Doing the Work: Rituals and Routines While Traveling

Life really has opened up and shown me some things since we decided to stay in Benicassim.

You wouldn’t believe how high on everything I was coming down from Rototom. I mean granted, I was really exhausted from living in that oddly feeling-like-a-third-world-happy-hippy-community. Days of pushing to keep dancing, keep connecting, and hoping to get winks even though the earth was vibrating with dub music for 18 hours a day, in a tent that was really fighting to have space of its own. Thank goodness I made special friends with my Romanian neighbors!

I was so excited about being with all my new friends, traveling in the Caravan to Rototom with the homies from Brasil, Germany, and Chile, I had no sense of time truly. It’s also the first time mijo and I had the opportunity to have independence from each other.

Even in the midst of all the stimulation of a music festival, I knew I needed to still get my yoga on everyday and eat green food and vegetables. All of my friends knew this too and we continued on cooking, journaling, and breathing deeply.

Meals at the Caravan
Cooking it up in the mobile kitchen–family style!

I kind of thought this was just going to keep going and going. At least, I was ready for it to keep going and going. All the good food, the camaraderie, the community, the creation, the everything. I was ready to go anywhere, as long as I had these wonderful people with me. They make me feel like everything is possible. The wanderlust got in me and took over any sense of rationalization.

But then it was over, and all the new, amazing, will-you-ever-see-them-again fellow travelers were gone–each one on to new places–the ending of their journey–and the beginning of a different one for all of us.

Bye, bye Rototom and Caravan of Amazing Beings from all over the world.

Back to me and mijo. In our own private rooms in the beautiful villa. Open space. Quiet. Walking, biking, dancing, swimming in the ocean, singing, writing, practicing Spanish, practicing cooking healthy food every single day for three weeks straight.

I realize that a big part of the stopping was so that we could integrate everything we had learned already from all the travels up and down in Spain. We’d been a lot of places fast, picked up a lot of information, tools, and resources. We need time to practice them and become one with them.

Everyday, I get up make cacao (yes, keh-kaaaaooo) that I scored from Amoraleza and/or coffee which I made with the ‘ol stovetop espresso maker. Soaking my chia as I prepared my hot beverage of choice, getting my notebook, oracle cards, yoga mat, and notes from my Spanish tutor in Granada.

Every morning, I do these things. Not always in the same order, but I realized that I totally and completely need rituals while I’m traveling. This is what makes any place feel like home. That and my traveling altar!

It’s funny, when I left Denver, I was absolutely certain I’d be able to stand up without any of these self-care rituals I’d adopted through the years. The ones I needed for my incredibly intense and stressful life of being a teacher: holding space for nearly 200 students everyday, producing shows, and trying to meet all the standards of the district + life.

Certainly, the travel would be enough, I wouldn’t need to do all those things I did back home to be “ok.”

But here’s the thing, even though I cleared the heck out of myself with that Ayahuasca journey and started eating better, I still got things I’m working through. Some fears remain everyday, but they are way less disturbing now and I know this is because I do the rituals.

Rituals that I’ve incorporated into my (nearly) everyday:

  1. Chia/oat breakfast (tahini + fruits –have I mentioned that I’m totally obsessed with figs?!)
  2. Meditation + Yoga
  3. Journaling
  4. Spanish practice (sometimes with notes, sometimes with Duolingo, and sometimes with real live people, imagine that!)
  5. Whole foods (not the corporate chain, but foods that have not been processed) dinners at sunset with mijo.

I’m so grateful for this time to stop. To smell, breathe, feel, and practice. It has often felt like I’m not doing anything. But, I know this isn’t true. I am doing the work.

This living a good life and staying in the light takes quite a bit of routine and practice. Funny for someone who struggled with routines and plans for so long. Funny, for this one who wanted to keep going and going.

Happily, for this one, my son is here. And he knew we needed to slow down, a moment to catch up with ourselves and do something with all that energy we’ve taken in so far. The coolest thing is that without me nagging or even suggesting things, mijo has grasped his own routines and rituals here.

It’s amazing that we collaborate on shopping for food with our “individual” budgets, make food together and honestly I’m watching him have the childhood I always wanted him to have. A simple life, in the “country,” out for the day, and home by sunset. It’s brilliant.

And then comes the nighttime. This is when his rituals seem to begin or should I say thrive. Every night, as I’m lulling myself to sleep, I start to hear activity in the room next to me. It’s him. He’s singing. He’s making beats. He’s recording in tones that I’ve never heard him use before. He’s making an album. He’s making a freaking album! 

And then the morning comes. He is not up as early as I am of course. But eventually he is up and he’s eating the chia or the oats.

He looks so healthy. God, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him this way. His eyes are so clear and there’s not one thing foggy about him.

It’s fucking beautiful and almost feels unbelievable.When you think about our past life, so many things were so dark, he hid so much, lied so much, was intoxicated so much.

But now, someone new is emerging. He eats his healthy food, craves it in fact, has a physical practice of his own, apparently, that I can’t see because he does it “in my room,” but I have seen hints of it on some mornings. He will roll out the yoga mat and begin doing some kind of dramatic military type routine and I think that’s so freaking awesome. Because this is one of my unschooling goals for him –having a physical practice/be embodied.

He’s doing it.

I’m doing it.

We are doing the work.

And oh my god, we are such better people for it now. Apparently, we just needed to be in one place for a spell to integrate all of the wonder from the amazing travels and people we’ve met along the way so far.

I think it was important we went to Amoraleza, that we expanded more in Granada, and found our way back to friends at Rototom, and now we just have this elegantly beautiful time to process and practice. And apparently, we needed it way more than I ever could have imagined.

Thank you Universe for the voice of my son and also sending the messages to slow down and practice.


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