One of my coping mechanisms in dealing with the stresses of life was to escape, literally escape… Anytime I had time off from work, which is often, for many of you might know I am a schoolteacher, I would get extremely anxious.  What would I do here in New York with all that time?  With one click and a credit card I’d be off, sometimes the next day, to anywhere and usually alone.  It is amazing to me how a person who is so fearful of being alone would travel thousands of miles to a completely different land, knowing no one, usually not speaking the language, sometimes not even having a place to stay until I got there.  Am I a millionaire that I was able to do these things?  No.  I had to and have since acquired severe debt because of it.  Do I regret it?  Financially, yes.  Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, no, absolutely not.  You may ask why.  I cannot explain the euphoria I had from the moment I was on the plane taking off to the very last minute, second of my trips.  It was FREEDOM.  I have not liked all the places I have been to, mostly big citieslike I live in where the people were always in a rush, eyes down as they walked, no smiles, no warmth, no human connection.  The overstimulation of these cities didn’t bring on anxiety attacks but let’s just say they did not compare to the less “industrialized” lands I journeyed to.  It was there that I was most at peace.  By far, my favorite place was Costa Rica.  The moment I landed, and I am not exaggerating, there was complete tranquility.  I had no idea what town I would go to, but there was no fear.  Smiles were overflowing, the warmth was not only in the atmosphere but also in the people.  I found myself in a small town, booked a room and remained there, this is a girl who in New York cries about computer difficulties.  I knew no one, but by the end of my trip I would “know” more people there then I’ve “known” in my entire lifetime here.  From the first day as I walked alone, I felt safe, at home, at peace.  Families woud wave and smile at me, welcome me. Quickly, I made a group of friends, not single travelers like myself, but the natives, who invited me to their homes to eat, having nothing but a bag of rice and some beans to last them for months, invited me to their parties, took me through rides through the jungle on their horses, asking for nothing in return, really nothing.  I rented a room in a small hotel, no hot water, not a problem, imagine if that were to happen to me here,  I sometimes wonder how I would react.  My legs were covered in insect bites, not a problem, the sting of an insect bite could not compare to the pain and emptiness felt everyday at home. No air conditioning, not a problem, just leave the balcony doors opened…  At home it takes me an hour to get through the pain of waking up.  There I would wake at 5 a.m eager to see my friends, who treated me like friends, hugged me, walked arm in arm with me down the street, offered me their last cigarette, though they had so little, so little, they gave so much. ( In New York, I have had to pay people a dollar for an extra cigarette .)  People knew my name, invited me out to dance, gave me FREE surfing lessons.  But, what gave me the greatest pleasure was the horse a man let me borrow while I stayed there… Blanca.  I became addicted to horseback riding, through the sunshine, through torrential rainstorms, on the beach, on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. SERENITY…  I saw a different side of humanity, and I am in no way trying to offend anyone living in an urban area, but these were people who made their homes with their hands, ate the food they themselves grew, worked hard but at the same time LIVED… not survived, LIVED.  I went up to a basket weaver on the beach one day, his eyes attracted me.  I asked him what he did to make money.  He pointed to his basket.  Ignorantly, conditioned by a society that says success=money, I said, “Don’t you want more?”  He looked at me and laughed.  “You people don’t understand,” he answered.  “Look around, look at all I have, all I need is that ocean for my food, a bed to sleep in, and God.”  I can honestly say HE was the happiest person I’d ever met.  I have never seen that glow in another person’s eyes again.  We sat and talked on that beach until the sunset, a complete stranger told me all about his life,  and in New York I can’t even make a friend.  You may be skeptical reading this, thinking well that’s a vacation not reality. But, for the people I met there it is their reality.  Now, am I saying BPD’s cure is to pack up and move to Costa Rica or another third world country?  No, but I do wonder at times how much society plays into the suffering we encounter.   There’s a quote from Shawshank Redemption that always stuck with me…”You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?  They say it has no memory.  That’s where I want to live, a warm place that has no memory.”  That is my dream as well.  Like Andy from the movie, I want to chip away at the wall holding me prisoner.  It may take years, but one day I’ll be in that warm place that has no memory…


6 Responses

  1. Wonderful post.
    The over “developed” world lives too far from the source of life. The hollow soul invents its own gods to replace the sacred land from which it is removed. For some this just doesn’t add up. It is another part of the personal disease.

  2. Wow, I wish I could just pack up and travel like that. You know, sometimes I think about how good I felt traveling to a new area where other people didn’t know me. Personally, I would prefer the quiet, stress-free, country-type areas that were in the middle of nowhere too. I think the hectic life of “the city” causes stress in a lot of people and they would enjoy the serenity of peace and quietness of nature.

  3. I have done that a couple times…. Just spur of the moment, packed up and left for days at a time. It is incredibly liberating.

  4. Thanks for linking to Draw that Beast 🙂 And good luck in your journey. Cheers, Meagan.

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