If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Henry David Thoreau
To say I left my job over too much time meditating on words like these would be an exaggeration. There were other things too; staggering student loans, a need to go home, and the urge to see more of a country that I’ve experienced mostly through the windows of an office these past 14 months. The option to stay was presented and I even extended my contract, working several weeks more to finish projects and leave on good terms, but in the end I made the decision to leave my position as the marketing manager at Outward Bound Costa Rica.
I often joke that being raised with parents who constantly butted heads on what a fulfilling professional work life looks like – based on money or happiness – has left me walking a line somewhere in between. I tend to find jobs that make just enough money to be considered a career-path, but enough fun to stick around for. Outward Bound fit this bill perfectly, and for the past 14 months I have learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I learned how to deal with the drama of living in an isolated place, how to rise above conflict, and also how easy it is to fall into. I learned how to push myself professionally even when no one was looking, but that it’s hard to push myself for other people’s dreams. I learned that the difference in success and failure is so simple that it comes down to small actions that build upon each other, and ultimately I learned that progress is impossible when you’re not working towards a bigger goal. I learned that whitewater isn’t for me, but coral reefs are, and that surfing is a great way to break your nose but it’s worth trying anyways. I learned that people are sometimes more loyal to passion than they are a paycheck, and what it looks like to live a life you are proud of. I learned that humility is as important as humor, and that not all open doors are worth entering. Finally, I learned that when you stop learning, it’s time to move on.
In other words, as a friend recently put it, “it was just time to move on.” After Pablo’s visa was denied, the “Plan B” we had never planned became priority. Sleepless nights with little resolve and the pounding questions revolving around the larger attitude of “what now?” led to more stress, and fewer answers, until a craigslist ad was answered. So, two weeks ago on my last day, Pablo and I packed up house and moved to the beach where he would start his new job. We ended up in a tiny house on the outskirts of one of Costa Rica’s most famous surf beaches and I booked a ticket home – but it has a return flight on the other end. Though I know family and friends are urging me to figure out the next step, I am excited at the uncertainty, and at the chance to ride my bike to the beach, and watch macaws fly overhead. In December I’ll be in Boston, take time for family, and road trip my way back to my old Kentucky home where Christmas cookies and microbreweries will help curb the cravings I’ve had while in Central America. I’ll catch up with friends, focus on writing and freelance work, and to site the quote that started it all, I’ll keep pushing towards my castles in the air. Then, if all goes as planned, 2015 will be the year I can begin to put foundations under them. Until then, I’ll be posting pictures, figuring out how to cook without an oven, and getting to know my new home on the Pacific coast.