It’s been two years now that I’ve been living with no fixed address (mostly in places where there is no postal service anyways).
Two years of nomadism, spent living in 10 different countries.
I can’t help but be reflective today…
As i am writing this, I’m sitting on the balcony of my appartment in the little surf town of El Tunco, El Salvador, one minute away from the sea.
The air is warm and sweet.
The stars are shining bright.
I can hear some reggaeton music playing in the background.
I feel in-tune, I feel home and there is honestly no place I’d rather be right now. That’s truly a delicious feeling.
For the past few months, as I go to bed at night, I always find myself excited about the next day. And I wake up stoked that I am having another shot at life. Another good 24 hours to experience this beautiful world, to catch a better wave, to learn a few new spanish words, to meet new people, to laugh at the sky, to create awesome experiences that empower others with the Salty Souls project. I feel blessed by the life I live, truly.
After all this time spent in various countries, it still feels kinda weird when people ask me: “So, where do you live?” or “Where is Home?”
There is always a split second where I don’t really know what to answer to such basic question…
“At the moment, I live here.” is probably the best answer I can give.
“Ok, and where is home ?”
The thing is, i’m seriously unsure. What is the definition of home, when it can’t be associated with a proper roof that is yours? They say “Home is where your heart is.” Then, my answers are: Canggu, Ubud, El Tunco, Montreal, Popoyo…
Home is those different places where I’ve found people who made me felt like I belonged.
It is where I’ve stayed long enough to drop a piece of my heart, and really get into the flow of things. It is where I connected and shared with rad individuals who I know I could feel at home anywhere we would be together.
Home is wherever you feel appreciated, recognized, respected and loved.
For that reason, I came to believe that home has little to do with the geographical location. Maybe next time I get ask the question, I’ll answer with a few friends name, instead of cities…
“Don’t you miss home sometimes?”
From a standard point of view, I guess they are referring to the home and the life I have ‘left behind’.
The honest answer is a straight up no! I’m having way more fun now !!
As far as I can remember, when living in Montreal, I always had this strange, inexplicable feeling that I didn’t totally fit in. I’ve tried, you know, to play the game, to blend in. But still I always felt slightly off.
Breaking free and walking away from the conventional path, literally felt like being reborn as an adult, and discovering that there were more people like me on the other side was a true revelation!
“The only way to deal with an unfree world, is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act go rebellion.” – Albert Camus.
However, according to the definition of the concept of home I’ve given above, yes, I do miss some people dearly. I miss them in the way we laugh so hard together. I miss our mentally stimulating conversations and heart-open talks. I miss the complicity and the inside jokes only us can share. I’m sad I can’t celebrate all their wins with them and share their excitement when the world spins in their favour.
… I wish I could have all those beautiful ‘’home feel’’ people in the same geographical area. I wish my parents didn’t have to worry so much about being unsure of where I am in the world. I wish I could physically be there for the ones I love when they need it. And I wish they could all live in paradisiac locations with me and get the chance to watch the sun set over the ocean almost every day…
But it’s not possible to have it all, and this is the price to pay for knowing and loving people in various part of the world.
For that reason, I’ve learned, that I’ll never find ONE ultimate perfect place to settle down. No town will ever be made of ALL & EVERYONE…
I’ve also learned that it is the places that choose you, and not the other way around.
“We didn’t choose the taco life. The taco life chose use.”
I had never imagined that I would fall so deeply in love with El Salvador, i didn’t see it coming. We chose to established our first Salty destination here for various reasons, only for a month at first… Next thing I know, I’ve now been spending most of my year here ! Saying adios amigos and leaving this place forever now feels unconceivable, it would literally break my heart.
Next, I’ve learned to adapt adapt adapt.
For the last two years, I’ve been tickling the edges of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Life now means rarely speaking my first language, learning to integrate a new community with a whole different culture, set of rules and references to the world. It is about not always knowing where I’m gonna sleep at night, how I’m gonna get from point A to B or where to find a legit doctor, a repairer, or even where I could possibly buy a bicycle?… It’s about going to surf new challenging spots with a proper stress in the chest, having to deal with gnarly waves and sketchy entries, or again surf with a bunch of super talented people which makes me totally nervous because I want to perform so bad and keep a minimum amount of dignity. lol.
I’ve learned to become comfortable with being uncomfortable; This is adaption.
Being the new girl in town in a place that is so different from where you are from, is both exiting, challenging and frustrating. But then again, being able to adapt to any situation is a skill that makes your whole existence way smoother at the same time.
It’s about learning to have a mind that is open to everything, and attached to nothing.
Learning to be more flexible, to let go of your constant need to control, predict and prevent everything. Let things be and trusting the fact that everything always unfold exactly how it should.
‘’Your tolerance for risk – and therefore to discomfort- will have a profound impact on how far you can push the limits of what’s possible in your life.”
I’ve learn to simplify, big time.
Living by the sea, and in developing countries is falling into another way of life, that flows to the rhythm of the tides.
Where the Here & Now barely is something they must learn to come back to… because in fact it is something they’ve never lost… Things go by one day at the time, sometimes we foresee 2 or 3 ahead. The level of stress and worries is very low. We flow.
The simple life is also one where there is plenty of time to play. How incredibly important is this?! What is life all about, if it’s not about having time to actually enjoy and celebrate being alive? How did we, in the Western World, became so obsessed with accomplishing more more more and running around like crazy ’til we are so fucking tired we can’t even enjoy ourselves?
“The happiest moments in our lives are when we are playing just like children, we are singing and dancing, when we are exploring and creating just for fun. It is wonderful when we behave like a child because this is the normal human tendency. As children, we are innocent and it is natural for us to express love. But what has happened to us? What as happened to the whole world?”
Simplification also means lowering materialistic possessions. How much do we really need to have, and how do we rather choose to invest our money? It is such an important reflexion.
The modern society tend to make us believe we need to buy more, bigger, wider, newer, to define ourselves. Fuck off.
The happiest people I’ve met on this globe are the ones that had the less stuff and the more time to do what they love…. And that’s a pretty simple equation. The more money you need, the less time you have.
And this is what I’ve learned and that I love so much about living here: My cost of living in Asia and Central America in the last 2 years, including all my flight tickets, has been something like 2 or 3 times lower that what life in Montreal would cost me. That’s the reason why we can afford working less… and surfing more!!!
Now, if you are wondering, yes, I still get scared sometimes that this whole path I’ve chose is complete madness.
That maybe I should think about settling down. Get a mortgage, a man, a barbecue, a pregnancy and start thinking where i would like to send my children to school.
But then, you know what? I’m like “fuck off, thoughts!” There is no right or wrong. I have to remember that the definition of what you should or should not be doing is nothing but a creation of the mind. The same mind that is brilliant, daring, adventurous, creative, but can also trick you and limit you in so many ways.
And so in the process of freeing my mind, i’ve learned that age is totally irrelevant and we limit ourselves with that number in so many situations and that’s absolute bullshit. Have you ever asked yourself what age you would be if you didn’t know what age you were?
I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance and that the people that are meant to stay in your life will always gravitate back into it.
I’ve learned that it is really hard to let go of someone that you REALLY wish they could stay in your gravitational circle. But everybody crosses your path for a reason and perhaps, their mission with you have been completed. If not, you will cross again.
I’ve learned that it is worth speaking our heart, telling people that we care and how we feel. Daring to be vulnerable… to be human.
I’ve learned that the world keeps spinning with or without us… The only thing that will never change, is the fact that things always change. We can’t stop the motion of life, but that’s okay because we are spinning too.
I’ve learned that you are never gonna catch an epic wave just by looking at it. You need to get out there and make shit happen. Same goes for anything epic in life.
I’ve learned that things are never just more greeny and easy in the other person’s garden: everybody is dealing with their own challenges and fears. It is absolutely not worth spending so much time comparing ourself.
I’ve learned to be more chill ! Al suave. To stop stressing, preventing, controlling so much. To stop paddling upstream all the time. Just be easy bro, seriously.
I’ve learned that everything can be learned, and it is never to late to be whoever you want to be. You can choose to change, evolve, jump, and change again. Anytime.
And I’ve learned that I still have so much to learn ! In fact, I know almost nothing of this magnificent world, but I’m thirsty to keep on learning, attempting, failing, adapting and succeeding !
“As we step into the endless territory of every moment, we are either holding back or being reborn. And so it is basically with everything in life. All that we do, we do it to a certain level of embrace, and the amount of embrace shows us what we are capable of, what holds us back, what pushes us out of or into our entanglement, what makes us untwist the pain or glory of being very much alive, so to make a choice: How much will I love, and how much of a risk am I daring to take and see what will happen next.” – Zdravko Stefanovic
Finally, if there is one thing left to say, is that I honestly beg you to explore, seek and find what is you love, and let it freakin’ consume you !!! It is the only way to set your soul free. 🙂