Posted by: Shanie Matthews | June 16, 2010

Living Abroad and Broadly Living

It is a bit difficult for me to believe.

My time of living in Patagonia is quickly coming to an end. In fact, my three years of living in this gorgeous place has dwindled to just a week.

So, why am I leaving? That’s a good question that I am tending to ask myself more and more as the days slide by like sands through the hourglass.

It’s true that my five years in Argentina are not quite over, as we will be moving into a three month skiing sabbatical at Las Leñas (a legitimate circle as that is where our South American journey began). But in questioning my decision to leave Patagonia, I guess I have realized that it comes down to the entire reason that I created this blog in the first place.

Happiness is not a stagnate thing…it is a path of actualization.

Happiness is something that we must bring into our lives, and sometimes doing an act that is difficult increases the joy more than could have been imagined…

Despite thoroughly enjoying our awe-inspiring view that has been a source of guidance in my writing. Despite the stellar hiking through forests enhanced with 300-year-old Lenga trees and orange-barked Arrayanes (Disney’s inspiration for the trees in Bambi). Despite the chance to be within feet of the mighty ten-foot-wing-spanned condor as it soars with the Patagonian thermals. Despite the absolute pleasure that I derived from watching my canine son, Bergen, thoroughly enjoy these lush, old growth forests…when Bergen passed on, I — and we as a family — knew that it was time to step forward into the next stage of life. The succeeding chapter, per say.

My path that involved living abroad is now transitioning into one of “broadly living”.

This sendero (the word for trail in Spanish) of life, filled with banked corners, tacky dirt, and pot holes, is now softly whispering wise words…be proud of myself for being open to a way of living that is so different than the one that I was born into. Now take these lessons that these wonderful people have taught me.  Take them with me wherever I go. Help sew the positive aspects of cultures together, so that we all understand we must respect our earth and each other. Help spread the message that we are in this thing called life together.

So, I move forward. Not only have I organized and lovingly filled cardboard boxes filled with foreign artifacts that will be with me forever. I have also stored those treasured moments of personal expansion…like lessons to really take my time, don’t rush, be patient…a vital lesson…or as the saying goes…a true virtue.

Or that a kiss on the cheek hello is much more warmhearted and embracing than a hand shake…a greeting that the world as a whole should adopt.

Or that material possessions are nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have a scratched up car, or a beat up house, or minimal access to new clothes. None of that is important. What is important is being true to yourself and those that you love.

And I guess that is what I am doing. I am being true to myself. I am taking my own winding path in life. It is now taking me far, far away from the home that I created for the last 5 years. But this place will always stay in my heart. I promise to spread the messages that this amazing country and people have taught me.

Thank you Argentina! You have made me a better person.


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