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?
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
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.
- Plan Spring Break in Budapest! ( I have to admit I have help with this one from Grandma Linda)
- Plan a month Exploring Northern Europe in July!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.