Travel can be easy, carefree, and full of flow and nonstop Insta-worthy moments and memories.
Most other times, travel is difficult, messy, and full of mistakes and accidents. Even stressful.
You can either fight it, or flow with it. And that’s something I struggle with.
I just returned from my most recent trip. It was a magical five week journey through Antigua and to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala to achieve a lifelong dream of mine: an intensive yoga teacher training course.
where the magic happens: the Yoga Shala
Before I left my home, I planned out a detailed, busy itinerary – not just of my travel plans and yoga and personal-development goals, but of my blog-related tasks for each day. I figured that with meals prepared for me, I’d have extra time each day. So, in addition to my regular daily virtual assistant and other client responsibilities, I outlined an extra busy editorial calendar to get out at least 2 posts per week.
As you’ve probably seen, that definitely didn’t happen. In fact, this is the FIRST post in the whole of July.
So, what did happen?
The very first week I arrived in Guatemala, my
sickeningly expensive and almost freaking brand new Apple computer shut off for no reason and never turned back on. Luckily, I had my iPhone and spent hours searching official Apple websites and unofficial help forums. After trying all of the suggested potential multi-step fixes at least twenty times each, and calling a less-than-helpful Apple support, I had to throw in the towel. I wouldn’t be able to fix the problem myself.
A fellow teacher trainee offered her Reiki skills, and tried for a while to heal my computer.
She sadly couldn’t wake it up.
But maybe Apple could? The computer was still under warranty.
I found a certified Apple center two hours away, but upon calling to confirm was informed that they actually didn’t do repairs and I’d have to head all the way back to the capital. Impossible. I only had one day off every five days from the training, not giving me enough time to make the bare minimum, in a perfect world 15 minute walk + 20 minute wait for a boat + 45 minute boat ride to Panajachel + wait for the shuttle + 3 hour shuttle to Antigua + 1 hour wait for the next shuttle + 1 hour shuttle to Guatemala City + taxi to the Mac store + wait at the Mac store AND THE SAME CONVOLUTED JOURNEY BACK.
I spent hours mentally banging my head against a wall and raging about the stupid overpriced and unreliable computer that had totally messed up my plans. I repeated the worst case scenario over and over and over – my readers would be pissed off or confused, my blog would lose tons of traffic, and my clients with articles due would fire me.
Eventually, my freak out subsided.
I had to surrender to the situation, and my lack of control, and make the best of it. I had several articles due for freelance clients (but my photos were trapped on the unresponsive computer), so I nervously informed them of my situation. They were actually super supportive and understanding, and allowed me to extend my deadline.
For a few other tasks (including urgent personal necessities and virtual assistant commitments), I either borrowed another trainee’s computer or went into town and used the super slow (dial-up??) internet cafe. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
As far as my own intense editorial plans? Those went completely out the window. With no way to access my photos (and unable to remember the password for WordPress, as it’s saved on my Mac!), I had to leave Quarter Life Epiphany un-updated and lonely for a whole month. Luckily, none of my readers were pissed. And while I ignored my Google analytics purposefully until now, today I discovered my visits (and Google referrals) had dropped over 70% as compared to the previous month. Pretty much a blogger’s worst nightmare.
But this story has a happy ending.
For a chronically stressed and overplanned worrywart, ungluing from my laptop and from my goals forced me into acceptance and made me examine my control-freak tendencies. The world did not end because my laptop wouldn’t turn on. My career did not come crashing down because I couldn’t update my blog. Yes, my stats dropped and that sucks. But life goes on.
With article writing and photo editing out of the realm of possibilities, I had extra hours of unexpected and unplanned-for free time every day. I spent this precious time hiking beautiful paths through the Guatemalan countryside, developing amazing friendships with some of the most awesome people I’ve ever met, and looking deeper into my own interior landscape.
new friends and delicious food!
This month of teacher training was transformative, going so much further than receiving a certificate to allow me to pursue teaching. And I’m certain the changes, realizations, and transformations would not have been nearly as life-changing if I had been spending hours knocking out articles and achieving superficial goals I’d set.
I struggled and stressed at first, but eventually I had to “surrender into stillness” (and in this case specifically, acceptance) and go with the flow.
That’s where the magic happens.
super happy at my Yoga Teacher Training final ceremony
All photos in this post were taken with my simple ol’ iPhone, no filter, no editing (not even cropping)