Unbroken Dreams

Dreams don’t break.

They grow and change – as you do
They wrap themselves in a cocoon
Of trial and error

And emerge with wings

They can fly and they can crash
You’re the wind that supports their rise
You’re the flame that ignites their fire

Dreams work with you and against you
They are the gloves that take the punch
And you’re the fighter that doesn’t drop your fists

Dreams are the views from the top
The tingling sensation when you look down from new heights

They are
An existence outside of this time and this place
A momentary glimpse of perfection
That feels whole even with cracks

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Together Apart

I body slammed into your inhibitions
Satisfied the thirst of your fears
And left you before you could say goodnight

I plummeted into the depths of your mind
Questioned all I could find
And left you unearthing yourself

When I stepped on the toes of your curiosities
Erasing the trembles in your voice
You looked at me with bewildered eyes
And I left you better than before

There’s no goodbye without a hello
No places of meeting without meaning
And the truth is,
Everything we could be
exists separately
in you
&
in me

Unity

If I could

I’d watercolor the world and blend all pigments together

highlight the past as a piece of what we cannot repeat

and turn the news on low

the dreadful drones of those trying to divide

would fall on deaf ears

like lava to the surface, we’d recreate our terrain

mixing all different landscapes as we march forward in the same shoes

we wouldn’t forget where we came from

but honor our differences

on a stage we call acceptance

built with love and fortified by unity

 

 

Digging Deep

I tried to pick myself apart

so I could put it all together

like a miner, in the depths of a cave

shadows clouded the light

uncovering isn’t easy

when the hands of time

fight back

if words are weapons

feelings are ammo

on a battleground with no shelter

the enemy of reflection

stares back in the night sky

awareness is as it dawns

Tiempo Libre y Pura

A coconut falls from a tree. Does anyone hear it? Does it matter?

Like life here in Costa Rica, things happen when they want to and no one cares too much about any one single element of life. Rain or shine, lightening storm or calm skies, surfers fill the ocean tides, people casually stroll the streets, and the town comes alive at night to the sounds of musicians singing and playing the guitar as couples salsa without a worry.

Amidst lush treetops, I sit on the rooftop as the sun beats down and inevitably paints my shoulders bright red. The gentle sound of the ocean waves crashing surrounds me as the tide’s song is disrupted by the sound of construction up ahead. It all comes back to focus. What do you choose to focus your time and energy on?

Yesterday, we bought a plank of wood, a half kilo of nails, and headed to an empty building where friends are starting a school. I grabbed a ruler and hammer and began assembling geoboards for the kids to use to learn fine motor skills and geometry. We spent the day inside, helping to build the school. So many days in my life have been spent working for someone else, valuing my time with a dollar amount that is tied to the hour I put in work, with results measured by superfluous markers of success. Spending time knowing that what I was producing would contribute to the well-being and education of children shows how when you choose to spend time doing things that matter to you and others, it becomes invaluable. When we left at 4PM, we were all shocked at how quickly time had passed.

It’s a much simpler life around these parts. It seems like people prioritize making time for the things they enjoy doing. This makes time move slower. It opens your eyes to realize how many different ways there are to live, and that everything you value and want is simply a choice. Each day grants the opportunity to design the life you want, spending the minutes of each hour filled with purpose, whatever that might mean to you in that very moment.

7 Days Later on an Island in Croatia – Lessons Learned

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And, when you’re in the midst of it all, it’s hard to fully collect your thoughts, feelings, and desires. You’re moving at a fast pace, with roughly 40 pounds of baggage strapped to your back, arms, and innately, your insides. You’re meeting people from all over the world, with hundreds of life stories that they are open to sharing because you’re in a foreign country with people who you may or may not ever see again. And, then, there’s the select few that you know you connect with so strongly that you will make the effort to meet at a another time, in another place.

Sometimes, you’re sitting lazily under a palm tree doing nothing and drifting off to the sound of local kids and a family having a picnic on the waterfront as the wind blows and the sun beats down on your legs. Other times, you’re watching the tourists completely flood the city, gulping down one too many drinks, leaving a trail of their trash as they head into the next pub. You ask the locals how they feel about this, and you know while it’s good for their economy, they’re sick of it, even if it only happens six months out of the 12.

You accept your ignorance of having not known the history of a region so rife with struggle and conflict, and truly understand the impact on personal lives when you become close friends with a girl who was displaced by war and separated from her family for two years. You hear the pain and growth from experiences you’ve been so privileged to have avoided merely by the fortune of being raised elsewhere.

It becomes clear that travel is sometimes glorified and beautified, and not always simple. But, you also realize that all you need to survive is food and water. You can change beds nightly and focus on the beauty of having the opportunity to meet more people because you’re in a constant state of flux. You see that there is a sense of stability in always being open to changing surroundings because you rely on so much less and can be ready for anything, at any time. Things really stop mattering so much. You can be alone and content. You can be surrounded and content.

At times, you’re disconnected technologically, so then, you’re totally connected in real time. As if real time even exists and has meaning. I’ve been consumed by people watching. By endlessly seeing that when people are in big groups and have nothing to say, they bring their phones into the conversation, avoiding eye contact and using their thumb to tap accolades to the edited photos on their screens. Or, they are taking snapchats of what’s live in front of them to broadcast to those back home, showing that they are here and you are there, not experiencing the same thing that they are experiencing behind a screen. I’ve been there. I’m happy I haven’t had the means to be for quite some time. It’s made days longer and connections stronger.

Mental pictures are my oldest and newest currency. They are the ones to cherish because they are becoming a part of my future.

I’ve pulled a splinter out of the toe of a stranger, a bee sting out of the hand of an older man, helped friends to their bed after wild nights that became mornings out, checked in on an acquaintance with low blood pressure, and jumped at any opportunity to help strangers when I have the means. I’ve had multiple nights in a row with no sleep and days of exploration, with days of simply passing the time and avoiding the heat.

I’ve talked about the meaning of life, God, love, desire, goals, fears and challenges with multiple people, mostly men, but also with some women, too. I’ve spent hours inside the busiest club on an island to talk philosophies with a friend. I’ve heard wild stories from wild nights of people who are finding themselves and learning what they seek romantically.

I’ve held onto the fact that many people derive the meaning of life from the relationships they make and the amount of people they can help.

Days roll by and time moves slower because you’re taking it all in. You’re connecting on very deep levels, having serious conversations over drinks and cheap eats while you realize the amount of talent and creativity people possess is broad, extensive and unique. You learn that people discover what they are good at over time, and sometimes later than expected in life, as well as having it come to them by chance. It gives you hope. It makes you realize that life doesn’t happen at ages, it happens in stages. And at various points in time because of the choices you make to take the chances and do the things that have always scared you most.

You see that, while yes, people do the same things to survive all over the world, cultures and norms are vastly different. Ways of talking, value systems, expectations, and actions take different forms. You understand that trusting your intuition is one of the smartest and most necessary tools you can bring to the table. You pick up on ways to know who means well and those that are just floating on by. You can spot the people still finding their way, and you can relate to having been there and then seeing those ahead of you, knowing you’ll get there, too.

You appreciate the inherent goodness in people and learn more about yourself through what people tell you they think of you. And, many times, it’s repetitive, which makes it the “truth”?

It’s not what you do, where you live and what you have. It’s who you are and what you do with the limited time you have here, there, and everywhere.

 

 

Foreign, Phoneless and Functioning

Croatia has been a shocking surprise. Most people talk about the beauty of Italy, Spain and France and make Western Europe a must-see destination, but recently, Croatia has been gaining popularity amongst travelers. It hasn’t ever been on my list of places to go, but from Mallorca, I was deciding between Mykonos, Greece/ Seville, Spain/ Lisbon, Portugal or Croatia. Since I have a few friends who said Croatia was great, I decided to just go for it. Because… why not?

Two days before my flight left on July 13, I booked a ticket to Split, Croatia, and I am beyond happy with the decision. Arriving here, I had no clue what to expect, but the romantic and charming landscape mixed with the festive atmosphere has made Split a place to remember forever. I’ve been here a few days, and immediately upon arriving at the airport and on the bus into the city, I’ve made friends. I’ve also learned so much about the history. A few fun facts:

  1. Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia all speak similar dialects. The most common feature that is different among the regions is religion: Croatia – Catholic, Serbia – Eastern Orthodox, Bosnia – Muslim
  2. Diocletian’s Palace – a Roman emperor who barely went to Rome during his reign has his palace here. It’s the only structure from the Roman era that actually has people living in it today.

When I arrived, I went out that night for dinner with two hostel mates and then met up with my friends who coincidentally were in Split to go out to some parties. The next day, I booked an early start to take a tour of Plitvice National Park up north (also met great people on the trip). The sights were unbelievable, truly. Words can’t describe the views and neither can pictures, so if you make it to this part of the world, definitely go take a live look at the park.

The only bad news is that my phone slipped out of my jacket pocket into the toilet and died during the visit. So, for a few days, I’ve been in a foreign country with no cell phone for GPS, photos or communication. The funny thing is, before it happened, I was telling people my realization that I really don’t need much other than the basics to live, plus a phone. Perhaps this is a lesson that I don’t even need that. It’s almost refreshing to be cut off of social media and my phone because I’m really living in the moment for me, not to share and broadcast every second or look at what others are up to. Instead, I’m focusing on what’s directly in front of me and making more lasting connections and memories in real time. Also, for the times I have been alone, I haven’t been able to rely on my phone for “comfort,” which I think is a good behavior to adopt.

Anyways, I spent the next day at a local and distant beach with my Swedish hostel mate who has become a good friend. We spent all night out, and since Ultra Music Festival is also happening at this time, the city is always alive and busy. While we didn’t make it to the actual festival, we went to an after party and stayed out all night until morning.

My next step is to take a ferry to Hvar for a few days before I make my way out of Croatia to Amsterdam and London. #SoloAdventures