Sometimes you try the best you can to carry out plans. Sometimes those plans fall through. Like, really, really, fall through. It's times like these you have to take a step back and try to remember the big picture, then adjust your sails accordingly.
It has been a week since Hurricane Maria devastated the island we had all the plans to move to. I still haven't heard from my friends, there is no power on the island, and officials are asking that volunteers do not come to help, as there are so few resources already. We were supposed to leave tomorrow. It is a deep reminder that we can pretend we are smart humans who think we have outsmarted the laws of physics, but at the end of the day, Mother Nature can drop us to our knees with a flick of her wrist.
Let's start from the first hurricane scare. Irma was a legit storm - don't get me wrong. But she just grazed Puerto Rico. There were power outages, fallen trees, and the shops needed repainting and a little TLC, but it was manageable. Chris and I have wanted to be involved in the community since we made the decision to move. While we thought it would look more like weekly run clubs, yoga, and juices, we were more than fine helping people clean up the island. We breathed a sigh of relief - the island was still livable.
Then we heard about Maria. From the very beginning I felt like this one was different. I am no stranger to skepticism of the national news, especially in regards to sensationalism with weather. But I could tell this was not being blown out of proportion. This thing was real, and it was not going to be pretty. Still, Chris and I resigned ourselves to the fact that if we had to put our plans on hold in order to help the island pick up the pieces, we would.
Even with the dark feelings I had, I still underestimated the storm. Record breaking flood levels, an entire island without power, no communication, cancelled flights. We couldn't get there to help even if we tried. And if we did, we wouldn't be able to get ahold of anyone. So, I had to re prioritize. What was the purpose of us wanting to move in the first place? Take it from the top Yur. the idea of this life change was not so much the location (although I will still say I felt drawn to that specific island) it was to create space. Space to live our days how we choose, space to spend our money how we choose, space to try something new and fail and get back up and try it a different way. It didn't have to be Puerto Rico - it clearly couldn't be.
So I began hammering away, trying to find a back up plan. I felt like I was cheating on a lover I had promised to come back to. But I honestly had no choice. We just weren't staying in Denver - I was willing to change plans, but I was not willing to give up on them completely. So ensued the search.
The new spot had to meet a number of requirements:
- It had to be cheap: One of our main goals was to lower our cost of living. My last day of work was Friday, and I have budgeted my savings around a certain budget - I didn't want to go above that even if we could. This eliminated a lot of areas since we had planned on it being so low in Puerto Rico.
- It had to be a beach: My budding business is based on beach yoga. Sure I plan on taking it other places, but its roots begin in the beach. I planned too much in regards to this aspect to give it up so easily.
- It had to be travel-pet friendly: Have you ever looked into bringing pets outside of US territories? It's a bitch. (Yes, that was on purpose...) Requirements can range from a plethora of shots, 30 day waiting periods, and even quarantines. We just don't have that kind of time.
As you can see from this list, my search became frustrating really quickly. Bring the dogs to Canada! Dangit no beach. What about Europe? No beach and I sold all my clothes besides bikinis and yoga shorts. Can't do. Bali? Climate is right, but there is no way in hell they are letting our dogs in. I was starting to freak. But then I stopped, and remembered what happens when you calmly do everything you can, and let the rest unfold.
For some reason I hadn't thought about Mexico. Maybe it was because I was so blinded by the Caribbean or lush tropical landscapes, and deep down I viewed Mexico as too touristy. But somehow, I stumbled across Cozumel.
It's technically in the Caribbean...It has a spot for the tourists to ferry over, but the rest of the island is very underdeveloped...The Airbnb's are cheap, and they offer discounts for monthly stays...People rave about the fresh produce and fish...We could hop on over to Playa Del Carmen and Tulum whenever we wanted...And all the dogs need is an additional shot and a couple extra forms 15 to 10 days before arrival. Holy shit I think I found a winner!
I went on to find out the hiking is great, the Scuba is even greater (it's my blog and I want to use "greater"...) and the community is said to be safe and extremely family oriented. With the other tourist hot spots being so close, I could definitely get the yoga out there more than I could have on a more isolated island, and we have a whole month to figure it out. If we want to stay we can stay. If we want to head over to Puerto Rico as planned we can. It really seems like the perfect spot to settle in until we can re evaluate our original plans.
So instead of Puerto Rico on September 26th, we are leaving for Cozumel on October 10th. It's not all easy. I have to figure out how I will do business in another country since that wasn't an issue in PR. I still have to finalize the puppies travel plans even though I we had it all dialed in for Puerto Rico, and I am dealing with a lot of guilt for picking another island so soon, while the residents of Puerto Rico still don't have clean water and electricity. If you could send positive vibes to my friends, and prayers that I can eventually reach them, that would be incredibly appreciated.
I did what I could with the cards that were dealt. And that's really all I can do. Please leave comments and well wishes - this last week has been quite the roller coaster, but by God we are still on the tracks...