Operation Exit: Week One – 11 Sept 2016 – 17 Sept 2016
I participated in this writing project my niece Write to Bliss put together. It was called The Love Habit. She ascribed one love habit per day and one could write publicly or in one’s journal. I wanted to hold myself accountable so I decided to write publicly on Instagram. At the end of the 21 days (It took me a little longer than 21 days because I didn’t always do it everyday but I picked up where I last eft off) I realized I needed to make a change. I am moving to another country. I set my exit date two years from 10 September 2016.
You know that life is meant for living and that you have only one life to live. Show the world you aim to make it count. You can only die once. Stop living in fear. This is my new life motto. Well, it has always been but now I’m actually going to put it into practice. I will be making weekly updates on how and what I’m doing to get to my goal. Follow me why don’t you? Thanks.
1. Live in the moment instead of always wishing for something else.
2. Concentrate on what you want Instead of constantly pointing out what you don’t want.
3. Don’t be overly concerned about what others are doing.
It was supposed to be an epic trip to three different countries. I intended to visit Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. I never left Kenya. In fact I didn’t even explore all of Kenya. However, it was a fantastic trip.
I rented an apartment in Diani Beach and I slowed down.
I spent an inordinate about of time at the beach.
I sat in restaurants talking to locals and sometimes older European tourist for hours. I lazed around my apartment/pool reading novels.
I went on safaris and visited villages.
I attended a wedding.
I ate fish directly from the ocean (never frozen.)
I took walks on dirt roads.
I touched the earth.
I Drank fresh mango and passion fruit juice almost daily. I ate with my hands.
There were times when I felt like people were waiting to hear about my epic adventure, and not having traversed East Africa as I said I was going to I may have disappointed them. Well there it is; I stayed in Kenya for the entire two months and I had a wonderful time.
I’ve been taking some more steps towards my goal in becoming a minimalist. It’s taking me years but it’s my journey and I’m doing it at the pace that works for me. Anyway, I’m clearing out the garage. Some of these boxes have been sealed since 2009. It’s been interesting seeing certain things and wondering “why did I ever waste my money on this?” Other things have brought me joy, and brought on waves of nostalgia. It’s amazing, the things which seem to bring me joy are the little things. Pictures of family and friends, cards and letters from family and friends, and other little momentous. On the surface they have no monetary value but scream love and caring.
I found a piece of paper on which I wrote an excerpt from a book I read back in 1992. It must have touched something in me then for me to have taken the time to write it down and annotate the date that I copied it. I was touched deeply reading it again and realized what it says still applies today.
Excerpt from The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham (copyright 1919)
(Each one of us is alone in the World. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.
We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house.)
I can’t say I remember exactly what caused to want to remember this. What I can say right now, today, after reading it again is that it made me think of current social media. We are all out here “side by side but not together.” We say a lot but do we understand each other? Are we “unable to know our fellows?” and do we remain “unknown by them?” I know my “brain is seething with ideas.” I keep ninety-nine point nine percent of my ideas /thoughts to myself because I know it’s not possible to have discussions just for the sake of having a discussion. In my experience it seems everyone has an agenda or thinks everyone else has an agenda. Therefore, because of this we hide from each other and “are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual.”
“We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them.” However I’m going to speak on one of the pleasures of my heart. I want to be able to sit around (with other people) in a room with big comfortable furniture. Surrounded by books, the smell of incense burning, eating pound cake and finger sandwiches, and drinking wine and coffee. Where no one has a chip on their shoulders and we talk about everything and nothing because no one has anything to prove to each other or the world. Instead of being “lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.” We can lay our souls bare without fear of judgment and really get to know each.
My Trip to Kenya Part 3
Picking up where I left off from part 2.
Today (8 June 2015) is the last day in Kenya for my friend and her daughter. We took a Mombassa City tour and got some shopping in. Had lunch and it was time to head to the airport to drop them off for their return trip to the US of A. It was sad to see them leave. I was now on my own for the next seven days.
The following day I just loughed at the pool and read for the most part. The day after that I went to the supermarket and purchased some groceries. I had lunch while I was out and took advantage of the free wifi at the mall to make a few phone calls on WhatsApp to family and friends. The next few days I borrowed two books from reception and just relaxed at the resort. I had the pool all to myself since it was low season and I think only four of the units were occupied.
on 12 June 2015 I departed for the South Coast of Mombassa and my last four days in Kenya. The resort was beautiful even though I had to run away from monkeys on a few occasions to get to my room. I whiled away my days at the resort sunbathing, eating, drinking, reading etc., and spent my evenings/nights with some locals exploring the local area and nightlife. All in all it was a fantastic trip and I hope to visit again. Hopefully do a lot more site seeing next time.
View from across the water at the ferry port in Regla
It is perfectly legal for Americans to travel to Cuba without applying for permission in advance as long as your trip falls within one of the 12 allowable reasons. If you are doing a self guided trip it may be more economical to travel through another country. Of all the Lonely Planet guides I have referenced for any of my travels the one on Cuba has been the most valuable. I would recommend obtaining a Cuba edition and reading through it during planning and well in advance of your trip. It outlines everything (visa requirement, money, etc). If however you have questions about my personal experience please feel free to ask.
San Francisco de AsisAs of this writing your American phone, iPad etc., will not work in Cuba even if you would be willing to pay roaming charges. It will say “no service” the entire time you are there unless you are connected to wi-fi and wi-fi is not readily available. I was fine other than the one hour of wi-fi time I purchased to let my family and friends know that I was alright I did without internet. I did all of my research prior to arrival and printed out whatever I thought I’d need. If you are someone who absolutely needs to be constantly digitally connected you may have a problem.
Cash is King. Your US credit card/debit card will not work in Cuba and if you exchange USD for Cuban currency you will pay a 10% penalty. At the time I was there the going rate for the USD was .96 cents to one CUC with the additional penalty it worked out to about .87 cents rounded up. I brought GBPs and Euros I had from some of my other travels and a non US debit card for use at the ATM. Plan carefully if you don’t want to run out of money because you’ll have to bring all the cash you think you’ll need with you. Although I did see a Western Union I would not plan on using it. Some people chose to purchase Canadians currency prior to going to Cuba instead of having to exchange US dollars.
There are tourists from all over the world in cuba and they do not have some of the limitations (most importantly access to their money) that US travelers have there.
Most everyone is friendly just be aware that the hustle is real. Cuba is a safe country and though you will probably not get mugged you should definitely look out for smooth talkers who want to separate you from your money (the technique is not as abrasive as I’ve encountered in other countries but it’s there) pay attention, you’ll recognize it. I almost wished I had visited prior to the internet age. I didn’t see any homeless people. Everyone seems to want more material things. In my opinion sometimes more is just more and not always better. (Maybe I think that because I’m working my way towards minimalism). But what do I know? I am just a visitor, I do not live there year round.
Plan wisely (have a plan but be flexible), bring a small folding umbrella (for the sudden showers). Please bring your sunscreen and walking shoes and enjoy your trip. Cuba is a beautiful country.