A New Kind of Adventure

Like most of humanity, Erin and I have had more than our fair share of challenges in the first half of 2020. However, regardless of everything we are blessed to still have our health, jobs, and sanity. Now we are able to enjoy a few days off from working, selling our home, packing, moving, and putting out an actual raging electrical fire on our old neighbor’s property all in the midst of a global pandemic. Needless to say we were more than happy to take some time and enjoy what we have been referring to as, ‘halftime.’

Anyone who watches football knows that the second half of the game rarely plays out the same as the first. Both teams have a chance to rest, reflect on what they did well and the mistakes they made, pivot their game plan, make necessary adjustments, and come out ready to fight with a renewed sense of energy in the third quarter.

This is our mindset moving forward through the rest of 2020 and beyond!

A little less than a year ago, we began talking about our plans for the future, how we envisioned it, where and how we wanted to live. Prior to meeting her, I had a half-baked plan to buy some land on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala with the intention of creating a Digital Nomad retreat center; a place where remote workers/travelers could come together and discover the local wonder that exists on this magical lake.

Given the current state of the world, I’m glad that I didn’t move forward with that plan.

Dreaming is a vital part of living a fulfilling life. It gives us a reason to keep pushing forward, especially when going through difficult times. Meeting someone that you can co-create a brand new shared dream with is more magnificent than I ever could have imagined. Do we know exactly where we will end up? Nope! After much discussion and research, we easily agreed on relocating somewhere out west.

So we set our sights on the Pacific Northwest!

Earlier this year things began to align for us in the most unusual ways. Like millions of other people around the globe, both of us were forced to work from home until further notice. A couple months later, we were given the green light to work remotely indefinitely. We put the house up for sale and it was under contract in two weeks! We searched tirelessly for a rental out west and she found the perfect lake house on the Idaho/Washington State border not too far from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Our collective powers of manifestation and our ability to get things done together, all while working full time from home have proven that we are an incredible team.

For our personal halftime show, while our material possessions and cars are shipped to our new home, we spent a much needed relaxing week in California visiting her parents.

A little over a week ago we arrived to a place that neither one of us has ever been before, in what will be our new temporary home until we find a spot to build our forever nest. She and I could live anywhere in the world, so long as we have each other we’ll always be home.

This new adventure is one that I can finally share with someone who makes me excited to get out of bed every morning before the sun so we can watch it rise together.

Our new backyard

This new adventure is our love adventure ❤️

Farewell For Now, Following Freebird

This past decade, I’ve experienced nearly every human emotion possible.

In 2011, my father died. I was 28 at the time and the oldest of four siblings.

In 2012, I was introduced to meditation and yoga.

In 2013, I moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

In 2014, I survived a stroke at the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In 2015, I quit my job and left New York to travel. Mexico became my home for the better part of two years.

My travel/psychotherapy blog Following Freebird was born.

In 2016, I learned how to let go of the bullshit that I unwittingly carried with me most of my adult life.

In 2017, I visited The Integral Heart Family of Antigua, Guatemala and became a lifelong volunteer fundraiser.

A few months later I returned home to New York.

In 2018, I started working for a company whose founder I admire on a personal level: Dale Carnegie & Associates.

In 2019, I found the most incredible woman that I fall deeper in love with every day; something I never would have done had the events of the past decade never occurred.

In 2020, I will be publishing my first book.

 

I realize how blessed I have been to integrate such valuable lessons after living in such extremities.

2011: Losing my father showed me what real loss was, and I developed a deeper sense of empathy towards others.

2012: Yoga and meditation gave me the tools I needed to quiet my overactive mind, truly listen to people, and focus on the present moment.

2013: Living in New York City made me realize that I am unable to thrive in an environment so disconnected from nature.

2014: Having a stroke taught me why people suffering from anxiety and depression often commit suicide and that most suicidal people don’t want to die, but rather they just want the pain to stop.

2015: Traveling alone in foreign countries taught me how to move forward in the face of fear. I also now understand why people who travel never view the world the same way ever again.

2016: Learning to surf showed me that everything in life, good or bad, comes in waves.

Managing a conscious community and holistic healing retreat center showed me that the bravest men and women are the ones who consistently face their fears, talk about their problems, admit their own shortcomings, and work through them with other people who are walking their own path of self-actualization.

The greatest takeaway of all was gaining a deep understanding that each and every one of us suffers, most of us in silence, in the catacombs of our own troubled minds.

This, my 33rd year on that planet, was where I finally began to understand the true meaning of life as taught by the sages of the earth for thousands of years: Suffering and the cessation of suffering.

2017: The people I have come to trust and respect most on this earth, the co-founders of the Integral Heart Family of Antigua, Guatemala, showed me that the best way to become truly wealthy was to give of myself.

Returning home to Long Island showed me that the ultimate test of enlightenment is to go home after years of traveling and spend time with my family. (Thanks Ram Das 4/6/31 – 12/22/19)

2018: I experienced karma first-hand after taking a job with a company whose founder, Dale Carnegie, wrote a book that helped me dig myself out of the deepest depression of my life.

2019: I met Erin, the love of my life. We never would have met had I not experienced all the pain, suffering, and lessons that this life set out to teach me this past decade.

2020: I feel like my life is just beginning; and as one door opens, another must be shut.

Being back in New York these past two years, I have left my vagabond ways behind and assimilated myself back into “the real world”, whatever the fuck that means. While my body is clearly here, my mind is always wandering, my heart is soaring like never before, and my spirit is leading me down a new path.

For now, I bid farewell to Following Freebird, the place I came to heal myself by openly sharing some of my most private thoughts these past five years. I am grateful to all of you, from my family and friends who have been following my journey, to the random strangers that stumbled upon my blog while Googling “Peyote Ceremony In Tulum.”

I have the utmost gratitude for those who have reached out to me when my mind would retreat to dark places; most of whom never realize how the smallest spark of hope can keep someone’s fire from going out forever.

As this door closes, another has been beckoning to be opened. I have been working on a novel, one I am hoping to finish in 2020. It has been inspired by those I’ve met in my travels and the life I have been so very blessed to live.

 

Epilogue

Back in 2015, somewhere along the backpacking trail between Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Escondido, I realized that I was traveling not in search of a destination, but rather a feeling. I’d catch glimpses of it when I would get lost in the beauty of the artwork and architecture of an old colonial city, or when I connected with people from the other side of the world and found out that I had more in common with them than most people from my hometown.

These experiences were what became the lifeblood of Following Freebird; to go where I felt the tugging on the strings tethered to my soul. They took me tens of thousands of miles to three continents, only to come back to the place where it all began.

Like Santiago, the young Andalusian shepherd in Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist, determined to fulfill his Personal Legend, I too realized that wherever my heart was, there I would find my treasure.

The treasure that I traveled the world searching for was found in Erin’s love.

You could imagine my surprise when I found out that she got the below tattoo of a bird’s feather just four months before we met. Surely this was just a coincidence. 😉

After years of flying from one place to another, I have found my nest.

And now for the first time in my life, I feel home.