In Between

This morning I did yoga on a pool deck at Puerto Escondido Marina, just south of Loreto, Mexico. The sun was shining and there was a pleasant breeze blowing the scent of the ocean across my mat. Since we left Colorado, I’ve done yoga on the sandy desert of southeastern Arizona, in California City with motorcross bikes riding circles around me, on my in-laws back patio, my standup paddle, the deck of an abandoned pool, and more beaches than I can count. It is a privilege to live this life. I feel grateful and blessed every day, even when I don’t unroll my mat.  This journey is something I knew I needed but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that it’s the way I want my family to spend our lives. It brings gratitude for the in between.

I could tell you about all the amazing places we’ve seen so far but reading about other people’s travels is never as satisfying as experiencing it for yourself. To that end, I try not to read too much or set too many expectations around the places we go and what we want to see and do. Yes, I want to see as many whales as I can, and yes, I want to climb rocks and hike up mountains, but the in between is sometimes what really makes it. It’s the little taco shop we stumbled upon because the kids needed a break and some calories. It’s the people we met when we chose to stay at the emptiest beach we could find. It’s the fish we caught from the standup paddle and fried up for dinner in our rig. It’s the conversations with the people we randomly meet because we are on the same spot on this earth at the same moment. That’s where the magic happens.

Yoga is a practice that I’ve had in my life since college. It’s been as much as a strong presence and as little as a weak flicker deep inside me, but it’s been there since my first introduction to it at Ohio State. When I had small babies, I completely lost my daily practice, which had been an anchor for me through some of the hardest and best change in my life. I knew it was important and I knew I wanted it back, but I kept finding myself deferring to my kids needs and not my own. Once I get going on the day, it’s hard for me to come back to yoga. Yoga is usually my first step in the morning and very rarely something that I inject into the middle of my day. As we’ve been traveling it’s been happening more. I find myself pulling out my mat midday. The lack of schedule and commitment to other’s agendas allows for it. The wide-open spaces that the kids can get lost gives me hours of quiet time that I wasn’t counting on. It’s miraculous.

Yoga for me is so many things. It’s the physical work and the effects I feel on my body, but it’s very much the mental work of slowing down and taking the time for me. I am a better human when I am consistent in my practice. If I can slow myself down for yoga, I can slow down when I’m in parent or partner mode. Yoga is my conversation with myself. What do I want? What do I need? How can I best give to those around me today? When I really get in the flow with travel, the same thoughts come up.

When we don’t have a hard date to get somewhere, we relax into where we are and what we can learn from the area. The kids start to branch out further from where we are camped and find new games and hide outs. Jay and I have more time together to watch the changing winds, the sunsets, or the effects of the tides. I even noticed the subtle change in the angle of the sun when we were in a place for several weeks. I feel more in touch with the natural world than I have in years and it’s only been three months on the road. Nature shouldn’t be studied from a textbook at a desk.

As I am studying nature and having conversations with myself on my yoga mat, the next thing that I see myself leaning into is conversations with the people that we find ourselves next to. I want to learn from people, not Wikipedia. I want to hear stories of how couples met, and what made them decide to move from Indiana into an RV full time. I want to know how people live on a boat in Mexico for the winter and then also own a home on the coast of Oregon. Who takes care of the chickens when they are gone? Inevitably, we run into people who are doing life differently, and the spectrum is large. Some are an inspiration while others are a warning. I’m finding time to do yoga in the middle of the day. I’m spending hours having conversations with people who make me laugh and are strong advocates for social justice. My kids are watching and listening when they aren’t off playing in the waves, building bike jumps, fishing or digging up clams. We’ve slowed down enough to start noticing the little things in between. This is when the journey really begins.