I connected with Val awhile ago and have enjoyed watching her journey take shape. Recently, she sold everything and moved to a city in Mexico sight unseen to pursue a dream. I’m so glad she agreed to be interviewed, and I hope you enjoy reading her story and that it inspires you to live your dream.
You recently sold most of your possessions, including your home, to create a new life for yourself. Where did you move and why did you choose this place out of everywhere else in the world?
I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I had never been here before but had heard from a few friends who had lived here about how wonderful it is. I also read a few books that interviewed people who have moved here. I was wanting to explore my more artistic side with painting as well, and San Miguel is a community of artists. I love being surrounded by other artists in my life.
When you decided to begin this new lifestyle and sell everything, how did you feel? Was there ever a point where you doubted the wisdom of this decision? If so, how did you get past it?
Yes, everything happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to think about it. Once I decided to sell my house, it sold in two days, and I only had three weeks to be out it. But towards the end, when I had time to think (fear), I started wondering if I was crazy. I got past it by recognizing the fear, and realizing that I wouldn’t “die” by making this choice. And I admitted that, yeah, I was probably crazy, but I like my crazy self. I decided I’d rather be adventurous and crazy rather than stuck in the same place and not even trying to go after my dreams.
I’m sure people have told you how brave you must be to do this. We get that from time to time, and I can’t say that I feel particularly brave. It isn’t like we were the first to do something similar. How do you feel?
No, not brave. Crazy!! No, what did feel brave was being willing to give up the high-paying job that I had to do this. That did feel brave. To trade in security for the unknown. But it was something I just had to do. My soul was asking me to do this.
One of your dreams was to pursue your art. When did you first realize you were an artist? What inspired you to pursue that dream more fervently?
I have always felt like an artist with my cooking, my writing, my photography, and the way that I decorated my house. But painting was a new thing for me to explore. A painter friend of mine thought I would be a good painter and encouraged me to try it. What inspired me the most was taking my first painting class in Bali. I really lost myself in painting. It felt like a meditation to me. And, I really liked what I created. This encouraged me to explore that side of me further. I also want to find a place here to learn how to make pottery.
You spent some time in Bali which seemed to be a catalyst for you. Your story of taking a painting class inspired me to do the same when we were there, and it was also a pivotal time for me. How did your stay in Bali affect the decision you made to live your current lifestyle?
Being in Bali was definitely a pivotal time for me. They say that when you go to Bali, the healing energy of the place really shows you what path you are supposed to take. Before I went to Bali, I thought I would wind up becoming location independent and travel full-time. Being there and meeting amazing people showed me that I really need a home base with friends around, but I also need to be able to travel a lot, too. It inspired me to find a place to base myself out of and travel part-time. Of course, I may wind up finding a new place to base myself out of every couple of years. I have definitely tended to do that throughout my life!
Have you had to deal with any naysayers among your friends and/or family? If so, how did you deal with it? What advice would you give to others who encounter a lack of support with their “crazy” ideas/plans?
Really, only one friend tried to discourage me. He was worried about the crime in Mexico (which is way overplayed by the media). I tried showing him the facts. Now, that I’ve left, he doesn’t stay in touch with me all that much which makes me sad. I never let his naysaying influence me, though. I thanked him for his concern and moved on. I do have to thank my parents for being so supportive of this plan. That means a lot to me.
Mexico gets a really bad rap from the US media. Have you ever felt unsafe there? Would you recommend people visit Mexico?
No, I haven’t felt unsafe at all. In fact, I often feel safer than I did in Oregon where I came from. I would absolutely recommend people visit Mexico!! It is such a beautiful country and the people are so beautiful. They have such a passion for life. It’s contagious!! Every time I take a walk down the street, I see things that inspire me. Vibrantly colored buildings, scenes of street vendors making tacos, selling balloons, or handmade items. The main square has so much energy. I go there and people watch a lot! And the food! Some of the most incredible food that I’ve ever eaten.
I had gotten a little too comfortable, so comfortable that I was stuck in a rut. I was no longer growing.
How has your spirituality assisted you in making some of these big life decisions?
This whole decision has been a spiritual one. I felt like my soul was being called to do this. I had gotten a little too comfortable, so comfortable that I was stuck in a rut. I was no longer growing. I think travel makes you grow as a person more than anything else. I think I was being called to grow. I also love that I tend to meet more people in new areas. Part of my spirituality includes showing love to others, and I feel my heart expand when I am going through new experiences. I am going through a lot of changes right now, and I am learning to feel more love for myself and for others. I think being in a new place makes me want to be more intimate with others, too. I don’t want to just talk about the weather with my new friends. i want to go on a deeper level.
Now that you’ve been in Mexico for awhile, how do you feel about your decision?
I am so glad that I have made the decision to come here. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be (at least for now!)
I am so glad that I made the decision to listen to my heart.
. . . give more attention to your dreams than to your fears.”
What advice would give you others who are considering making big life changes and/or pursuing their dreams?
I have so much to say on this topic that I’m actually writing a book on this subject right now. I’d say give more attention to your dreams than to your fears. Your fears will only cause you to miss the adventure that is your life. It will also cause all of us to miss out on what you have to offer the world. So, you won’t just be letting yourself down, but all of us down, too. Listen to your heart. It is the messenger from your soul.
–Val is convinced that she is half mermaid and is always looking for the next great beach. She writes the travel blog, This Way To Paradise, which is a guide to some of the best islands and beaches in the world and a conscious storytelling of her soul journey.