The point of life is happiness.
The Dali Lama
After almost three months of hustling, and weeks spent waiting in long government lines to set up a temporary life in Barcelona. We are done.
Done? Yes done.
Barcelona is lovely. Really, really lovely. Like one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, type of lovely.
But it’s not moving us in the direction we want to go: a long term sailing adventure with our family.
A major factor is our son is unhappy at school. Before the holiday break he was crying and begging to stay home nearly every morning. It was painful and I beat myself up. A lot. We suffered through, Diego and I arguing about the pros and cons of traumatizing our son in a classroom of Catalan where he doesn’t understand a word. But here’s the deal. We aren’t planning on staying here long term. So why make him suffer for our choices when it doesn’t serve the ultimate goal anyway?
After a tortuous month, we relented and all stayed home, me trying to work from the couch with ear plugs in a 420 sq. ft apartment while chaos circled around me. Diego did his best to edit his videos after everyone else went to bed.
As much as I would like to be, I am not that mother who can work from home, do elaborate educational projects with the kids for a few hours, prepare meals and be pleasant to everyone all at the same time. Honestly, I don’t even want to be that person. I don’t trust women who are that angelic.
For a moment I felt stuck. We had just sold everything we owned and walked out on our life for this?
Just two weeks earlier, in our eagerness to get settled and down to business, we had put close to 2,000 euros down on an apartment and signed a 6 months lease. We were excited about getting into a routine and having time and space to focus on work. But now, with the four of us on top of each other, the thought of staying here for 6 months felt stifling and suffocating. I was tired, felt like my brain was in a fog and everything seemed like chore. A task to be endured. No joy.
The last thing I felt was creative and inspired. Even though we were living in a beautiful city on the other side of the world, away from home, we weren’t enjoying it. Money was going out, waaaaaay faster than it was coming in, and I found myself sinking into fear and a total scarcity mentality. I felt trapped.
Launching an empire from the office/living room/bedroom.
No one was forcing us to do things this way. We were making one bad decision after another because we felt like we didn’t have options.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We were the only ones holding ourselves to a pre-determined course of action. When we made this whole scheme public in the first place, didn’t we call it an improv, not a plan for a reason? We knew we would have to stay open to the mystery and serendipity of life and allow the universe to work its magic.
So if things were feeling overwhelming, and not fun, why suffer through? What was the ultimate goal and what was the most direct route to reach it?
As soon as we were honest with ourselves that our new circumstances weren’t what we were hoping for, everything instantly shifted.
We made a bad choice. We should have gone to Mexico instead of Spain, like originally planned.We had tried a particular route, and had failed. Time to correct course and get back on track. No need to waste time beating ourselves up. I googled failure quotes and had a good laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“Sometimes by losing a battle, you find a way to win the war.” -Donald Trump
Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward, after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a Cha-Cha.
I went from feeling lethargic and confused, to energized and excited again.
That’s when the gift of clarity from the experience surfaced.
We were going about this dream all wrong. In our excitement of pursuit we were all consumed with THE BOAT. But what was it we were after in the lifestyle of a boat? I believe we pursue goals because we are actually after how the goal will make us feel, a concept that Danielle LaPorte really brings home in one of my favorite books of all time, The Desire Map.
So what was the feeling we were pursuing?
The appeal of cruising life, is the ability to move freely from destination to destination and literally float wherever the wind takes you. That feeling of total and utter liberation of being in sync with nature.
Our idea of moving onto a boat, while we paid for it was a good one. But we didn’t take into consideration that our kids would need us to be more present to ease them through the transition of a new culture and not one, but two new languages—Spanish and Catalan.
So we realize the best course of action, is to take them back where they are comfortable—home, where they are surrounded by their friends and family, until we are able to buy the boat outright.
That’s right—we’re going HOME!
Disappointing? Surprisingly no. It feels totally invigorating to give ourselves the freedom and space to make decisions based on how we want to feel.
And so that’s it!
We’re as excited to go back to California as we were to leave only a few months ago. And we’ve already got a new
plan intention in place. We’ll stay stationary at home until we have built a steady income that will support us as we travel. We’ll focus on one thing at a time.
Then as we had previously decided against, we’ll drive to Mexico, buy that boat and sail away with no lines of credit holding us to the dock. We’ll be working out an achievable timeline over the the next month.
But in the meantime, it’s the hard to argue with the wisdom of the Dali Lama—the point really is to be happy. And happiness isn’t a place (or a thing!), it’s a mindset.
Happy New Year!