When Traveling Is No Longer Enough

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Zhangye Danxia China
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It always happens with cereal: I buy one brand, and I eat that same brand for breakfast every morning, for weeks and weeks, until I get tired of it. Frosties, Frosties, Frosties. Special K, Special K, Special K. Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies.

And so on, and so on. I discover a new song and I listen to it over, and over, and over… until I check my iTunes and discover that I’ve listened to Copenhagen by Vetusta Morla 226 times and, therefore, I shouldn’t be very surprised that I can’t listen to it anymore.

The same happens with traveling. I travel, travel and travel until I start feeling the urgent need to stay at home all day and watch movies. I call it “my ginger”: that tiny, bitter slice you use to cleanse your mouth between two pieces of sushi, in order to appreciate the different tastes.

In one of my travel-travel-travel phases – Zhangye Danxia, Gansu Province, China.

In one of my travel-travel-travel phases – Zhangye Danxia, Gansu Province, China.

So I am very sorry, dear readers. I feel sorry that you haven’t been reading anything lately on this blog, but I was immersed in a stage in which everything became travel, travel, travel until, after more than a year, I got tired. I didn’t want to take another picture, board another train, or get myself lost in another city. And then came a Netflix, Netflix, Netflix stage. Well, I must admit that one is not over yet. Today I watched Netflix for two hours. Mea culpa.

Hoi An, Vietnam. The place where I now watch Netflix.

Hoi An, Vietnam. The place where I now watch Netflix.

However, I feel I’ve reached a new stage that could be totally different from everything I’ve experienced so far in my life. A stage of balance. A stage of harmony. A stage when the rocking horse can still rock, and not necessarily in a less energetic way – but certainly in a less extreme way.

When You’re Bipolar and Passionate…

When you are bipolar and especially passionate (as I happen to be), it is perhaps more difficult to find a balance than it is for the rest of the people. Because you, by default, live to fall in love – or, you fall in love in order to live.

It’s like a seesaw: either you’re touching the sky with your hands, or you’re touching the ground with your feet. But to be right in the middle of that seesaw and find your balance becomes as difficult as a circus act. And I’m not talking about any circus act, but something phenomenal, like Cirque du Soleil.

So here I am: finally in the middle of the seesaw. I decided to stop backpacking in November, but instead of going back to Costa Rica (as I have done for the past seven years whenever I got tired), I rented a house in Vietnam. I mean, I’m traveling, but I’m not moving. I decided to stop tasting lips that speak in German, Romanian, Malay or Hebrew, and kiss some lips that love me. I decided to stop catching 37 hour trains through China but, instead of watching Netflix all the time, today I decided to sit down and write.

This is my home and this is what we call the “common nook”. It's like a kind of attic that Vietnamese houses often have in order to put a Buddhist altar (which can be viewed in a table built into the wall on the right hand side). We use it to read, relax and swing in the hammock or on the seesaw of balance.

This is my home and this is what we call the “common nook”. It’s like a kind of attic that Vietnamese houses often have in order to put a Buddhist altar (which can be viewed in a table built into the wall on the right hand side). We use it to read, relax and swing in the hammock or on the seesaw of balance.

Because, although it may seem incredible coming from me, traveling is not enough for me anymore. There can be so much happiness in watering the plants on the terrace and watching the flowers blossom each morning, just as there can be so much happiness climbing a pagoda in Myanmar. There can be so much happiness in drinking a glass of wine while you write under a lantern’s light, just as there can be so much happiness in roaming the streets of Hanoi. And indeed, there is way, way, way more happiness in falling asleep listening to the heartbeat of the man you love, than there is in having sex with a random New Zealander on a beach in Thailand.

This is the view from my house’s terrace. I live next to a river. My neighbors are fishermen and, in the morning, they open the back door of their homes, jump onto their boats and go fishing. The flower you see on the right blooms every day with the sun and goes to sleep at night. Like the fishermen. Watering this flower and watching it bloom makes me happy, even if I once thought there couldn't possibly be anything more boring than a plant. Hoi An, Vietnam.

This is the view from my house’s terrace. I live next to a river. My neighbors are fishermen and, in the morning, they open the back door of their homes, jump onto their boats and go fishing. The flower you see on the right blooms every day with the sun and goes to sleep at night. Like the fishermen. Watering this flower and watching it bloom makes me happy, even if I once thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more boring than a plant. Hoi An, Vietnam.

This is my office, or my “nook” as I call it. When we rented the house, the real estate agent said that this was a “storage room”. And I was like: "WTF? No fucking way! This is my place to write!” From here, I work online, and it was here that I wrote this post. It makes me happy. Hoi An, Vietnam.

This is my office, or my “nook” as I call it. When we rented the house, the real estate agent said that this was a “storage room”. And I was like: “WTF? No fucking way! This is my place to write!” From here, I work online, and it was here that I wrote this post. It makes me happy. Hoi An, Vietnam.

This is the man who makes me happy. He is not perfect, but he is very close to everything I have dreamed of. Zhangye Danxia, Gansu Province, China.

This is the man who makes me happy. He is not perfect, but he is very close to everything I have dreamed of. Zhangye Danxia, Gansu Province, China.

And that’s what I’m discovering. I am discovering that I don’t want to be just a “backpacker”. I want to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a writer, even a housewife (I never thought I’d say this, but I find pleasure in seeing my house clean, and I can still recognize myself in the mirror). I want to be all those women I have pushed aside in order to put everything on the altar of my goddess: my backpack.

That doesn’t mean I will stop traveling. Once the travel bug bites you, you are infected for life. And I’m happy with the destination that I chose. I am happy to know that I will die traveling. But I also want to infect myself with many other experiences. I want everything, for fuck’s sake, and even if it’s as difficult as maintaining balance on a seesaw, I am trying.

So as Simone de Beauvoir once said: “I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then, when I do not succeed, I get mad with anger.”

So welcome, then, to a new stage of the rocking horse. Because I’m no longer mad. I am, finally, happy.

Me, at my home's terrace. Me, being happy. :)

Me, at my home’s terrace. Me, being happy. 🙂

PLEASE NOTE: English is not my mother tongue! These ones are rough translations from
the original Spanish version Sobre el caballito.Sorry about the mistakes!
😉

Do you like the rocking horse? Then, down here you have 3 ways to support it to keep rocking. I'll thank you forever for 1 (or even better for the 3 of them):

1. Follow the rocking horse on or on

Or:

2. If you feel extra-super-nice today and you have at least an extra dollar this month:


Don't know how to use PayPal? Click here

3. Or maybe you would like as well to...


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