Recently throughout the world of social media there is a new fantasy, especially these days, where quitting your job and taking life third world is an ideal we first worlders are spreading.
While, I guess I often have a similar dream, but in my fantasy, I still somehow lived my first world life while traversing the globe and visiting the third/second world aspects of my travel from my first world seat.
It is definitely a different thing now that I find myself, living in a rural area where I have to cross a lake, a very deep large lake to get to the nearest town, for basic essentials.
I lived in Chicago for almost 20years, and the Midwest pretty much my entire life. When I involuntarily lost my six-figure job, and was having a hard time finding something equivalent let alone interesting, I decided to make a change. I decided that I would live differently. I didn’t need 300 pairs of shoes and 3 closets full of amazing clothes. I could pair down; it was just me; after all.
Well my new husband, and myself however he had moved from France to the States for me and also, hadn’t found his great calling either.
We began weighing our options one was moving to France and staying with his parents; which would likely lead to divorce or murder. We could stay in Chicago, fight it out, find jobs whether we liked them or not and just work somewhere as we transition.
But transition to what exactly, was the question. Plus, having a job I didn’t like that paid me well, is a far cry from working a likely shitter job and getting paid peanuts and not being able to maintain my lifestyle seemed equally unappealing. There had to be some other way we could make a change and combine other aspects of what I love, shopping, eating, travel and lovely accommodations….
The thing about me is that I have lots of bright ideas, so I excitedly wake up one day and say to my husband, lets be house sitters!
Lets rent our house and travel and stay in other people’s homes for free. Take care of their animals you know, live the dream, in a first world setting. My husband loves me and said sure, babe if you find someone who will let us live in their nice home for free we will do that.
So within 8 weeks of that conversation, after several interviews for house sitting jobs that led to garage sales, trips to the Salvation Army and renting our home. We have found ourselves living in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, Lake Atitlan Guatemala. We are staying in a lovely home with 2 bedrooms and 2 acres of gardens. We spend time tending the garden and I recently having been learning more about flowers and planting. I have made fresh Rosemary oil and a Rosemary wreath that is making the whole house smell amazing. It’s beautiful here. Its been a month and I am feeling mostly mentally renewed.
However, if we survive this place it will be a miracle!
As I am writing this from the veranda over looking the lake I am sure I have contacted Dengue from the thousands of mosquito bites in which I am covered. If ants carry any sort of diseases, I am sure that I have that too. After my husband encountered a tarantula and scorpion in our bedroom, my best suggestion was to catch lizards to put in the house to help support the circle of life… I am pretty sure it would be the method of any exterminator in the area.
My mediation and yoga practice is thoroughly thwarted as any time you sit on the ground or grass for more than 30 seconds ants come to attack you… or try to eat you, I am not sure which, but I need an ant whisper! Basically if you are sensitive to insects and delicious (like myself), you need to be covered at all times despite the warm temperature.
Yes I am living the dream!
The home we are staying in is breathtaking, overlooking Lake Atitlan one of the deepest lakes in the world. There aren’t really any neighbors coming by to borrow sugar. The only person we see regularly is the gardener (I have always wanted a GARDenerrr).
So we have plenty of time to think and renew. Of course if my husband goes Jack Nicholson in the Shining, I am just going to have to take him out cuz I can’t swim and while its lovely here, I am not ready to die! Nor am I suicidal (need to cover all bases).
I guess we aren’t quite as first world in the third world as I had planned. Hand washing clothes (in water we cant drink) and hanging them in the dust to dry seems like an effort in futility. So basically we are just always dirty, with hopes that we don’t smell.
But in the meantime, my aversion to germs is diminishing; fighting a squirrel for tree fruit you need for your green smoothie will do that (yes, I am making green smoothies from grass and tree fruit). Nothing in this place is certified Organic either, so there is also that! I can only suffer so much.
I have planted food that is actually growing! I am cultivating Kale seeds as well. I am doing new things in my third world. I am watching nature’s process is truly spectacular, everything interacting and so many things changing and growing. Unfortunately I still will never appreciate ants or mosquitoes! At least spiders have a damn purpose.
While I sit on the veranda with mosquito candles lit around me in a ritualistic manner. Wearing socks and leggings, my head covered in my sarong much like a burka, I plan to take it all in and find the retreat here in the third world I need to find. (And if not…My BFF in San Diego is already planning a spa day for us in Palm Springs to reintroduce me to the first world properly at the end of this assignment, the countdown begins (5 more months and counting)).