That was the question posed by a very good friend of ours, just days before we left to start our Central America exploration. The question surprised me and I did not have a ready answer.
After discussing this between ourselves and other “escapees” that we have met in our travels the answer has to be……… “Whatever I want to do”
So many people are caught up in the everyday routine and find it difficult to think beyond the 40 to 80 hours that they spend working every week, then of course there is the other stuff……. getting to and from work, chauffeuring the kids, picking up groceries, ordering pizza before collapsing exhausted in front of the TV. Does this lifestyle sound familiar to you? If so, pull up a chair, close your eyes and take a moment to contemplate what your life would be without work, the job, the nine to five, what would you do with all those extra hours?
Would you spend more time relaxing with family & friends, take up sports, hobbies, arts, learn a new language, go back to school? Ask any retiree how they fill their days and the usual answer is that they do all the usual things except working, however they take more time to do it…….. Breakfast is a more leisurely affair; they actually read the daily paper, maybe volunteer for their favourite charity? None of the retirees we have spoken to have any problems filling their days, in fact there is a scientific principle at work here Parkinson’s law….. the task expands to fill the time available.
Many of the people we have met who like us, turned their lives upside down, inside out and set out to do something different, are really enjoying having “Time”! Time to cook and eat meals together, go for a swim or a walk on the beach, time to socialise with old and new friends!!!! Time is of the essence here….. it is our choice whether we decide to spend it doing or being. By doing I mean what many people do in the consumer society we left behind, they are doing something all day long, working, driving, worrying, stressing. How much time is left to just be? Some of the “just be” moments for us have been watching dolphins cruise by, pelicans fishing for their supper, howler monkeys eating overhead, snuggled up on a blanket star gazing and just watching fish jump in the mirror stillness of the lagoon.
I posed this question to other people we have met on our travels. To “sit under a coconut tree and watch the fish jump” was one answer, to “spend time visiting with all these interesting folks” was another. The answer that resonated most was this “whatever I want to do”. Are you doing what you want to do? We are.
Our days are varied depending on where we are and if we are travelling. Recent non travel days have usually started with a early morning stroll on the beach, maybe a little line fishing or sitting down to watch the Pelicans fishing offshore. Breakfast may be at home or out with friends, most mornings we go for a swim and/or take the kayak out exploring, lunch is usually a light snack. Early afternoon tends to be when we do our work……..
Yes we do “work” although it does not seem like work because we enjoy doing it. Our work is predominantly this blog, whether writing articles or revamping the site design. Mike is becoming quite adept with the various plug ins available and is currently installing interactive maps (click here). He has also spent a lot of time researching how to expand our audience. This really appeals to his Engineering side, he is also becoming an accomplished writer. As for myself I do most of the research into future destinations, where to stay, how to get there etc. I do most of the bookings or compile a shortlist of options for when we arrive at our destination. I also write a lot of the articles, which Mike augments with his stunning photography. Each post is therefore very much a joint venture.
Some days we go sailing or diving, this usually involves a early start so work may not happen at all that day. Which I have to say is very liberating, we only work when we want to and work is fun! How many people do you know that can honestly say that?
Our day usually wraps up with dinner, either cooked together at home (home is where we happen to be staying that day or week) or at a local restaurant. Some evenings we go out for a stroll, maybe even for a drink and invariably run into old and new friends, who in turn introduce us to their circle of friends. After only a few weeks in one spot it is amazing how many people we know by name.
Travel days are of course different, very often involving early morning starts to catch the local bus, thankfully the ones we have used in Belize are usually on time, not crammed in until you feel like a Sardine (unless of course you are trying to travel the Saturday before Christmas). They are very inexpensive and safe, the conductor will gladly stow large bags either underneath, at the back of the bus or besides the driver and yes it will still be there when you get off.
We are also working on improving our Spanish skills as we are going to be heading south in the next few days. This is probably going to be the chore that is going to be most like work…. We will keep you posted on our progress.
What we will do all day? The answer like so many others who have chosen this lifestyle is of course. Whatever we want!