New Perspectives From Nearly Dying

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

“A split second – time literally split into two possibilities.
One carrying life, th
e other death.
Your choice matters
And will change you forever.”

Heather Markel, June 2019.


I’ve become obsessed with the Argentinian mate culture. I simply can’t get enough of the herb or the cups and straws, as I mentioned in another post. So, I’ve traveled to the area, and town, where the yerba plant is grown. Like so much other nature of Argentina, this is another plant that only grows in one place and one place only, due to the climate. What I didn’t know, before arriving, is that this town, called Posadas, has no tourism. In about a week, I have not met one other person from any other part of the world, and there are no group tours. Strange and surreal. The impact is that I can only get to the area I want to see if I hire a car and driver, which I do. 

San Ignacio ruins near Posadas – one of the reasons for taking a private tour.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

My driver was a nice man but liked to drive fast and much too close to the car in front of us. I told him I’m used to about 3 car-lengths between us and the next car, but this did nothing to change his style. He also told me I’m a beautiful woman, at least twice, which made me uncomfortable though, happily, he didn’t try anything. Fresh off my last experience, I was already overly sensitive and uncomfortable having to travel alone with him and trying to keep calm. Happily he did get me in to a yerba plantation I would never have seen otherwise and got a full overview of the yerba-making process.  

“Choices really do matter.”

As we drove back from the plantation, the driver was holding his mate in one hand, and for some reason, looking at me while driving all too fast for my liking. He completely missed the fact that the car in front of us was driving behind a slow truch and making no effort to pass it. Luckily, I noticed that for him and I realized he wasn’t going to slow down. For just a moment I saw, in my mind, the crash into that car in front of us. I saw the dashboard crush around my legs and knew I would either be dead, or else crippled and likely comatose and life changed forever. I didn’t want this to happen so I screamed for him to slow down. He slammed the brakes and only because the cars in front of us were moving did we avoid the crash. Only because I had my seatbelt on did I avoid going through the windshield.

A happier moment of the day – pulling off the road to photograph huge bulls.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

Thankfully we got back to my hotel safely. I spent the next two days  wondering if I were actually alive or hallucinating the events of my day from my comatose brain in a hospital. I actually noticed things like people responding to me when I talked to them, being able to taste the food I was eating, and being able to feel sensations, and so decided I must be alive. This was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had.
After getting over the shock of the situation, I realized some profound things. I am so happy to be alive. Check. I chose to be alive. That realization is huge. I am viscerally aware that in that split second in that car I had a choice between life and death. Not everyone gets that choice. I aggressively chose life. That short moment, and that huge choice, have changed a few things for me. First of all, I am giving less of a fuck what people think of my actions and my choices. Everything that I’ve been working on the past year and a half is coming out of the woodwork and I’m punching it all forward. I have to speak up because, if I don’t, a part of me could, literally, die. So, I’m done keeping quiet. I’ve realized there is so much more I want to do, in life, and have become suddenly motivated to work as much as possible each day to obtain my goals. My goals are even clearer, and I’ve begun to question them less, and move forward more.

Yerba – the plant being grown and gathered to be taken to manufacturers for distribution. Seeing the yerba plantations was the reason I wanted to come to Posadas and take this tour. 

Time is also more relevant and I don’t feel like wasting mine. I feel a wonderful charge of energy and satisfaction that I can arrange my days to get every damn thing I want to do, done. I don’t care if I see every tourist site or not. This is about so much more – this is a giant awareness of my life and spending each moment doing things I want to do and spending my time on people I love, and letting go of those that don’t value my friendship. I also choose to let go of worrying whether what I want to do will work or not. It doesn’t matter – it’s not about the destination, as someone recently told me, it’s about the journey. And I am living mine, passionately, from here on out. All in all, it’s been a hell of a couple of weeks! But I’ve now faced several difficult events and learned, fast, from each one. Good for me.

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It’s always been essential to understand your money, but if you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, now it’s even more important that you create financial empowerment. In this session, Heather will work with you to first understand your gaps in managing your money, then she’ll help you with the framework on how to ensure you can afford the life you dream of. You’ll get tips to save and budget, and also discuss ways to earn money that will shift you out of feeling like a victim of the times, to seeing the opportunities in front of you to begin making money in a different way.

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You’re finally serious about traveling full time, but you cannot figure out how you’ll afford it. Or, you’re just curious whether it’s really even possible to afford the lifestyle. Bootcamp is for you! We’ll go dive deep into savings strategies before you go, how to save on the road, and how to sustain your travels, as well as look at lots of work opportunities if you want to work while you travel! Includes a 3-day build your budget challenge to get you thinking about how to replace dreams with real logical steps to make it happen.

You’ve dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you’ve learned that it’s a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you’re not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here! 

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.







Costa Rica


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Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.