I stuck some ribs in the oven to cook for dinner and we went down to sit among the vendors outside our place and sip a tequila while watching the foot traffic. We had spent most of our day in vallarta chasing down our safari window replacement solution, getting art supplies and grabbing lunch at our favorite taco lady's cart. Her smile and laughter are infectious, people are simply drawn to her, and it doesn't hurt that while they soak up her happiness that they get to enjoy an impossibly delicious taco or seafood cocktail! Now we are back home and enjoying the street entertainment. There's always plenty to see, but our eyes are keenly fixed up the street in case we should have a sighting of the ballenas ciclysta (the guy who rides his bicycle with a ballena in each hand). I cant seem to get the image of this guy out of my head and feel like its our duty to be on the street next time he makes an appearance so that we can adequately capture the event in photo to share with the world. This night, we did not... 1-0 in favor of the ever elusive ballenas ciclysta.
Instead, one of our new friends from the weekend happened by and stopped to chat about the bus and karma and invited us back to his place for a drink. Of course we accepted politely, discussed momentarily grabbing shoes or locking up our place (but didn't do either), and then walked back with him. He has a condo that we have admired from the water and his view over the pool onto the beach is outstanding. As another couple (who they actually planned on hosting this evening) arrives at the gate from the beach we are amazed at our luck as we already know them as well. As chance would have it, we have happened into them several times on and off the street and shared stories while waiting on a pizza para llevar a few nights ago.
We all chatted over drinks and dined on tasty sandwiches whipped up by the boys in the kitchen. Everyone in this group is in the middle of a large life change (most of them not brought about by choice) and at times the conversation was quite heavy as we learned more about them and their stories. The term bucket list is thrown around a lot, I even know people who are actively writing one for the day when they had a chance to use it. Until now i cant say i had met anyone who was actively checking off the items on their list knowing that they have limited time to finish the task. Ironically, we all have limited time to finish that task...but most of us don't know how long that is or simply assume that it's long enough we don't need to worry about it yet. We had a beautiful and deep evening with some courageous and sweet individuals that continues to sink in, in meaningful ways.I can honestly say that i have spent most of my life chasing goals. My parents', my own, society's... it didn't matter. Ive spent most of my years so focused on obtaining/achieving whatever the next goal was that i rarely took the time to simply relax and be in the moment, much less start creating a list of the things that i really wanted. At least until my thirties, as soon as the last goal was completed (or sometimes before) i started chasing the next one, barely taking a moment to appreciate the success...
Luckily for me, somewhere along the way I ran into the love of my life and a group of friends that are absolutely amazing. I live an extraordinarily happy life despite myself and am ever thankful to the world for delivering it to me. I now find myself knee-deep into this current adventure of ours and thinking about what's next, or what path we might choose at the end of the trip or whats missing. I'm far from having answers to most of these questions but i realized during our talk after dinner last night that the following phrase looks completely differently to me now than it did a few short months ago.
"what would you do differently if you knew you only had 20days to live."
As you all know, this trip was terrifying to me. I couldn't imagine the lack of income, lack of structure, lack of destination... but as i sit here in the middle of the road not knowing where it leads i feel very alive and more content then i can remember. Certainly there are things we still want or need: - A way to live freely but still be around that group of friends we miss so dearly on the road. - A way to make enough money to continue the journey until we decide its no longer what we want. - A way to give back and share with others (on a larger basis than simply hoping we have a positive impact on those we meet). ...but for once, it feels like i might be on the right path- despite not knowing what it is.
I feel like if an opportunity opened itself up to us tomorrow we would be able to recognize it and wouldn't talk or reason ourselves out of it. We are now daily engaged in deeper discussions about life, happiness and what we want to get out of (and give back to) life. We may not have found our true sweet spot in this thing called life, but we're confident that we are hot on it's trail and are open to it introducing itself when we happen by.
I still can't comprehend the true impact of how differently i might live with only 20 days remaining. I'm not sure any of us can until actually confronted with the question. All i know for now, is that if someone could give us the gift of time and money to do whatever we wanted tomorrow...for now i don't think we would change a thing.
Don't get me wrong...we still have other dreams and hopes and aspirations. Jen and i still look longingly at the sailboats that pull into the bay and dream of one day having the money to buy a catamaran and sail the next leg of our journey. I desperately hope we find a way to make dream that a reality, but today this is the exact thing that we choose to be doing above all else. For now, even if you handed me a check for that boat...i would deposit it until after we decide this portion of our journey is over. This trip still has a lot to teach us and we are still enjoying the small lessons from each new day and each person we encounter. I can honestly say right now that the only thing i would change about tomorrow if i somehow could, is convincing our closest friends/family to caravan with us to the next stop. If we could experience the life we are living today, but do so with the companionship of those we miss... thats a magical scenario I'd happily trade that shiny new boat in for.
Our dinner (and my current pondering about things deeper/wider than I'm capable of maintaining) is cut short by jen's realization that several hours have now past, the sun has long since set and our ribs are still in the oven! We exit the condo in a rush and run back home expecting smoke and flames but instead find ribs that are actually edible. We cut up a few of the tastier bites, walk downstairs with just enough time to offer them to our friends and say our goodnights as they head up the street for a nightcap. We instead opt for the cheaper nightcap at home and the chance to debrief together from our individual experiences and conversations throughout the night.