It has become a habit of mine to embark on long trips to distant places, simply to displace myself, to uproot myself from home. I used to think that I left to escape, but now I realize that sometimes I just need to leave, to let go, to distance myself for a short while, just so I can regroup my thoughts and find my balance. Sort of a pilgrimage I suppose.
“We meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises in the path of life.” – Carl Jung
This fall, in a visceral response to my constant hammering of existential questions such as But why am I here, Why do I exist and Why can’t I just be happy? I jumped at the opportunity to take part in the first chapter of the Salty Souls Experience and spent the most part of November in El Salvador, Central America. It was a spontaneous leap of faith, a pause away from my lack of answers, the possibility of getting away from myself so I could rediscover just who I am and redefine my life’s purpose.
I’ve always known that my intuition is extremely powerful, even though I don’t always listen to it. This time around, for some reasons I still cannot understand, everything in my bones was begging me to embark on this journey. I felt certain it would be a life-changing adventure that I could not avoid without a lifetime of regret.
I dared to jump on what felt like the last train in the universe. I have to say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Have you ever woke feeling like you were exactly at the right place at the right time? El Salvador awakened my senses every morning of my stay, with the deliciously powerful sound of crashing waves, the sun’s warmth reaching to me through my room’s window, salty water in the air, and a delicious breakfast waiting for us on the table. As I opened my eyes, I accepted each new day, taking the time to remind myself how lucky I was to be alive.
During my time in El Salvador, my days usually unfolded as follows: wake up around 7am, have light brekkie, go for a surf session, eat lunch, relax (read, sunbathe, doze off in a hammock, chat with new friends), attend a powerful yoga class at sunset, eat dinner with my new fam, go to bed at around 10pm. Clearly this schedule is impossible all year round, but it seemed very important to me – no, crucial – to just stop, catch my breath, relax and enable myself to focus on me.
Sometimes, as many of you I’m sure , I get so caught up in other people’s business, work and responsibilities, that I estrange myself from everything else. I believe that it is in these moments that we need to zoom out and take a look at the big picture: what are we investing our time and energy in, and is it really what makes our heart sing. Sometimes, we might confirm that we are on the right path and other times we might realize that we’ve reached a new phase of our life and are ready to move on to other ventures. When that happens, let’s not doubt ourselves. Let’s be confident that whatever happens next will be for a reason.
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.” – Mandy Hale
That’s the mindset I decided to adopt while on this trip. In this time and space, I was going to be positive, open myself to new possibilities and embrace every opportunity that would present itself to me. So I enjoyed what seemed like a lot more than 9 days with a group of amazing free spirits, all there for the same reason: cherish each moment like if it was our last.
These young souls were passionate, outgoing, determined and authentic. They inspired me every day. We shared so many moments filled with laughter and joy, and created such a powerful bond that I honestly felt comfortable enough to think of them as my second family. It’s funny how sometimes we meet new people, strangers even, and we end up feeling closer to them than we do with long-time friends. I have always considered myself some sort of wandering spirit, drifting from one group to another every so often, always feeling a disconnect, like I don’t really belong. Maybe it’s because I don’t truly know myself or simply because I haven’t found my tribe, or a combination of both. Well, during this trip, I found my people! I felt such a sense of relief.
“Imagine meeting someone who understands even the dustiest corners of your mixed-up soul.”- unknown
The whole Salty Souls Experience enabled me to find my balance. In this experience, I found out about a natural tranquilizer, something that helps me relax, escape my pessimistic thoughts and simply be: the ocean. I came to realize that there is no other place in the world where I feel freer. In no way do I consider myself a surfer, as I can only ride a few gentle waves, but when my stomach is flattened on the board, trying to get the feel of a rhythm, my skin happily soaking up the sun’s rays as the wind sings me a song, I simply feel like one with the water.
You might find that yoga, meditation, painting, photography, dancing or even cooking brings you that momentary but satisfying sense of escape and discovery. Whatever you find, try to do it as often as possible. Don’t wait until you’re fed up with the world and can’t stand yourself anymore.
Now in Montreal, my goal is to remain in this relaxed state of mind. I choose to see the good in every situation, to go with the flow and open myself to every opportunity that will present itself to me. By saying yes to the world, I say yes to myself. By putting myself out there, it’s amazing what can happen. In the first two weeks back home, I was signed by a modelling agency and started working for one of the company I admire the most in this city. I stay in close contact with my people from far away, and our short meetings and chats help me maintain El Salvador’s rhythm. I am forever grateful for their friendship and guidance.
So, give it a try. Let go. Embark yourself on this journey of self discovery… I strongly believe that you’ll find yourself blooming !