Dear friends,

It’s my 8th day in the DR. I’m alive, well and adjusting to island life. And, on Saturday, I even finally began to write my memoir.

It’s taken the better part of a week to overcome my initial panic (yes, panic) – due to the shock and stress setting in from the radical shifts I’ve undergone recently, from working basically nonstop for most of 2020, 2021 and 2022, getting rid of most my stuff, flipping my finances around, leaving my apartment behind, an intense 2.5 months time living with friends/family to winding up smack dab in the center of a foreign city, not knowing anyone/anything, speaking Spanish all the time and being alone without direction most of the time (not to mention the ridiculously turbulent flight to get here)… and, then finally, to working through much of the internal “resistance” (of the nature that Steven Pressfield discusses in “The War of Art”) in order to start to feel at peace and “aligned” enough to begin my projects and figure out the lay of the land in this city. (If you felt overwhelmed by reading this paragraph, you’re beginning to understand the overwhelm I’ve been feeling and climbing my way out of…)

To all those who think what I am doing is a “vacation”… It’s not.

I consider myself “on sabbatical” for now – though I’m not a professor or being paid for this “time off”. My project is to reengineer my lifestyle and integrate the “travel” version of myself with the “day to day/productive” version of myself. To find a new way to live and feel fulfilled, to feel more at peace and free, and less stress and pressure. I’m not running away. I don’t want to “never work again” – but I do want to find a different way to live. A better way for myself. Instead of working feverishly to the point of burnout – simply because it seems like that’s what I’m supposed to do to be a good person or just to “make ends meet”. I’m grateful that I’ve had the support and opportunities, plus work ethic, to get myself to this place. 

I still have goals and projects (like writing my book, working on my art, and also doing some revenue generating projects, as well as volunteer or benevolent projects), but I will also be exploring new places, cultures, experiences, languages, cuisine and people at the same time.

To those who ask when I’ll be “coming back,” I have no set date to return to the States, though, surely I will at some point(s) – this is where my family and many of my friends are. (Though I welcome them to visit me in other foreign places. šŸ˜‰ ) I no longer have my own apartment/home in the states; for more than 2 months, I’ve been “on the road” and learning to embrace the uncertainty of the lack of “a long-term plan”, along with the anxiety that others project and I feel when I announce this.

To those who wonder where I’ll be off to next and when… I don’t know. QuĆ© sera, sera. I’m following my intuition – and occasionally more pragmatic things like flight schedules, available/cost-effective lodging, expired lodging bookings, weather, etc. Right now, I’m quite enjoying Puerto Plata.

It’s scary to not know the future, but I’m learning to have faith and discover the mysteries of my life as they come, because the truth is, that even when we think we know what the future holds in store for us, or how secure we think things are… It’s all an illusion.

We never truly know what will happen, no matter how much we might think we do, or how much we plan, and how hard we work to create”security” for ourselves. Things can (and do) change unexpectedly overnight – as they did with the start of the pandemic, and even, sometimes, minute to minute and we must adapt.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last few years … It is that even though I often feel anxiety about my choices and my future, the future hasn’t been written yet and the vision that’s bringing me anxiety is far away… So all those thoughts are just that – negative fantasies (illusions). They are not real. They are just as “not real” as the idea of future security.

Certainly the physical feelings that go along with the negative fantasies are real, in that moment, but all I need is some time to remind myself that I AM OK, I AM SAFE – in THIS moment, and the things I am worrying about, are not real – right NOW.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel relief. Full stop.

And then – remember all the times that I have carried myself through challenges, overcome hardships – and how far I have come!

And then, have a little (or a lot) of gratitude for the fact that I can rely on myself. For the fortunes that have been blessed upon me. And for the people that I can ask for help, so that I know, that truly, I will be fine even if the negative fantasies come true. But, probably, they won’t.

With Love,

Caylena

PS

Here are some pictures (mix of cell phone snaps and camera shots) to tide you over until my next update…..