I thought that having everything we needed crammed into our Subaru was a challenge. Even after almost a year of life on the road, we were still fine-tuning how to pack the car, still learning tips and tricks for nomad life. But over the last month and a half, we lived nearly entirely out of one suitcase.
Now that I have finally unpacked that bag, I can take a deep exhale and look back at what I learned from six weeks of mayhem. And today I’m sharing the biggest lesson I’m taking with me as this chapter closes.
On March 19 we arrived in Denver, Colorado. Two days later we packed a bag and flew to Bend, OR for a tasting for our wedding. Days after returning to Denver, we packed another bag for Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
On the coattails of that visit, I headed down to Tulum, Mexico to lead a yoga retreat and ended my stay with a trip to Holbox Island (more on that below). As soon as I got back to Denver, we made the trek through a whiteout blizzard up to Boise, Idaho. Since we were only in Boise for a week, again, we kept things minimal and only worked with a couple suitcases.
From Boise, we drove back to Bend and stayed at a friend’s house, a different Airbnb, and then, finally, an apartment.
I want to go to bed just playing all that back in my head.
Luckily, amidst all of that travel was the Tulum retreat, a week filled with community and connection that we all needed, we just didn’t know how much. I took so much away from my time among the ten incredible women on the trip, surrounded by the village that made the whole experience possible (big shouts to Diana, Ursula, an incredible team of chefs, and villa management who I’m lucky enough to call my friends, for making this week what it was).
This trip was smack dab in the middle of all of the madness mentioned above. I arrived in Cancun, a ball of anxiety from all that had been on my plate, what the week was going to hold, and what was waiting for me as soon as I got back. But over the course of those days with this group of people, something in me shifted. I boarded the plane back to Denver remembering what is important; remembering why I do what I do. And that is a gift I never dreamed of receiving, especially amidst such a hectic time.
Who knew that total peace and calm could be found at the bottom of a packed-to-the-brim suitcase?
The lesson I took home with me – the words that came through overwhelmingly clearly over top of the chaos and spin of life right now – is that we need each other.
We don’t have to go at it alone. In fact, we can’t. Every night of the retreat I thought about how grateful I was that each individual there took care of every other individual who was there.
When someone was standing in just the right light, someone else noticed and grabbed their phone to snap a photo just saying, “I just had to get that shot for you!”
When we left the villa on excursions, everyone found a buddy and made sure no one was left alone.
Nightly, everyone switched up the seats to sit with someone new.
Surface level conversations were left back in the states and we all got to know each other for who we are. I may have been the host, but I felt supported and held by this group just as solidly as I aimed to do for them.
Especially now, in a time when what we see in the news and what we see from our policymakers feels so at odds with the idea of taking care of one another, I needed to be reminded that there is so much we can influence when it comes to the people we are around. How we show up has a ripple effect.
I can’t always sense it when I’m teaching virtually and living on the road (quite literally out of a suitcase for the last six weeks), which is why this particular retreat experience felt so big and so important to me.
What we do matters. How we talk to each other matters. How we follow up with each other and ask, “how are you?” matters. Making eye contact matters. Giving each other the benefit of the doubt matters. Holding space to just let others feel what they need to feel matters. Being vulnerable to pave the way for others to feel safe to do so, too, matters.
I’m writing because I’m processing this all myself. I don’t know what the future will hold, and I don’t always know how (or if) I’m making a positive impact in the world through what I do. At times, I feel it’s all too easy to feel small and overwhelmed by this unknown, but I do know one thing: no action we take is small. It has a ripple effect. Even through the simplest of smiles, “how are you’s?”, or checking on the person pulling up the rear of the group, it matters. It can make all the difference in the world.
Tulum crew, thank you for all that you left me with, well beyond our week together. Experiences like this make me know it’s all worth it, and I can’t thank you enough.
And if you’re interested in getting on the waitlist for the next retreat (location to be announced!) send me an email at maggie[at]maggieumberger.com.