Month Two Check-in: Nate

How are you feeling physically?

I had a few rough experiences this month. I spent a day or two resting in Mancora, Peru due to a cold and I got food poisoning in Las Vegas when I was back to do some contract work. Amazing that after all our travel and international food I had to go to a burrito place in the states to spend 36 hours violently ill.

Sunset in Punta Hermoas, Peru. One hour south of Lima.

Sunset in Punta Hermoas, Peru. One hour south of Lima.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the sun, at the beach and in the water and it’s generally made me feel really good. I am letting go of the physical routines and expectations that I carried from life in the states and enjoying the rhythm of the trip more as time goes by.

Our week at surf camp really reminded me of how much physical activity and exercise feed all aspects of my mental and physical health. I eat better, sleep better and just generally feel good when I’m getting exercise that I enjoy each day.

Waking up without an alarm clock everyday is surreal. And wonderful.

Waking up without an alarm clock everyday is surreal. And wonderful.

I also have really noticed what a difference sleeping and alcohol make to my physical well being and energy level. I doubt I have had a solid 8 hours of sleep this many days in a row since I was a child. It creates more than just physical energy but mental energy as well. I have more bandwidth to make good decisions and undertake new experiences.

I also am feeling pretty over drinking at this point. It’s easy to choose to imbibe because there is so seldom a concrete thing tomorrow that I need to be in top shape for. But the result of this decision being repeated is depression, low energy and a lack of motivation.

 

How are you feeling mentally/emotionally?

There are a few things to which I attribute my more positive and engaged mental state this month several of which had to do with my brief return to the states to do some contract work in Las Vegas.

·      I saw college and Peace Corps friends and got to talk and process the trip in a really separated and personal way.

·      I got to relax in American culture and food

·      I got to spend a lot of alone time

·      I had to work again! And was reminded how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing.

·      I got to really miss Jess and appreciate how much I love her and our life together.

I also generally feel like I’m adjusting to the schedule and pattern of this time in my life. At home I’m used to a lot more self imposed structure and routine from sleep to diet to exercise. I was trying to maintain those same routines and when they weren’t effective or were more difficult to maintain, I felt adrift.

Rafting outside of Cusco was another example of a really satisfying day of physical activity and excitement.

Rafting outside of Cusco was another example of a really satisfying day of physical activity and excitement.

The replenishing routines or rituals of our itinerant life are gradually becoming clearer. As a whole they are significantly less controlled than the ones at home. They don’t involve more discipline and control but rather letting go and indulging simple pleasures.

We don’t need meal times or bed times. Work a little, live a little, eat, take a nap. It’s a much more fluid way of life.

Favorite part of the last month?

If I had to pick just one thing it would be surf camp in Punta Hermosa. Jess wrote a great post about it here.

The bigger the board, the easier it is to stand up on. That's why mine is the size of an aircraft carrier.

The bigger the board, the easier it is to stand up on. That's why mine is the size of an aircraft carrier.

The combination of physical exercise, lots of sun, community and full body learning was really wonderful. Jess and I have both noticed that the more in our bodies the activities we are engaged in the more we seem to enjoy ourselves.

Amazingly, we built these in a single afternoon. Kevin sent me this photo later of their first plantings.

Amazingly, we built these in a single afternoon. Kevin sent me this photo later of their first plantings.

I would also say that spending time with my friend Kevin in Oakland was wonderful. He and his wife Mara are expecting. They’ve just bought a house and I spent a day helping him build raised beds for a garden in his backyard. Seeing their life for a day or two made me incredibly excited for that period of life coming up and really helped me appreciate how unique and strange this time in my life now is.

Least favorite part of the last month?

Food poisoning in Las Vegas sucked.

Horrible things happened in the bathroom of this hotel.

Horrible things happened in the bathroom of this hotel.

We have had so much unique and interesting latin food but there’s really nowhere we’ve been that makes an excellent Mexican style burrito. So  I found a place on Yelp and bought a goat burrito. It was delicious. And then I spent 36 hours on and off the toilet with crippling stomach cramps. I was fortunate to have an empty hotel room and a good 24 hours before I had to work.

 

Learned about Self?

It’s becoming clearer to me the more I float out in the space beyond normal American life that I am really searching for something to believe in; for a purpose and a way to contribute to the world.

I’ve said a lot in the last few years that I spent the first few years of working just trying to do work that I enjoyed and that I thought was fun. Having accomplished that I’m now searching for a place to invest and find depth.

My success as a voice over actor has been a real surprise to me. I even had a booking in Lima for a repeat client.

My success as a voice over actor has been a real surprise to me. I even had a booking in Lima for a repeat client.

A huge piece of my growth as a person over the last few years has been making more room for other people’s opinions and ideas of the world. I’ve become much kinder and found it easier to connect with people because I’ve stopped assuming that my way is the right way or that I know more than other people. The downside is lower confidence in my ability or righteousness in affecting the world. I’m thinking about it a lot and I’ll keep working on finding what’s next for me in my development as a person.

 

Learned about Jess?

I really was not aware how uninvested Jess was in her work. She’s always been a responsible and diligent worker. She is well liked, gets promoted and (from my perspective) has really high standards for the work she does and the people with whom she works.

Cusco is beautiful.

Cusco is beautiful.

But hearing her talk more about the ache to get out of work at 4:30p on a Friday or the feeling of overwhelm just riding the bus 20 minutes home to our apartment in Chicago, I’m surprised of how competent she was in a realm that wasn’t really fueling or fulfilling her.

Ideally, Jess' next job will involve her holding and petting small mammals 7-12 hours a day.

Ideally, Jess' next job will involve her holding and petting small mammals 7-12 hours a day.

When I hear her talk now about our ability to grow the blog and find a way to make money on the road she sounds like me at my optimistic best in the last few years trying to launch or grow my various small businesses. She seems confident and excited and inspired. It’s great to be around. It’s also a nice counter to the less confident place I find myself in right now.

Along with that, I’m more in touch with how much she wants to control and love her work; with just how entrepreneurial she is and how much fear she has had about following that path.