Peru Trip 2018, Part 1

We did it! My boyfriend and I had been planning a trip to Cuzco, Peru, basically since we met… Sunshine, my boyfriend, and I saved for many months to payoff the trip to Cuzco that we had originally charged to his Southwest card. By the time we were ready to leave, the card was back at zero and we were feeling pretty cool about it.

At the time, we were both working 60+ hours a week between two jobs and it was time for a desperately needed vacation. About a week before we left, Sunshine quit his full time job and started to do the things that he loved to put his time and effort into. My brother needed help on the vineyard, he went out there; his friend’s podcast began to take off, he ran cameras and helped out there; other friends’ various bands needed a drummer to play for a record or a show, and he showed up. By the time we were approaching take-off day, he was happier than he had been in months and was excited to get out of bed each day.

Meanwhile, I was slipping further into the depression I had been falling into since I began to realize how much of my time was spent driving to a job that did not fulfill me in any way (apart, of course, from monetarily). My commute was 40 minutes to an hour, each way, and when I got to work I would sit in a booth for 8-10 hours each day. It was draining, especially on the mind, but I found that physically I was becoming weaker in different ways.

The day before we were originally meant to take off for Dallas, Texas, from Kansas City, Missouri, I was exhausted. Sunshine worked an overnight shift that night at our mutual part-time job, and I tried to get our luggage prepped. We had a bit of confusion, followed by frustration, over how many bags we would take, and I think it came from us both being overworked and just beat.

The next day, his uncle was going to take us to the airport and our airline messaged us as we were leaving the driveway to say that our flight had been cancelled. We got on the phone immediately and in a few hours had worked it out so that our flight would be the very next day, at nearly the same time.

After that was all figured out, we went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant that night and went to bed as soon as we could. The next morning we went for a run together, then got coffees, before going home to get ready again and make sure all our bags were situated and our passports were in hand. This time our flight was not cancelled and we took off!

We left on Saturday, September 22, 2018, which happened to be on my mum’s birthday, so I made sure to call her before we left the country. The last time I had been on a plane, I think I was 23-years-old, maybe 24, and had experienced an anxiety attack (my first one) in flight. It was terrible, and leading up to our trip I was scared that it could happen again.

However, the whole series of flights on the way there went smoothly. When we boarded in Dallas to fly to Lima we experienced our first taste of Peruvian hospitality. We played musical chairs with a man from San Francisco, originally from Lima, and a couple of others so that he and his wife could sit together and I could sit with Sunshine.

This made the 7-hour flight much more bearable for everyone in that group of seats, as we could each lean on our loved ones in attempt to get some rest. When we landed in Lima, we were surprised to find that customs was easy throughout the entire process. It was essentially, “What are you here for? How long will you be here? Enjoy your time in Peru.”

We both thought it would be a hassle somewhere along the way, and when it wasn’t in Kansas City, then wasn’t in Dallas, we thought for sure it would get tricky in Lima. However, to our surprise we seemed to have stepped back in time to some degree, and we loved it. The people were instantly more charming and much less tied to their devices.

(To be continued…)

Peruvian streets are small in Cuzco!

Busyness

Day-to-day, we as humans struggle and strive to keep busy, to make money, to progress and move forward. It’s no wonder that we’re all so anxious, as there’s little time to just breathe and embrace life.

Personally, I have been struggling with the mundane, with the daily sameness of a job that makes money, but is deeply lacking in creativity and energy. It’s strange that such a slow-moving gig can be so draining on the mind and even the body.

Recently, I have taken up oil painting at home in whatever “free” time that I can spare, which while working 60+ hours every week is little to none. However, the few moments I’ve stolen with said paints has been truly liberating.

I won’t claim that I’m any kind of painter, at least not yet, but studying the colors and learning from YouTube videos how to create shapes from these colors fascinates me to no end.

All of this to say that creativity, especially in adulthood is overwhelmingly underrated. It is a kind of personal therapy that everyone should discover and take advantage of, at each opportunity.

Life is too short and precious to merely be whittled away in what my boyfriend calls “wage slavery.” Seek happiness, not just money, in the day-to-day and it all becomes less of a endless grind.

Moving In

My boyfriend and I are planning to get married in time and have decided to move in together, so begins yet another adventure in our journey. The past month has been tough on us both, and due to external forces I was moody, weird, and cried a lot for what seemed to me absolutely no reason. It pained me that my love had to witness and endure this time in my life as he inevitably thought that my tear-fests and abrupt mood changes were because of him. This could not be further from the truth though, as he was the only thing keeping me sane during this time.

Excited as I am to begin to feel like myself again and to be taking this step together, I do trust that we are making the right decision here. It is still strange and new to have another person around all the time, but I think in this case I will learn to love it. We are both so similar in our lifestyles and even in our stubbornness that I understand we will, no doubt, butt heads from time to time. That’s life though, even two people as similar as we can be will eventually find something they don’t agree upon or understand in the other.

It seems that when this happens in this day and age, a lot of times people will claim it’s just not working, move on, and do the same thing again with the next person they choose to be with in life. This is not my way, however, nor his. We both have an intensity about us in our commitment to this friendship, relationship, and our future together. There is just something about him that’s not like the rest and I refuse to let him go, so long as he continues to love and wish to be with me, and I believe he feels the same way.

There is absolutely no such thing as perfect, so I don’t endeavor to make myself or anyone else believe that he is; there is, however, perfect for me, and that he most certainly is. I find it hard to believe that we haven’t known each other all these years as I simultaneously feel like we have grown up together and been friends for much longer than we have. It’s very nice to come home to a good friend and ally every night.

Let Go

A relationship, any kind of relationship, can either build you up or tear you down. There is very little in between. Sometimes it can feel as though there is and these are the more confusing and potentially damaging relationships. For instance, my mum loves me, I know this, but she doesn’t believe in me, or my dreams.

If love is conditional for one reason or another, is it really even love at all? If one does not accept you for the person you are in any given moment, are they really a friend? Often, in romantic relationships I have found that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to quite measure up to my partner’s expectations.

My last boyfriend kept a carrot-stick of expectations that was constantly moving away whenever I thought I was close to meeting this or that idealized version of myself. I understood that this had a lot more to do with his ex wife and their experiences than being something that I caused him to do. However, it drove me once again to that feeling of not measuring up, of never being good enough.

Generally, when I come out of a relationship that has lasted at least a year and ended, I find I need some time off from it all. Mainly for self reflection, as well as self love. However, two of my ex’s friends–one in particular–helped me realize that the issue was not entirely my own this time. I was the one who was there, ready for commitment and long term. It just turned out that I hadn’t found the right person yet.

He had never dealt with his divorce and the feelings that he took away from it. I learned a lot from that relationship though, good things and hard things, but especially not to shape myself around another person’s life or allow them to shape me. If I don’t fit in while being my most authentic self then it just isn’t right. If someone wants to change you to fit better into their life then they will likely continue in that trend long-term.

Coming out of that failed relationship, I just wanted some time to myself and with my friends. I made new friends from work and dance, and got them to get together for board games and even a snowboarding trip. One of the the new friends soon became my best friend, he always showed up when I asked or invited him out with us. I told him outright that I wasn’t looking for anything but friends and that I could see him becoming my best friend.

At the time, he wanted more, but he stuck around and became my best friend. There are so many reasons to be grateful for this, but above all it is amazing to now be in love with my best friend and planning our lives together. I have honestly never known anything like this before, or even considered it possible. This man is thoughtful, considerate, kind, warm, and loving. I am lucky enough to call him my best friend, my boyfriend, and one day I hope to call him my husband.

It’s funny how we plan our lives around what we think we want, but when we let go of these plans life just gives us what we need instead. It’s a beautiful thing.

Plans

My boyfriend and I are planning our trip to Peru together, and he and I are so similar in the way that we plan and prep for trips that we keep misunderstanding each other. Assuming, based on previous experiences, that the other couldn’t possibly do it this way or that way. Last night, in a moment of frustrated confusion we realized that we each travel separately in a very similar manner. This will be our first big trip together, so I suppose it is a test of sorts on our relationship.

Either we’ll come away from this stronger as a couple or completely tired of each other, right? Personally, I’m hoping for the former, and I believe in us. The beautiful and unique part of this relationship is that we became best friends prior to the romantic bit. Which in a way is the most incredible experience in the world, in other ways though it is petrifying. It makes this relationship that much more important to me, and due to our many discussions on the subject I know he feels the same way.

Neither one of us had parents with successful relationships, which of course is more commonplace than the alternative these days. However, both of our parents were also away at work constantly to provide as single parents and we each had grandparents who swept in to fill that role in their absence. This I am unbelievably grateful for, because in a culture of divorce, the two of us (miles apart) had a successful and loving marriage close at hand to observe and learn from.

One day on this blog I will share, in as much detail as I can gain from the living grandmothers, the unbelievable and true stories of how they each met the love of their lives and made the marriage deal work in spite of being human beings who changed over time.

Unshakeable Goals

Let’s talk about how we’re all working at least 60 hours a week. The reasons vary person-to-person. For one brother, it’s debt reduction from having obtained a college degree he never used. Another brother took out money with his father-in-law to purchase his wife’s dream farm house and fix it up into a proper home, all while continuing to crush it at his day job in the city.

My mother has her own debts, between the three kids having gone through college, her own credit card debts, etc. My boyfriend and I are each struggling along for that good life one day, as well. The one we both witnessed in our own grandparents, the love they had for each other, as well as, the passion they had for hard work and progress.

We all talk about sixty hours of work a week as though it’s this new phenomenon, however, listening to our grandparents when growing up it seems this has always been the way. Granddaddy worked every day, never quit working until he passed in fact, and came home to be an incredible daddy for four children every night.

Grammie also worked hard every day, but it looked a little different from what we know now, so people may initially discount it. Working in the home and looking after four children, all while giving piano lessons for some extra take-home for the family. Her work was just as important as his work, and they looked after each other through it all.

Perhaps perspectives have changed drastically since then, because people somewhere along the way decided that the forty-hour work week was it. Our grandparents meanwhile, never stopped working even when they got home from work and will continue or continued to work until their last days.

In the last post I had briefly gone over the goals we, myself and my best friend (also known as, my boyfriend), have set for ourselves in the next few years. Now I will begin to discuss how we plan to get there, particularly financially.

Spain will be the most difficult goal to reach in the next three years, but we’ve set our minds to it, which is at least thirty-five percent of the battle, I think. Our first step towards this goal, is to open a CD together in order to start saving money at a faster rate.

We’ll likely go with a 6-month, that way we can add to it more frequently than some other longer terms. Essentially, we’ll treat this CD as our savings for the international move, adding to it what we can every six months, and preferably letting it continue to grow even after we take out what we need for the move and a few months abroad at our new jobs (to be determined).

June 1st is the goal we’ve set for opening our first CD together, that of our Spain fund. It’s quickly approaching and last night we finally put our airline tickets to Peru on his Southwest card. The idea there is that we currently have that money, but we’re going to put that toward a CD for our larger goal.

With that in mind, we intend to pay a few months interest on his card, while we save up to knock out that small debt. We leave for Peru at the end of September, so barring any emergencies, we will have our trip paid off before we leave. I have also set my own personal goals to have my college debt eradicated by the time we leave for this first trip.

Wish us luck. All those good vibes.

We’re out here doing it, and yes we could fail–the naysayers have and will continue to point that out–but until we do we intend to act as though we can’t and continue to prepare for these goals as well as any unexpected events that life may throw at us.

Globally Minded

Starting life with my best friend.

This is the first blog post I have written straight into the site, without working it out in Google Docs or Word/Pages first. My main objective in this post is to get some goals out there, into the void, to begin percolating. Here goes something quite real…

My best friend and I have been daydreaming of late, and last week I scribbled out a precise budget to get us to each of these goals in the next year or so. The first goal is to visit Machu Picchu in Peru, the second to become TEFL certified in Costa Rica (or another spot if it works out better), and the third/long goal is to move to Spain together.

There has been quite a lot of encouragement from various people in our lives, including my aunt and uncle, his father, and all of our bosses (we both work two jobs and at least 60 hours a week). The goal is language immersion and visiting bucket list sites, as well as not living and dying where we grew up.

One person in our lives has been quite a struggle to convince, but we believe that in time she will see that we are not just crazy dreamers here. The naysayer is my own mother, who we have deduced is simply terrified of losing her best friend (me) to the world. However, we have goals and plans and are going to reach out into the universe to make them happen.

Hopefully, in seeing us do all these things and make our own dreams come true, she will decide to do the same for herself. Now her goals are going to look a little different from ours, but they will be just as legitimate and important and we will encourage her once her own journey begins.

Her dreams took a hard detour when she became pregnant, then continued having children until I came around. I have always been the one to stick around so my moving around the world will be the most difficult change she will have to endure, but I believe that it is time for her to start her life and for her to let me start mine.

More to come.