I am five weeks into a six week adventure through Mexico before I return to my bicycle in Malaysia to continue a worldwide bicycle tour.
I wanted to show that Mexico is not the dangerous place that is portrayed in the American media. To do this, I hitchhiked over 2,000 miles through Mexico and then traveled through beach towns, remote pueblos, and larger cities. The only thing I found was kindness, hospitality, and a little bit of fear from the Mexicans because they have an equal fear about Americans.
For me, adventure is not something that I go out and do sometimes. I see every day as an opportunity for a new adventure; for a way to face my fears, to challenge my beliefs, to push myself to try new things, and to accept change and impermanence.
In many ways, I love and crave change. It makes me feel alive. All of my senses are turned on when I am in a new situation and a new environment. All parts of me —-physical, mental, and spiritual are turned on. That is why I have chosen to be a nomad.
And YET, there are certain things that I become comfortable with. In the beginning comfort is a fantastic feeling. I hold on to it and try to figure out how I can make it permanent.
However, I have learned that to be “comfortable” in my life slowly turns to numbing and depression.
Recently, I watched a short video by Jedidiah Jenkins, a fellow cyclist. He argues that “routine is the enemy of time. It makes it fly by. When you are a kid everything is astonishing and new and your brain is always turned on. Once your brain learns a routine—the alertness goes away.”
I know exactly what he is talking about. I am constantly reminded of just how much a can do with I create and participate in my adventures.It makes me a better person and better partner. See my earlier blog On Being Good to Yourself for more on this.
.A recent example. After hitchhiking over 2,000 miles, I arrived with my partner in Zipolite, Mexico on the Oaxacan Coast. I stayed for 2 ½ weeks. This was not typical for me—to settle down and relax. The majority of the year I spend on rigorous cycling or trekking journeys.
This small beach community offers the exact simplicity that speaks to me. I stay in a hut on the beach made of wood, palm leaves, and bamboo without air conditioning or hot water. It is a nude beach which provides a more relaxed, open environment.
Days are spent on the boogie board, beach walking, swimming, writing and working on promoting Rachel Yaseen Worldwide, and human climbing (a new activity my partner and I are practicing). I am also inspired by the local food—simple, very inexpensive, but delicious.
I have fallen in love with the beauty, the energy, the unspeakable magic of the fierce sea on this beach. The tremendous sound of the giant waves as they come crashing down can sound like an explosion. I am drawn to their force and magnificence.
After a little more than two weeks, my partner says it is time to move on. My heart feels like it is breaking. I am usually the one who is ready to move on. I love the journey. I love knowing that I will be constantly surprised. But i have fallen in love with this place. Truly fallen in love. It is holding my heart. How can I possibly leave?
I suppose it is how many of us feel when we are on vacation.
I will never be ready to leave this place. Yet, while I love this little microcosm, I know in my heart that I am called to adventure. This is my job but also my passion; it is what drives me.
I must remind myself that this is how I am. Before I came to Zipolite, I spent some weeks trekking in the Sonoran Desert. I hiked great distances, I slept in my tent under the stars, I purified my water, built fires, made food, enjoyed an amazing wild flower season, navigated abundant water flow, swam, and lived a very simple life. I fell in love with the Sonoran Desert all over again. (This had been my home for 25 years). Like my experience in Zipolite, I did not want to leave. But I knew I must.
Now it has been 3 days since I left Zipolite. I am out in the remote Oaxacan highlands trekking from village to village. It is the Mexican version of the Camino de Santiago which is a pilgrimage in Spain that I have done three times and has had a tremendous impact on my life.
There is very little information available about this trek. It was a leap of faith that has turned out to be extremely rewarding because it is so challenging—both physically challenging and mentally challenging because the route is virtually unmarked.
Now we are on day three. The crisp alpine air, the extremely rigorous hiking in high elevations, the kindness and generosity of the local people, and the primitive food create an entirely different experience from Zipolite.
I will spend the next week on this pilgrimage—village to village; up and down these remote, pristine mountains. I will fall in love with them because that is what usually happens when I can be at one with nature. And again, I will have to say goodbye.
But this is my life. In June I will walk the Oregon Coast Trail with my son, Wexler. In July I will go back to my bicycle in Malaysia and continue my tour through Indonesia—a much more affordable place to travel.
My life is one of change. It is one of goodbyes. These goodbyes break my heart. But I know that I am on to another adventure. I am going to fall in love again. Over and over. I will need to keep saying goodbye.
Each time I learn that it is possible. That I can do it. And each time I am rewarded with something great and I fall in love again.
It is not comfortable to leave a place that you love. It is not comfortable to go into the unknown. But this world is too fantastic to miss.
DISCLOSURE: The nomadic lifestyle I live is based on hard work. Most of the time, I am on a rigorous physical journey either cycling or trekking off the beaten path around the world. I spend a lot of time on the blog, making videos, taking photos, and putting out a bi-monthly newsletter to share my adventures, and motivate and inspire others. I live very frugally off a tiny savings in an attempt to live a nomadic lifestyle based on adventure. I have tried the more traditional lifestyle for over 25 years and I know that it does not work for me. This is not financially sustainable in the long run so I am working hard to identify how I can best serve others through this journey. I am passionately committed to make this dream a permanent reality.