I was living in Boston and had been there for over 25 years. I loved it! I loved being near long time friends, teaching the Deaf, the Red Sox and Fenway Park, Walden Pond, and having access to the coast, to Ogunquit, Maine - a favorite spot. There was so much about the city that I loved and all of the memories that I had since I had come to Boston right outside of college. So, why did I leave? Burnout. I couldn't do one more thing the same. I couldn't do the same restaurants, the same stores, the same routine of working too much and traveling to my classroom and teaching the same ole same ole. I couldn't deal with the educational system and all that it had become. Conversations with friends had become redundant and even though I started to step out and do different things like African drumming and dancing, it just wasn't enough. I just couldn't do one more thing the same. Burnout.
The year before my actual departure, I realized that I was about to pay off my debts. I could actually leave even though financially it would be a risk. But, I would be free of debt. And, the Red Sox had won the World Series (2004)...I know that sounds ridiculous but I was a fanatic at the time and it was so good to be in the city when they finally won. I was ready. I could imagine making a change that I had been resistant to for so long...out of fear maybe or just not being ready to leave. All I know is that things started to shift and I started to make plans.
I began to tell people of my plans to make a change, those who I knew would be supportive. My support system included my friends and a spiritual mentor who had been encouraging me to leave a job that had been draining me for several years now, and, I spoke with my supervisor on how to take a leave of absence. I knew that I probably would never return but this felt like a safe way to do it...just in case. If I had had more courage, I would have just left, yet this was the best that I could do.
It was months of planning, packing and purging. I was so drained during those last days mainly because I did it mostly by myself. And, maybe there was a lesson in there for me. I rarely had to ask for help and it was a challenge for me. And, although I did receive some from family and friends and unexpected help from someone whom I hardly knew, I did it largely on my own. But, this lesson is a constant in my life and always has been..to ask for what I need and to ask for help. It is not a sign of vulnerability or weakness. It is just a need for help.
I still remember the day that I announced to my family that I was heading to Hawaii. We were all sitting around the dinner table for a holiday. I was contemplating on how to broach the topic since I knew it was going to be a shocker. As I asked for help (internally), my brother-in-law actually started to discuss a previous trip to Hawaii. I was jumping for joy inside for this opening. I then said, "Speaking of Hawaii, I am going." Cheers, happiness, "That's great! When? For how long?" Then the mood changed. My answers were vague. 'I'm not sure' didn't go over too well when they were thinking I was going for a vacation. "Umm, maybe for 6 months or 9...I am not sure."
I could feel the underlying emotions from my family and I knew that they were struggling to understand me, but this had already become the norm. I am an enigma to them. I live and think differently than how we were raised and I could just feel the mixed emotions vibrating. I had to stay strong, for my own personal growth. I had to remember that my life had just as much value and I had a right to something outside of the box.
I explained that I was taking a leave of absence and wanted to do some exploration, and, that I was going to do work exchanges in Hawaii for at least 6 months, then...?? I had a dream of traveling lightly and being a nomad. I wanted to live outside of the traditional paradigm. I wanted to jump, leap, surrender and come to know that I would always be taken care of no matter where I was. And, mostly, I wanted to be found...to come home - to myself, to living passionately...to live again as I hadn't been living for so long.
This is how I started to live as a nomad.