5 days, 4 flights, 2 bus trips, and 1 taxi ride. That’s the amount of time it took me to move from my medieval European apartment in Lisbon to my tropical jungle oasis in Montanita, Ecuador.
In one short week I pulled the last remaining items out of my Hoboken apartment, gave my niece hugs and kisses, took a 6am yoga class with my teacher, and traveled over 35 hours before arriving in the little beach town I plan to call home for the next 3 months.
Ecuador will be the 4th country that I will have lived in since making a decision to leave the United States 11 months ago. I would’ve thought at this stage in the game that the adjustment period would get easier; but no.
The first couple of days are as uneasy as the day I stepped off that flight in Morocco unsure of what the future held for me.
My stomach is in knots and my sleep is off. Between the long transfers on flights and buses, sleeping in different hostels in different cities, I find myself turning to Jorge and asking, “What day is it? What time is it here?” I never know if I should be eating breakfast or sleeping for another 4 hours to catch up to my current time zone.
This is the first time that Jorge and I have traveled together through a country that is unknown to both of us. Usually by the time I’ve arrived he’s had some time to get settled, make some friends, and figure out our living situation for the next months.
But a week ago we walked off the plane in Capital City of Quito with little idea of what the next stage of our lives would look like. With only a handful of names of people I had reached out to in the Yoga Community, we boarded a 10 hour bus ride south following the sun and the surf.
Within hours of arriving in Montanita, a surfers paradise along the Pacific Coast, we were greeted with open arms, coffee, and conversations about life, love, and the journey that had lead us to the healing center tucked away in the jungle.
I start to slowly take in the landscape, the colors, the people around me. I start to envision myself living here and thinking of how I will spend my days. With those observations also comes a wave of confusion and uncertainty.
The next morning I wake up and it takes me a few moments before I recognize where I am. The warmth of Jorge’s body next to me is the only familiar feeling in the first few days.
I watch him move through the day with a natural ease. A professional at settling in, he quickly makes friends, makes himself comfortable, and begins to enjoy the serenity of the life he’s spent the last 2.5 years crafting.
I struggle. Sometimes quietly, sometimes not so quietly. I try to find words to tell him what is coming up for me, but they seem trapped in the center of my chest, living in the same place as this unsettling feeling.
Why do I feel like I don’t belong? Why can’t I adapt faster? Why is none of this making sense to me yet?
I recognize that voice. I recognize those fears.
Jorge reminds me that this is part of it, and sometimes he feels it too. My only solution is to relax and allow where I am to become a part of me.
Within a few days my nervous energy has shifted and settled. Ecuador has begun to embrace me and share with me it’s beauty and healing powers. I am experiencing miracle moments, a-ha moments, every day.
Confusion has turned to clarity and the purpose of me being here in Ecuador becomes very clear.
This morning I woke up with the soft humming of birds and the trees rustling in the morning breeze. Mother nature whispered me awake, and after a few groggy moments, I realize that I am home.