It’s not an easy thing to figure out who you are and what you really want. It’s even harder when you spend years avoiding the questions in pursuit of a life other people consider “normal” and “what you’re supposed to do” even though you know in you’re heart that you’re not.
When trying to figure things out, talking to others is a great way to get perspective about yourself. When people ask me what I do, I say “I travel and discover.” Because it’s true! And it’s like I’m trying on a new role to see how it feels. It’s really powerful to simply state that the thing you enjoy most is what you do, and it allows you to conjure up ideas and images of what your life can look like.
As I explain to each person what I’ve done and what I’m looking forward to doing, it helps me learn what excites me, and what feels less aligned. Recently I discovered upon my explanation that I want to find a way to wrap what I do around world travel. It may be via business I have, it may be something radically different. It doesn’t matter – the point is that I have yet another clue.
View from Red Frog Beach
Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Another blessing to me was feeling really seen and understood by new friends. One such experience happened in Panama. The couple running the hotel I stayed in were lovely and the wife and I had several conversations. I was reluctant to go out at night, being a female solo traveler, and she encouraged me to feel safe in Panama. Then I was sad to leave, and really doubting myself (more below). She said to me, “I can tell you’re a person that, wherever you are, will make friends and have a great time.”
Her words filled me with relief and joy. Not only did I feel seen, but she made me feel that wherever I am, and whatever I choose, I can have faith that I will be surrounded by people I love and enjoy myself.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Messages have played an important role in helping me discover myself. A while ago, I got a message to go a little further. Recently I got a message to know what I want and to see how powerfully my daily life is impacted when I do know and when I don’t know. In fact, when I don’t know what I want, I find things can feel like a heaping catastrophe where I feel completely dissatisfied with every choice I make, and even food feels disappointing.
However, sometimes things that feel like a mistake, and hold some regret can end up leading to unexpected signs that, really, any choice you make is the right one.
I didn’t know I would like Panama so much that I would extend my stay. That meant rearranging hotels and transportation. The town where I was staying is small. So if you’re going to change things you’re going to speak to the same person each time you make a change. I couldn’t decide whether to journey to Boquette or just leave and go back to Costa Rica. I ended up going back to Costa Rica and doubting my decision. By the time I got to the boat, I was bummed I wasn’t going to Boquette but could tell the transportation agent (who had already changed my reservation twice) was not in the mood to do it again. It was a rainy morning so I wasn’t looking forward to the rocky boat ride. We had to keep the side flaps down to avoid getting soaked from the rain, and I felt claustraphobic. But then, all of a sudden, someone raised one of the flaps, and there, all around us, was a beautiful rainbow! It was vibrant, double, and had light and darkness, like each of our journeys. I realized if I hadn’t chosen to leave I wouldn’t have seen that rainbow which seemed to be blessing my decision and encouraging me to tap in to what I want.