A Naked Reflection of 700 Days on the Road.
Before settling in to read this post, I’m going to tell you what NOT to expect, in this candid 700 hundred day reflection. This is not your typical travel post in any way. I will not share with you any drawn out and dramatic ‘best of’ lists. This post will not include any packing lists, trekking routes, hotel recommendations, favorite meeting spots or insider beach town surf tips. This post does not include opinions on the raddest party hostel, reviews on travel equipment or chicken bus advice. I won’t even address the best ruins to visit, most adventurous mountain to climb, favorite food discovery or the best deal on local handicrafts. There is an abundance of that information elsewhere (including this blog) online and I have no intention of clogging up your mental space with that here.
I am, however, going to get naked, share with you my feelings about this adventure we’ve embarked upon so far, and expose some of the naked inner changes that have taken place inside of me, as a consequence of the last 700 days of traveling with my son.
Here’s some (unbiased?) facts about who I am and what I have become:
I am writing from personal experience here, but I know that all the things I express are also part of my son’s experience as well.
I am, in fact, homeless.
I have no future. (in the conventional sense, which includes equity, career, savings or 401k)
I have no security.
I sit outside of all practical convention.
I have no set of guidelines to follow for this course we call life.
I have not seen my friends is almost 2 years.
I have not had a (serious) boyfriend in a much longer time frame.
I question that my decisions are healthy for my son’s future.
I am sometimes scared I am being irresponsible.
I am sometimes afraid I am being irrational.
I am sometimes freaked out about not having enough money to support myself and my child.
I sometimes fear the unknown.
On occasions, I question my decisions.
But then, I get back into the moment. I look around and everything is always perfect. I am experiencing the moment with my son and I am reminded how much perfection I have experienced in the last 700 days.
I knew going jumping off into the unknown called our adventure was irrational. (I was told so by many people.) But I always knew, there really was a rational side to all of it as well.
My Inner Voice
The rational bit was the process of learning to trust that little voice inside of me which told me to do so, which always guided me. I have had many occasions in my life to listen to this voice, which I remember making its appearance the first time I traveled around Europe alone for a year in my early 20s. It always kept me safe, helped guide my travels and protect me.
However, over the last 20 years, I can say with much embarrassment, I had learned to ignore that voice, which I now identify as intuition. I suppose in my normal, conventional life, day-to-day, practicality became louder and more dominant. I can recall countless business deals I signed (when I ran my company) that I had that gnawing feeling the project would go awry and low and behold it always did. I recall people who came into my life on numerous occasions that the little voice in my head said “get the hell away from that person, FAST!” and I didn’t. I can recall clearly so many times that I ignored that voice and EVERY SINGLE TIME I wish I hadn’t.
But that was then, and in the past 700 days, I’ve come to get re-acquainted with that voice again and have learned to listen. Sometimes its voice is loud, sometimes it’s a soft message. But it is because of that voice, my intuition, my inner guidance that we are on this trip. It is because I listened, we have had the experiences of the last 700 days. It is because of that inner voice I have actively trusted, we are safe. It is the inner voice, that intuition, that guidance that quiets the thoughts I shared above. Doubts have no place in the presence of my inner voices, and for that I am grateful.
The past 700 days has offered me a tremendous gift of change, how I view myself, and how I experience the world.
Other changes have taken place too. It’s perception about myself. Naked perceptions about myself, who I am, what I value, and what value I have in this big picture of oneness.
First and foremost, the past 700 days has allowed me to mentally re-evaluate how I value myself, and experientially have a greater understanding of just “being” through the gift of daily life. What??? I am no longer valuing myself through the things I’ve accomplished??? That’s preposterous.. During the last 700 days, I have been asked more times than I can count, what I did BEFORE we set out on our trip. It’s as if others need a framework to put me into in order to make sense of our experiences. That’s common, and if I bought into that way of thinking, I too, would still be attached to my accomplishments and career to identify myself.
I no longer do.
Wow, that’s a big one.
I am no longer my career or my accomplishments.
I am not what I do.
Another profound naked change inspired by the last 700 days is a shift in how little I care what other people think of me. I spent 40 some odd years driven through the idea I needed to please others to have value in who I am.
What the $&*#!??
Yep, I’ll state this naked change here and now.
I no longer value myself though the opinion of others.
Being separated from the ‘scenes’ I functioned within, fashion, pop culture, consumerism and the American culture as a whole, has freed me up from the distracting ideas about who I should be. Yes, distracting and in some cases harmful ideas. I don’t care in the least, anymore what’s going on in the ‘LA scene’ or any other for that matter anymore. I don’t care what opinions people hold of me. I don’t care what I am wearing (as I have only a handful of clothing in my possession), I no longer identify myself through the state of my appearance.
Taking it one step further, I no longer value myself through what I own. I no longer find my value in where I live. And, as previously stated, I no longer identify with what I do, in order to bring meaning into my life.
A Naked Reflection of 700 Days help me see much more….
The last 700 hundred days has shown me things I hadn’t seen before.
I see experiences, I see joy, I see kindness, I see love. I see possibilities that no longer have the obstacles of conventional thought blocking them. I see love and joy illuminating from everyone around me. I see joy in myself. I see my eyes being used to focus on beauty and compassion. I see this and much more in the moment.
And seeing theses things have become are only a single part of it.
The past 700 days has allowed me to stand naked and ‘BE’ these things. In other words, I am the observer and the presence of the experience, most of the time outside of the thought. And when those thoughts come back into my life, reminding me of the past ideas I had about myself, my past fears, my inner most judgements, I somehow have managed to let that thought go as well. I am on the road and having the time of my life with my son.
I am a lover of life and am fully content with whatever shall cross our paths.
I am inspired.
I am living a naked and inspired life.
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Beautiful, authentic, enlightened, honest … as a fellow writer and (at least) mental wanderer, I was entirely present in your reflection and with you in your insecurities and victories. I applaud you, Lainie, for living an authentic, and therefore sometimes fragile, life. Hurray for your journey–I wish I were brave enough to do it myself.
Thank you so much for your comment. I am so honored to have connected with you in such a deep, meaningful way.u00a0nMuch love and light.
Absolutely lovely, Lainie. u00a0We all grow and change in unquantifiable ways, you articulated some of them beautifully.n
Thank you so much Jennifer! I have much gratitude for our lives and those we connect with.u00a0
Lovely and personal post Lainie. I’m glad I was able to experience your 700th day with you as well! We always have to remember that the naked and inspired life is also the sweetest it can possibly be, and like you, for that I am eternal grateful to be able to travel this wonderful world.
Ah, thank you so much for your love and support Alisha!
Looking at this, as I am almost 300 days away from the start of a similar journey, I can’t even begin to get my mind in around it.u00a0u00a0I hope somedayu00a0I will be able to think this way.u00a0 In the end I think this how we all want to live life – with freedom.u00a0 But the courage it takesu00a0. . .nn700 days!u00a0 Quite an accomplishment and you are reaping the rewards.nnThanks for a great post and for sharing.
I am so thrilled to have connected with you and your family before you set out on your trip. I see us all as community and hopefully you’ll have no need to go through some of the irrational thoughts I’veu00a0processed.u00a0nnMuch amor y luz to you and your family Justin!
You are very brave, certainly your questions are absolutely legitimate, but your answers are too. You and your son are having great experiences, and your son can only grow up with an open mind and great values many people don’t have just because they never travel.
Thank you so much Angela. I really appreciate your words. Often times when we come across judgements about our lifestyle oru00a0criticismsu00a0about our choices, I need to remember being in this moment, right now, right here, reminding me that it’s not my job to please anyone, but ourselves.u00a0nnMuch love and light to you Angela!
And you are living a naked and INSPIRING life, too. Thanks for the post and for your ferocious, gorgeous courage.nnEven though I am living here in L.A. with job, art supplies, stuff, and connections to family and friends, I often feel similar. I make things that make no sense, or scare people, or scare myself. I don’t do the things I “should.” I have no relationship, either (and in my case no wonderful son or daughter).u00a0nnI so love the last three lines of your post:nI am a lover of life and am fully content with whatever shall cross our paths.I am inspired.I am living a naked and inspired life.nnBut the one that hit me between upside the head, and ultimately gave me that world of “aha,” is….nn”I no longer value myself through the opinion of others.”u00a0nTHAT old saw is the one that cuts me, still. Worrying about what “they” think. Hmmm.
Laurel, thank you so much for the beautiful comment. I often think we are out here in au00a0vacuum, but it helps us so much to remember the human experience regardless of the life situation is indeedu00a0similar. We are all programmed with the same conditioning and we experience life very differently, but I think over all, we have the same desires. To liveu00a0authenticallyu00a0and cut through the crap we have playing in our own heads that hinder ouru00a0happiness.u00a0nMuch love to you Laurel!
Lovely, absolutely. u00a0As I’m currently sorting out my feelings about how I’ve been driven in my career and life choices by what others think about me (and changing my views), I find this post particularly inspiring. u00a0Thanks.
I have just finished reading the article and found it to be inspiring. u00a0I have just reached a stage in u00a0my life where I feel the need to do something better. u00a0Call it a mid life crisis but I enjoy travelling. Thanks once again.
While I miss you and Miro, I can see the point and feel happy that you are both out there in the world living your lives like this.u00a0 I hope our paths cross again one day.u00a0 In the mean time I just sit back and read in awe.
Wow, such amazing honesty.u00a0 I have wondered whether you feel some of those things as I am sure I would.u00a0 What you have done/are doing with Miro takes an incredible amount of courage.u00a0 You have given/are giving the best and most important thing to one another that you ever could: time together.u00a0 Not to mention all the experiences, educational opportunities, memories, etc.u00a0 Uncomparable.u00a0 Life is so short in this crazy, hectic, busy, stressful American way of life; you have chosen to make your timeu00a0with Miro amazing.u00a0 You will sit back some day as a Grandmother with that far away look in your eyes and a smile on your face…I wish I would have even “thought” about doing what you’re doing when my son was young…it’s simply awesome.
Inspired and inspiring.u00a0 I crave those feelings that being in a foreign place does to ones soul.u00a0 Why do some of us need to travel to sooth the mind and soul?u00a0 it is like it takes us to our primal roots. nTo feel awe, wonder is like paying homage to our small place in the world.u00a0u00a0 Reminded to do that everyday.u00a0
Wow!The more I read posts like yours, the more I feel connected to the people who write them, and less connected with “friends” I have in my daily life-a lot to ponder here. Thanks.x
I know you’re a year past this but I am just reading this today. This is beautiful, raw and inspiring.
I’m on a cross country trip with my kids and husband that is taking most of a year. It’s cool to find other travelers. : )