Keeping the Dream Alive

We are quickly approaching our 8th month on Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras.  We have loved its warm and azure Caribbean waters ever since we got here last summer.  Unless you’re new here you know I’ve managed to do quite a bit in those 8 months:  earned my divemaster, instructor, master scuba diver trainer, and now IDC staff instructor certifications as well as my emergency first response instructor and 8 specialty instructor ratings.  Tigger has done so incredibly well it has been amazing to watch.  He has completely weaned off all medicines for his anxiety issues and his sensory processing challenges have lightened up quite a bit as well.  He is smarter, way more independent, and travel and life here has drastically honed his critical thinking skills.  I have immersed myself deeply into the scuba life and remain firmly addicted to diving.  Tigger is as well and has practically 30 dives logged now.  When we recently celebrated his 4th Gotcha Day (the anniversary of when he moved in with me), his first request was to do a night dive.  That is my child for sure.

There have been some challenges as well.  Life is never without opportunities for us to learn and grow.  And lately I’ve been afforded another chance to learn.  We left the States partly to get away from the corporate 9-5 existence.  I wanted to be able to raise my child myself and not have most of his care done by the school and daycare staff.  Diving instruction is a demanding career.  During the busier season a 12-hour day is more the rule than the exception. I have been extremely fortunate to find employment with a dive center that allows Tigger to come spend time with me there, play in the water off the dock, and go diving with me when I’m not busy teaching.  But lately I’ve had to reexamine things.

The wanderlust kicked in a few months ago, but I held it off while trying to rebuild my bank account some.  The concern that we’re just falling into the same life we left behind in the States has not shrank, however.  He isn’t in day care, and he has phenomenal independence, the type of independence very few places in the world could provide him, but we have precious little time to spend together during the day.  By nighttime I’m too exhausted to do much other than relax at home.  I have wrestled with the battle between the heart and logic for the last few months.   We had chatted a couple of months ago and decided that if I had to work like crazy for a few months but that meant we could save up enough money to be able to travel on a looser budget, or not have to work as much on the road, then it would be worth it.  The busy season here just isn’t that type of season.  At least not so far.  So the question has continued to nag me:  How can I keep the dream alive here?

Yes, getting paid to go diving 2-4 times a day is tremendously wonderful.  There is no doubt about that, but ultimately are we really living the dream that spurred me to leave a very comfortable job, a comfortable home, friends, community, etc., to become a permanent nomad with my child?  Or has the dream started to gather dust and get shoved into another corner of a different kind of closet?

While our life here definitely has more quality, it isn’t the level that I wanted for my son.  I refuse to allow my dream to gather dust. And because of that it is time to leave Utila.  I’ve been going back and forth about this for at least a few months, but it finally just felt right now.  Once I made the decision, I had instant peace.  Even though there are things and people here we will miss a lot, at the same time I am very excited to go to a new place and explore, as is Tigger.   We’ll be leaving in mid-March and are looking at flying to Colombia with a plan to be in Peru for the winter solstice at Machu Picchu.

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25 Comments

  1. Okay, finally sat down and caught up on things with you.  Wow, you continue to be an incredible inspiration to me and one who makes me think a little bit deeper.  You hit the nail on the head when you said that you felt you were sinking back into the that same NA lifestyle.  I realize this myself and know that the location is great, but it’s the mindset that must be right.  I’m super excited to see what lies ahead for you guys in Columbia.  A good friend of mine is from there and will be returning this Summer with his Family for 6 weeks.

    Darryl

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    • Definitely. Location helps, but if you fall into the same traps that helped inspire you to leave in the first place, then. . .

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  2. Awesome! I always know when we’re headed in the right direction, or need to make a life change, because I start to get nervous and afraid of the ‘what ifs’. But every time we commit to moving ahead, it seems that ‘Providence moves too’ – and it all works beautifully.

    Can’t wait until we get to Peru, but that’s another year or so… For now, we’re loving Guatemala.

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    • Isn’t it wonderful how that works?

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    • Isn’t it wonderful how that works?

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    • It’s wonderful to see things through his eyes.

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    • That would be awesome!

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  3. What a wonderful adventure you are enjoying with your child. Good on you mate!

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  4. I think your making the right choice. Life is all about learning from new experiences – and change is always hard. You’ve already proven (to yourself) that you can thoughtfully handle whatever life throws at you. 
    So to me, there is only and upside to your decision: for you, your son and your relationship.Best wishes!

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  5. My son gave up diving at assistant instructor level for similar reasons. He loved it, but was exhausted a lot of the time. It is a physically demanding job for sure, plus the responsibility when you have other folks’ lives in your hands is also stressful. That aside seems like it was time to move on anywhere, as the road is clearly calling you!

    Much luck in the future. Can’t wait to read all about it!

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    • I really love it, but the hours make it difficult to be a single parent especially. If it was just for a few months, that could work. But ultimately I need more time w/my son. The road was definitely calling, though. We’ve talked about leaving for a few months, but it just never felt right. This time it was clear it was time to move on. Nice to have that confirmation.

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  6. nice to know that you’re able to build a financial buffer that could help you travel more… ill be on the road too for a year this 25th and sometimes i miss the monthly paycheck that i used to have but at the same time could not imagine myself working on a fix schedule again so im busting my a$$ trying to build multiple online sources of passive income… aaaaarrrghhh sometimes i wish that it would just rain money LOL 

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    • Boy do I hear that! I really need to work harder to get more passive income flowing.

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  7. You’re right that it’s a demanding career, and I’m glad you’ve come to that decision. It is very easy to slip back into the same old patterns of working constantly. Have you rebuilt the bank account, then? If so, that’s win-win. I’m still working on mine…

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    • No, it isn’t rebuilt. The season here has been unusually extra slow. However, I have been able to build up enough of a cushion that we can move forward without me being too nervous. Still am a little. J

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  8. YAY! It’s a hard decision to make, but it’s always worthwhile.

    I think we all tend to fall into “the 9 – 5” too easily. What that 9 – 5 looks like is different for us all, but we know it when we get there. People often ask us when we’ll be getting back on our bikes, but I don’t have any desire to do that for a while yet. For us, after 4 years of full time travel on our bikes, the biking lifestyle had become our 9 – 5 and it was time to change it up.

    The important thing is that you are constantly reevaluating and not being afraid to make the choice to jump out of the box OR JUMP BACK IN THE BOX! We have different needs at different points in our lives and our job is to get those needs met.

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    • Well said, Nancy. And good point about your lifestyle that you’ve had.

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  9. I am so excited for you and Tigger, and its wonderful to read the progress that he has made. I dont know when we will be able to attempt this nomadic lifestyle but your story is inspiring as always. I cannot wait to read of your new and upcoming adventures in Peru and what new frogs will be there 🙂 Sonia from FB (for some reason I couldnt log in as me and popup blocker is disable)

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    • We’ll make sure to take pics of any frogs we find for you. J

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  10. I am so, so happy that you have made the decision that you have made. The idea of your new life style was party to travel, see the world, expose Tigger to different cultures and to have the adventures of your life, father and son. I have been worried about you both not moving on. You will miss so much but the world is just too big to stay in one place for too long and as long as you are together then you are fulfilled. 

    I am not only happy but also so excited for you both!! Keep up the great job you do as a parent, have fun and count your lucky stars you have a great son!!! 

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    • Thank you! I definitely do count my lucky stars. He is an amazing kid and a stupendous person. We have no problem staying in one place for a while to get to really know it, etc., but definitely there is too much world out there still for us to see. J

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