I’ve always been more adventurous than Don, but neither of us wants to go white-water rafting because we’ve never done it before and we know that one good jolt these days can put our necks out in ways that may take weeks to heal properly. Oh the joys of ageing – but that’s not what this post about. We both love hiking, and calm-water kayaking, and being out in the countryside. We both love exploring what the cities have to offer. But sometimes we get out of sync with ourselves and with each other about what to do, how much to do, and when to do it.
I get to a new town and I’m all fierce and ferocious about finding out about what to see and do and where to go, and trying to find travel agents to organize a day trip or two, because I don’t want to miss anything, and I’m not really listening to myself, and even less to Don. It turns out he’s busy trying to please me, so he’s not really listening to himself either. And so we find ourselves out of equanimity, and out of equilibrium. In Chiang Mai, after realizing what was happening, we were able to talk through the whole issue, both of us really tuning in to what was wanted, and each really listening to the other. Don let go of trying to please me, which clearly wasn’t working, and I let go of the mind story about wanting to do and see everything. The result was that we both just surrendered, and decided that our time there would be with no agenda, no expectations, and a willingness to receive. Equilibrium was restored and we had a wonderful time.
We’re still trying to find equilibrium with this lifestyle. It comes and goes. There has to be a balance between the doing and seeing, and just hanging out or having a ‘day off’. Also we’re still trying to find a way to bring balance into meal times, though that may never be entirely possible since some days we sleep in, and some days we’re up at five to go on a hike, or to catch the sunrise or a flight. Meals just get all out of sync and so I suppose we have to find equanimity with that. It is just part of the lifestyle. So is the lack of structure for exercise. It’s just not possible since there are continual changes in our living circumstances. One day we’re having a much needed rest day, which may or may not include a walk, the next day we’re on an eight-hour hike in the mountains, the day after that we’re sitting around in airports all day, (though there was one time we power-walked around an airport for about forty-five minutes) and the following day we’re in a town where we find a yoga class. Travelling is, by its very nature all topsy-turvy. No routine is possible. Most people do it for a few weeks, or a few months, or even for a year. And then they go home. For us it’s continuous, but we have learnt this: six weeks max of moving every week. Then we need to stop for two or three months to allow equilibrium to be restored physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Now that we’re staying a while in Mexico, and have rented a casita, are preparing our own meals, going to yoga three times a week, and don’t have to be making any travel plans, equilibrium has returned of it’s own accord, just sliding right in there like an old and welcome friend. Equilibrium in what and when we eat, in exercise, in going out or staying home, in being outwardly focused or turning inwards in meditation. It’s the equilibrium that arises from just letting the day unfold, and letting it tell us what’s wanted rather than having to orchestrate it according to various travel plans or needs. And with equilibrium comes an easy equanimity: another old and welcome friend quietly letting itself in through the back door.
Photo of the day: Waiting for sunrise, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.