Even Paradise Has Cockroaches

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

“You follow your heart and do what you yearn.
Finally feeling alive, no more stress to churn.
But even amidst the perfect life,
still exists a degree of strife.”

Heather Markel, June 2019.


A month ago I was on Easter Island. Let me take that in. A MONTH AGO, I WAS ON EASTER ISLAND!!! So damn cool to be able to say that. As I wrote previously, Easter Island is amazing! (Here is my first post, and here is my second post about the experience, in case you missed them.) To me, that place is one example of paradise on earth. Life is slow, there are cows roaming freely that you can encounter  anywhere, there are beaches, there are walks, there is nature, it’s just perfect. But amidst all that perfection, they still have cockroaches. Big ones – the kind that look like, if they stood up, would be as tall as you, and you can’t comprehend how they fit through the small holes of the water drain they must have crawled through to get into your shower. And why the shower? It’s the place you’re going to have to get naked which can trigger fearful visions of accidental procreation if one crawls up your leg. Actually, more unfair is a friend I met there encountered a roach on the toilet, and it bit his ass. No kidding. He had a big welt that he showed us. He’s ok, thankfully. Didn’t even turn into a hybrid roach superhero or anything.

A lonely scene near Salta, Argentina

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

This anaology got me thinking about my own journey, and the idea of freedom. In another post I wrote some time ago, I realized that so many clients I have worked with, and even myself for a long time, seem to want financial freedom. But, of course, it’s not about the money, it’s about being spiritually free. But then, what happens when you actually have that spiritual freedom? Whether, for you, that’s about long term travel, or something else, the reality is, you will find your own version of big cockroaches even when you have everything you thought you wanted.

“Those personal confrontations are still difficult.”

For me, I equate those cockroaches to the experience of meeting myself as I travel. I think this journey I have chosen along with many others, requires a lot of strength because you will confront your own self during so much of it. My biggest battle has been that of self-respect, up to now. The other cockroaches of my existence that are showing up now and again are boredom and loneliness.

A mystical church near Cachi, Argentina.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

I think boredom is an epidemic, at least in the American culture. I think kids are bored at school, adults are bored at work, and the result, well, I think it leads to a lot of unhealthy behavior. At it’s best, it’s about the need to DO as much as possilbe to avoid being bored, and at it’s worst, I’m sure it’s a contributor to the many kinds of bad behavior you read about in the news. 
The gift of the cockroaches of boredom and loneliness that periodically show up in the naked and vulnerable shower of my life is they allow me to contemplate what I really want. Loneliness, for me, is more about the lack of romantic partner because I’m so blessed to have wonderful friends in my life, and meet new ones every week I travel. Boredom sets in at various times. As of late, it’s kicking me in the work sector of my brain. Since starting The Inspired Nomads video series I feel like I have some amazing direction. It feels like something that can take root and lead someplace, like the direction I  have wanted for my whole life, and the reason I started this journey in the first place. It’s just that, like anything, it’s got a fairly slow start and I’m eager to grow it. So, in the moments where I determine my next path and my next attempt to grow the series, there is where the boredom and even impatience creep in.
There are many, many days where I don’t do anything touristy, and sometimes I have a need to feel like I’ve settled for a time, so I’ll spend my day writing or reading, or just walking around. Those days are both a welcome respite, and, of course, slightly boring. But when these vermon feelings crawl around to the forefront of my self-awareness, they allow me to understand, just a bit further, what I want. And the blessing in all of this is that every time I figure out what I want, and get really clear about it, that very thing shows up in my life. So, maybe those cockroaches aren’t so bad, after all.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This


Sign up to learn how to quit your job to travel the world (or pursue your passion) and why you should if you're over 40!

%d bloggers like this: