Coming home from vacation felt entirely different to me this time! This is our first big vacation away from our new home here in the highlands of Panama and I must admit, after nearly three weeks away, I was looking forward to getting back to my little casita in the mountains. We’ve taken several pretty long vacations in our past and normally we’re never really ready to go home. We love to travel and see the world and seldom have we looked forward to returning to the grind that was our life in California.
This time getting back to our peaceful little home was a thrill that felt so unlike I’ve ever felt about coming home. Come to think about it, getting ready to go on this trip was also totally different in many ways. Right off the bat I can say that getting ready for this vacation was so darn easy! I didn’t have a bazillion things to consider before leaving. No crazy work schedule to make it through before our departure. No 12 and 13 hour workdays to endure in order to be able to go away. I remember at times just preparing to go away felt like more work than it was worth. And then there was ‘re-entry’! Oh boy! The dread of checking the message machine at work….sigh! This vacation was totally different both at the beginning and at the end.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve said before that I didn’t dislike my life in California…heck my career was more rewarding than I have words to express, and I was near to so many people I loved. But there’s nothing like taking a vacation when your life already kinda feels sorta vacationy! hah! Wellllllllll, Ahem… Scott may beg to differ about that, but you know what I mean! 🙂 Even though we have an awful lot going on with our project both Scott and I agree that what we’re doing right now is really not the same kind of draining work that our lives revolved around before our move to Panama. Maybe because the purpose of our daily grind here is entirely benefitting our life in a more permanent way. And there’s an end in sight! We’re not putting all this energy into building a house that we know we will never be able to afford to keep. We no longer worry about scraping enough money together each month to pay the mortgage on a house that we know is a temporary home. We’re building something of substance and permanence for ourselves that we’ll still be young enough to enjoy when the hard work is done.
Ugh! enough about that nonsense! What I mean to say is that I really appreciated every aspect of this vacation from start to finish. I loved not having all the craziness that comes both before and after a vacation and I loved coming home to Boquete and our life here. I really appreciate the reality that we weren’t taking a break from anything so draining but simply exploring the world and enjoying the company of our newfound friends. It’s an unexpected realization that “vacations” have taken on a totally different meaning and feeling for me. Does that make sense? I suppose like most things in life, it’s all a matter of perspective. Without the distractions, the tiring realities of life before retirement, my perspective of vacation is one of undiluted pleasure from beginning to end.
Traveling and seeing the world will always be a pleasure and unending source of joy and adventure for us especially now that our life doesn’t own us …we own our life! The best thing we’ve done for ourselves has been to put our foot down and take the reigns of our life in our own hands before so many things that we dreamed of doing just faded away and became a distant memory.
Not everyone has to go to such extremes as moving your life to an entirely different country but at some point its not bad to take an honest look at your path and reevaluate weather it’s taken you closer to happiness or further from what you wish you could do. For me, life was becoming a series of things I ‘had’ to do and not enough things in my day to day life that I ‘wanted’ to do. Not that I still don’t have plenty of things I ‘Have’ to do in my life now…like keeping my eyes peeled for scorpions in my house! Ugh! And struggling to make myself understood in a language I’m only barely beginning to be able to understand, or driving into town everyday to fill up gas cans to keep our generators running in order to have electricity in my house! hah! But, everyday when I wake up and hear the sounds of the wind gently rustling all the trees and the many different birdsongs wafting through the open windows, I smile. When Scott and I get to talk about our project and what the plan is for the day, while leisurely enjoying our breakfast together, I feel grateful that our day and what we ‘must’ get done is all up to us. We aren’t dashing out of the house in different directions only to see one another at the end of a stressful day, ready to eat and go to bed. In our new life here in Boquete we’ve found a balance that suits us just fine. When we go away to explore a new place its great to know that we aren’t seeking a break from our life, only embracing yet another adventure together.
I love this post, Holly! It is so true the stress and daily grind of working for others and not yourselves is not fulfilling at all. We are retired, too, and hubby has said it was crazy that when you fall in love and marry, you then have to leave that person all day long to make a living and barely see each other…the one person you want to be with. You have a great perspective on life!