11 August, 2014
“Why the Hell Are You Doing This??”
…I’ve been asked.
Not exactly in that way, but many people have asked us why we’d want to take a year old child on an extended trip to many countries and leave the creature comforts of the Good Ol USA.
A Change of Pace
NomPa and I have always worked hard for our businesses. We enjoy what we do and have no problems extending a couple hours into the evenings or on weekends to complete work projects. With baby on board we are feeling more rushed, stretched and pressured than ever before. The urban lifestyle is running at a pace that is leaving us exhausted and breathless. By immersing ourself in the Pura Vida and Mexican Time we hope to catch our breath, release the pressure valve, and have the space of mind to assess some important subjects in our lives (see below).
Running from the Joneses
For the first time in our lives we are feeling the eerie pressure to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ across the street. It may be that we are living a touch beyond our means (especially now that I am not able to work full time) or that we are living in a highly sought-after neighborhood where Bob Strollers, designer clothing and upscale electric cars are the norm. We experience the pleasantries of neighbors who engage when convenient but keep a distance, a shallow warmth that most Southerners see in this northern town almost immediately. The additional costs, desires, and pressures of parenthood (baby gadgets, private schooling, classes, camps, etc) are looming in the near future and we are resisting getting sucked into the godawful quagmire of first world decisions that, ultimately, feel misaligned with our own family values. We want to trade in our neighbors’ Jones for the Sanchez family and take a breather to clearly define our values as a family, grow into them, and come back shored up in that strength to more easily weather the pressures here.
See How Others Do It
How do other cultures raise their children? What is their health care system like? How do they prioritize their day? How do expats find support systems? How do other cultures treat one another and foreigners? How do they make ends meet without working 80 hour weeks? What was life like before Amazon Prime? These are the burning questions.
Save Some Cash
A 2 bedroom beach house in the Mayan Riviera is about $1000 less per month then the rent we are paying right now. The money we save will allow us to enroll our son in a quality private school, afford us more travel, beef up the savings accounts, and in general buy us more flexibility and choices in the future.
If I’m not sitting at this laptop I’m checking my phone, on the iPad (or iZombie, as I like to call it) or in front of the TV screen watching a movie on Netflix. I’m hoping the rhythm of the ocean, new surroundings, and less work pressure will allow me to more successfully disconnect from the Shiny. The constant stimulation prevents me from connecting to myself and answering the big and pressing questions on my heart and it’s much harder for me to disengage in TechTown.
Live in Family Friendly Cultures
The United States is NOT family friendly. This fact is hit over my head daily, with each dude who blows through a pedestrian crosswalk when I have a stroller with me, each restroom that lacks a changing table, and all the events, situations, and circumstances where it is made clear my child is not welcome. How does anyone expect children to become socialized when they are not welcome in society? F*** that. It sometimes feels as though mothers are expected to hole themselves up in the home until the kids are school aged and when all of us hit senior years we are again expected to disappear from society into a retirement home. The lack of intergenerational mingling is devastating across the board for all parties involved. Latin American culture is very pro-family and celebrates children, rather than wishing to restrain and gag them.
Take Stock of Career
Since Squish (BabyNom) has been born I have found a need to again reassess where I am going with my career. I feel I have outgrown my current means of expressing my passion for food and human health. I have spent the last two years trying out different options with varying degrees of success and haven’t found my new happy place yet. By taking a sabbatical from private practice I am freeing up time and intention to wander a bit until I can locate my coordinates and move in an appropriate direction.
Break Consumerist Ties
Addicted to Amazon Prime. I know it. The ease with which we can purchase THINGS (so many things!) is not conducive to balance. I forget to use my creativity and ingenuity to move through life. I’ll still have Kindle, but am curious to explore a world where things aren’t so damn easy to procure.
Also – both NomPa and I are looking forward to downsizing our current collection of physical belongings.
I am half Mexican and was fluent in Spanish from ages 0-4. When I started school I soon forgot my Spanish, as we only spoke English in the home. I’m looking forward to not only gaining fluency while traveling, but also priming my son’s brain to easily learn and retain Spanish.
Stay On Our Toes
Sometimes you gotta shake things up. I think the typical response for other families in similar places in life is to buckle down and get through it. By throwing our established patterns out the window we are forced to rethink how we do most things. This can be a good way to find out what unconscious habits and beliefs are not serving us and what strengths and habits we want to continue to use in the future. I have found the greatest transformations and growth happens when I do something radically outside my status quo.
These are the main reasons we are hitting the road and opening ourselves up to all sorts of adventures. I fully anticipate that some of these ideas and ideals will be tested and found false and presumptuous, while other unforeseen challenges may leave me with sleepless nights and opportunities beyond imagination may show up to delight and inspire us. The adventure itself holds many gems and pearls of wisdom. May it bring us even closer as a family and offer us great values and memories for the remainder of our lives.