirit, confident I was meant to wander the world and never settle down. It was part of my identity, going from place to place. Nothing was better than constant travel. But I didn’t know I was keeping myself from the best part: arriving.
I was always proud to fill a passport with stamps, feeling so accomplished about having to get a new one, or how one year Dennis and I spent less than 6 weeks at home.
Before I met Dennis and moved to Aruba, I was fluttering from country to country like a butterfly. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, where I wanted to live or what my plan was. And it was wonderful!
The more places I went, the more things I saw, the more worldly and experienced I felt. I had years where home was my suitcase and whichever next destination sounded promising. Those years of trusting that life would always direct me to the right places brought me to where I am today.
Then I started teaching yoga. Pretty much the minute I started teaching internationally, the travel became literally constant. In less than 1 year, this was my itinerary: From Aruba to Mexico, Sweden, London, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Costa Rica, Bonaire, back to Costa Rica, back to Sweden, then Norway, Brazil and Costa Rica again.
I had just a few days home in Aruba between each trip. So instead of unpacking my suitcase completely, I would do a quick load of laundry and pack it all back up again.
Stressful? Yes. Worth it? YES.
I've gotten to connect with so many incredible souls over the years; I had some incredible experiences and created memories that will last my lifetime.
All that traveling fueled me; it was what made me, me. I was Rachel, the traveler on a world tour.
But it had a downside. I used to feel very unrooted, unstable and insecure about who I was. I looked like a free spirit, and I was, but I was also terrified. I would jump on a bus or flight the second life got too serious or normal.
Now, I have a home, a family and a career that fulfills me. Now... It’s all different. I’m different. We have a baby, Little Moon. She changed everything. All the lessons I used to learn traveling I’m learning at home, and then some.
Life has brought me to this place and the last thing I want to do is run.
Ask me 2 years ago and I’d say I couldn’t imagine a more magical job than teaching yoga around the world. That is, until Lea. I still adore teaching, but I can’t imagine anything more magical than being the mother to this little ray of light, my most important life teacher.
As much as I would love to cling to my old identity and embody the idea of a “free spirited family” where we live in a van and see all corners of the world and keep traveling to teach and tour and explore... I don’t want to. I want to be home.
Here is a new truth: I don’t love traveling anymore (can’t believe I just said that)! I do, however, love arriving. And here I am. In my body. Settling.
I felt this once before after returning from yet another sprint of traveling and teaching for months on end. I'd been longing for our dogs, our house, our island. And in rough moments, I’d remind myself I'd soon be back to my favorite feeling: lying in the back of the truck, breathing in the ocean air, watching the clouds drift off into the sunset.
I came home and the house was clean, everything was in order. The gratitude I felt helped ground me right away. I took the dogs for a long walk along the shore, and for a good hour everything was silent. Our dusty path was empty. It was just us and the wind. I walked and I walked, and somewhere in the space between the sounds of my feet hitting the ground I realized I hadn't been in silence for 2 months.
The thought brought tears; tears of relief; of gratitude; of sadness and happiness; of everything in between. I cried and I walked, and then I sat down to meditate and it was easy--Just my breath and my beating heart. So easy. No struggle, no stress. I wasn’t anywhere else but right here and now.
The entire experience of these crazy travels always turns into a big ball of energy buzzing inside my chest. It's so intense it's almost heavy, and in that moment I felt the need to OM just to let some energy out. So I took the biggest, fullest breath I could take.
I barely got the first syllable across my lips before Ringo jumped up on my lap, sticked his nose in my mouth and started licking my face. "Stop it with this silly noise!!!" he said, barking. I was completely immersed in my meditation and got so startled I fell over. Instead of OM, I got slobbery kisses and sand in my hair! I couldn’t stop laughing.
God spelled backward is DOG. The heaviness of the moment was washed away then and there, and for the entire walk back to the car I couldn’t stop smiling. Then I lay down in the back of the truck and watched the clouds drift off into the sunset. The dogs were with me and I know… So was God.
Wherever I go, there I am. There God is. There LIFE is.
Life can be stressful and heavy and overwhelming and too damn much, or it can be easy. Flowing. Perfectly enough.
I’ve felt this flow while traveling all over the world, but I’ve realized it’s possible to find it in the simple, the calm, the “normal” that I once feared to the point of running away. It might be one of the biggest lessons I’m learning at home, in my backyard, meditating as my daughter cuddles into my arms and the sun rises over the ocean’s horizon.
It isn’t found in a faraway, exotic destination; it’s found the moment you choose presence and gratitude. The moment you take a deep breath. The moment you’re embraced or kissed by someone you love.
That’s where God is.
Wherever you go, there you are. Exactly where you need to be and who you need to be.
Go out and travel the world! But don't forget to let yourself arrive, too.
Wherever you are right now, know that the timing is divine and your path is guided. Know that it is enough. You are enough. All. Is. Well.
Can you feel it as you breathe in? Where are you in this moment? What blessings are surrounding you? Tell me below.