What Happens When You Stop Living In The Moment?

As we have mentioned before in our top reasons to take a sabbatical, our number one reason for this chosen lifestyle is living in the moment.  To soak up everything that is going on around us and just be present.  But what happens when you stop living in the moment?


Yes, even in our paradise, chaos lurks.  It’s a sneaky little bugger.

Well, at least in my own little mind, I am full of chaos at the moment.  I stopped going outside for walks.  I sometimes forget to eat, but manage to make meals for the family.  I stopped taking care of me, but try to take care of everyone else.  I am constantly sitting at my Wagoners Abroad workstation (laptop at the dining table) on an uncomfortable chair, researching.  How did I let this happen?  Why do I rinse and repeat this cycle time and time again?

Wagoners Abroad Work Station for Heidi - Not Living in the Moment!

Wagoners Abroad Work Station for Heidi – Not Living in the Moment!

Once we returned from our trip to Morocco in early February, I feel like I have been a hamster spinning on a wheel.  I have made a mile long “to do” list and kept telling myself I would start after our trip to Morocco.  What was that particular trip a milestone for getting things done just after?  It is because we intentionally made no travel plans until Summer, other than Spring break.  We typically like to take a trip once a month or every 6 weeks, but this Spring was going to be different.  We are giving ourselves a break from exploring and time to catch up and prepare for our movement in the future.

You are thinking: “What do you mean your movement in the future?”


I’m talking about leaving Spain and heading for Southeast Asia!

Oh if it were just that simple.

We did purchase our one-way air tickets and scored such a great deal on Norwegian Air.  The great airfare started at the end of July and departed from Stockholm, non-stop to Bangkok.  Great, but that left us without a home for the month of July.  We gave notice with our landlord and let him know we planned to be out of our apartment by the end of June.  We could have extended through July, but that is peak season and we wanted him to be able to rent out the place to holiday makers.  He has just been wonderful to us and that is the least we could do in return.

So that means we are going to be nomadic sooner and exploring a little more of Europe for the month of July!  That is fantastic and turning out to cause me sleepless nights as well.

What does any of this have to do with Living in the Moment?

Let me back up a bit and just run down the big-ticket items on my “to do” list.

Spring 2014 To Do List

move to spain

This isn’t really my mac daddy detailed to do list, it is just the big-ticket items.  I know you are curious about the details of what we are planning and we will be sure to share it all with you along the way.  Let’s just say there will be a cooking class or two involved as well as some time on the water.

  1. Plan Spring Break in Budapest! ( I have to admit I have help with this one from Grandma Linda)
  2. Plan a month Exploring Northern Europe in July!
  3. Declutter and prepare for a nomadic mobile lifestyle in Southeast Asia!  Plans for selling the car and what to do with belongings we don’t plan to bring.
  4. Create a rough plan for Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and more).  Research and get a rough idea of costs, visa requirements, transportation, accommodation.  We are planning about 1 year and then returning to Spain, but that is open for change.
  5. Take care of the family.  (I don’t do this alone by any means.  Alan is right there with me the entire way, but I tend to be a control freak when it comes to planning meals etc.)

So as if that wasn’t enough, I am also trying to work on the blog, market our site to potential sponsors and advertisers.  Check out our February 2014 Media Kit!  A bit of a learning curve for me, but I am learning.  We also answer loads of questions from our readers and in some cases meet and greet them in Spain.  I am a “pleaser/helper” type of person and just can’t get that out of my DNA.  Don’t worry, we love your questions and we love meeting up with you, so we make time for that.  It just seems when it rains it pours and the past few weeks has been full of reader activity.  What appears to be a simple question on the surface, sometimes takes loads of time to answer.  Like: “How did you choose Spain?” or “Can you tell me about the schools?”  Keep the questions coming and know we will respond to you in time.

Back to my original topic, “What happens when you stop living in the moment?”  

Well, I stopped enjoying the little things and have placed far too much energy on planning the future.  I feel like I have been in a funk the past few weeks. Things just feel “off” and I have been trying to figure out what is going on, why the funk?  I have been up until 3:30 am for a few nights with so much on my mind.  I have so many things I want to write about, but I just can’t seem to find uninterrupted time to write.  I drove over the curb and managed to poke a hole in the side of the car tire, cha ching, new tire = €160!  Alan is so awesome to come to my rescue and take care of that.  We have participated in the local festivals and for a brief moment, I would just be present and enjoy, but in the back of my mind I want to get that check list done!

So I put some deep thought into this and realized a few things:

  • I stopped living in the moment.  I am shuffling from one activity to the next because of a schedule.  When I get too busy, I get in this mode and it isn’t good for anyone.  I am trying to do it all, rather than focus!
  • I stopped taking care of me.
  • I moved into planning the future and let that take over and keep me out of the present.

    “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ― Bill Watterson

  • I love Almuñécar and Spain and I am going to miss it!  This is a tough one, as I look around town and know we will be leaving.  I may have been hiding in the planning, so I wouldn’t feel the ache of leaving Spain.  We have such a great life here and with any change is growth.  As sad as I am to leave, I am just as excited to embark on our new adventure.

How to get back to Living In The Moment?

Almunecar Sunset - Living in the moment and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Almunecar Sunset – Living in the moment and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Well when there is too much on your plate, it is time to get compartmentalized.  Just like I did back in the US.  It is all common sense, yet I let it all turn to Chaos in my mind.

  1. Take a deep breath and be optimistic!  This too shall pass.

    “Let everything happen to you
    Beauty and terror
    Just keep going
    No feeling is final” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. Take care of me and refuel with alone time!  Be happy and enjoy the simple pleasures.Like sitting by myself with a coffee on the terrace, people watching and soaking up the surroundings.
  3. Dedicate time – I will set aside time to work on each “project” and believe me, each one is a project.  Not to mention several things I didn’t even mention.
  4. Shut off the distractions of email and social media and focus on the activity for the moment.  That may be researching future locations, writing, attending Fútbol practice, going to the dentist, helping the kids study or just spending good quality time with the family.
  5. Prioritize what needs to be done and cut out the “fluff”.  When readers contact us or are here in town, I always make them top priority.  I try to respond as quickly as possible and let them know they matter to me.  If they are here in town, I want to show them around and be as helpful as possible.  The reality for me, I do need to prioritize that as ell.  It is okay to wait overnight to respond to an email.  They aren’t usually quick responses, so quite a bit of time goes into the response and it often turns into several emails.
  6. Be Grateful!  Every morning I wake up and am so grateful for this life we created.  It still amazes me we are doing it and it is real!  Ah!

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”  ― Maya Angelou

One of the things I am looking forward to in Southeast Asia, is getting in tune with myself again.  I want to do meditation, yoga and just soak up life.  I think the entire family is looking forward to that, as well as new growth.  Oh how bright the future is and how incredibly wonderful the present is.  What an amazing life we lead!

Chat with you later.  I am heading out for a leisurely walk on the promenade.
Evening Promenade Walk

This entry was posted in Experiences, Other, Spain and tagged , , by Heidi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She's visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, there is no extra cost for you and we may receive a commission.

16 thoughts on “What Happens When You Stop Living In The Moment?

  1. Heidi,
    This was a really good post. Such a great reminder to prioritize and enjoy and really focus on the important things. Sorry to hear you’re leaving Spain. My husband and I are planning on spending a couple months there early next year. Would have loved meeting up with you. Perhaps when you return. But I am looking forward to reading about your Asian adventures 🙂

    • Thanks so much Mary. We would love to meet up with you too. The plan is to return about June of 2015, so we will keep you posted. You know how plans go sometimes. 🙂

  2. I feel you Melanie! I am much better now. I just took a step back and refocused. When I create too many options for us, I make my own nightmare. I now have a rough plan and things are just falling into place. Take a deep breath and let some of it go. It is true everyone begins to suffer, as I noticed as well.

    As far as SEA….. well, we plan to homeschool, roadschool, worldschool or whatever you want to call it. We won’t likely have a home base there, thus will need to make sure the kids are educated on our own. We are still looking into the various options. I think we all work a bit better if there is a bit of structure, so we will likely find a curriculum to help guide us. We will just go with the flow on that one. If that doesn’t work, we found some on-line schools as well. That may be a back up plan.

  3. There must be something in the air Heidi-I’m not even planning something solid, just a million thoughts going round and round my head (3am is optimum time for this!). I feel like everyone is suffering because of me not being able to focus.

    Are the kids going to go to school in S.E Asia or will you be roadschooling? I’d like the answer immediately please! 😉

    Great post my friend.x

  4. Thanks so much Christine. We appreciate all of your support and comments along the way. We just love this life! Once the awareness is there (which it is), then we can correct the course (as I have done). It is amazing how all of the stress just melts away instantly and things begin to just click into place.

  5. What an excellent post. It’s so true, sometimes we get so caught up in well trying not to get caught up.
    I look forward to the new journey and I just know it will bring much more richness to your life. So until then… enjoy the moment and always take time to enjoy the sunsets.

  6. Yippee Jen! We can’t wait to see you and spend some good quality time. I will email you perfect locations to park your camper right on the beach and close to us! Of course you can use our washer, but as far as drying there is nothing like that Med Sun and breeze.

    The house sounds interesting, let’s chat when you are here. We have a houseboat in Amsterdam booked July 1-6 and I am just about ready to book something in Champagne for the 6-12, so if you are near there or near Paris that may work. We love dogs! Do send me more info. We just need to be in Stockholm around the 22 of July.

  7. Hi Heidi, that post resonated here too. I need to slow down!!!
    1. It’s not a def, but we may have an empty house for at least the first two weeks of July if not more. Central rural France, hens to feed and dog to walk in return for fresh eggs and country air 🙂 can let you know more if interested.
    2. We are still aiming to get boat from Morocco to Spain on or around 12/13th so will be at yours a little after for a short visit if you are still up to it. Totally self sufficient with accom, food etc, just need somewhere to park? And a washing machine would be utter luxury :))). STILL loving Morocco x

  8. Thank you for your post. There’s a lot to chew on and consider! I’m also with Bethaney; great media kit! May I ask how you created the media kit?

    • Thanks so much Henry. I was nervous to share, but being exposed is part of the blogging thing. As far as making it. Let’s just say it took about 10 hours and then some. I keep adjusting too. I am no designer, so it was just play.

  9. I agree that living in the moment is far less stressful. When it comes to travel, I find too many plans distracting. It can be time-consuming on the road to have to find hotels, flights etc but I do find that a lot less stressful than pre-planning and then worrying about making changes or getting places “on time”.

    • Hey Bethaney! I really don’t like to book too much accommodation in advance. Due to our experiences on our 6 week European Road Trip last summer, we moved every 3-4 days, it was tough not having something the night before moving. This summer, I just want to have July planned in Northern Europe and then Southeast Asia will be a go with the flow.

      I think it is the long term nomadic part that was giving me a little anxiety. I know I am up for it and the family says they are too, but I am not sure. If we aren’t we will just find something longer term. I just need to plan the route in general, so we can get the right visas. Your tips have been great in that area.

      I am in such a better mental place now, much calmer.

  10. Great post – I feel like we could have written this as well. So busy planning the next thing that we barely enjoy this thing!

    • A quick moment of awareness and thinking helped get me back on track. It is amazing how things are just easier now. Plans are just beginning to gel and less stress. We are meeting up with a reader/visitor in town tomorrow, so that should be fun.

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