Random reflections of an analog nomad

As I’ve been enjoying the retired life of sleeping, eating, and game shows with my grandpa in Los Angeles (he’s definitely got me beat on sleeping), I’ve had time to reflect on home, social media, and money…life’s simple topics! 🙂

Friends are the family you choose!

Home away from home

When you don’t really have a home (ok, Hawaii will always be my “home”) and you never spend more than a couple months in any one place, you get good at making wherever you are feel like home. Out of all the places I’ve been in the past two years, I keep coming back to Playa, my home outside of Hawaii. Including my first visit in October 2015, I’ve been in Playa six times!  When people ask if I’m in Playa on vacation, I answer with smug hesitation: “I’m something between living here and on vacation, because I’m a nomad.” “Like a digital nomad?” “No, just an analog nomad.”

It got me thinking about what makes somewhere feel like home?

  1. Friends: first and foremost! Friends are the family you choose, and I’ve built a really strong, supportive family here in Playa, starting with Himilce, my soul sister from that fateful 10-day silent vipassana meditation two years ago. She is the reason I ended up in Playa.  In September 2015, I went to visit Himilce in her hometown, San Luis Potosi, and when she subsequently moved to Playa, I came along since I didn’t have anything better to do. I then became really close to her Mexican roommates, who even threw me a quinceañera, because of course, you only turn 15 twice! Then I have Santosha Club, my yoga teacher training family; Supper Club (a group of expats that meet for dinner at a different local restaurant every Thursday and for other American traditions like watching the Super Bowl with paella); a sub-group of expat girls that color mandalas, do face masks, and dance around on the regular; my scuba friends who introduced to me to getting schwifty with Rick and Morty (I LIKE WHAT YOU GOOOOOT!!!!). It was beautiful when my different groups came together to watch my first DJ set and meet each other! I love it when worlds collide. You know you have friends when you can support them in their endeavors and they come out and support yours! LOVE!

    One of the ideas I had for girls night was to write ourselves letters to be read in 6-12 months, something I have done in Tony Robbins and hippie festivals. Here is a postcard I waterpainted at a hipipie festival last summer

    Wow, I sound pretty hippie, even to me!

    Going away brunch for Elia on her way to LA!

    Keri and I horsing around at Mixelandia!

    Me with the crew at Mixelandia, Osmar and Marian

  2. Bilingualism (I had to look up the noun form of bilingual…apparently, bilinguality and bilingualness are #alternativewords): the first thing I learn in another language is how to swear. In that sense, I had to learn a whole new language when I came to Mexico. No mames, wey! Chinga a tu madre! Pinche cabrón! My true test of bilingual mastery is not using the subjunctive properly (if so, even Mexicans can’t speak Spanish), but being able to choose the language that has the best swear word for the occasion!
  3. Acculturation: happens when you adopt cultural pet peeves. For example, I’ve now embraced Mexicans’ “fluidity” with time when before it would aggravate me to no end (literally) when people would arrive super late or not at all. Now, when I make plans, I at least know what I will likely NOT be doing, at least not in the agreed upon form or time period.  Also, Mexico is super loud…people laughing, loud music, dogs barking, rumbling trucks…gotta embrace it (with ear plugs)!

    Also awesome when you arrive in Playa to crash at your friends’ place and there’s a taco barbecue going on in the courtyard! Gotta love the random mid-week Mexican party!

  4. Local faves: You start to have your go-to places–grocery  stores (Walmart or Mega), dive shops (Diversity Diving), yoga studios (Kava Kasa or Yogaloft), and restaurants for fried fish (El Pirata), brunch (Indigo, La Cueva del Chango), healthy food (Bionatural), Italian (La Famiglia, La Piola), sushi (well, at least something remotely Asian…). You also start taking the local version of American brands like Redoxon Plus (Mexican Zicam).

    Kaxapa, Venezuelan dish…an aggressive choice following three days of food poisoning

    La Piola veggie pizza with fresh mozzarella!

    Cool hippie art at Chou Chou Cafe

  5. Playing tourist: at local pricing with awesome discounts from friends and friends of friends

    Free day pass at all-inclusive Secrets Akumal for sitting through a two-hour breakfast presentation. I ended up paying for it in the end, because I got food poisoning – too aggressive with the salmon sashimi at the buffet – and we lost our drivers licenses…

    Off-roading with an Asian woman driver; that is to say, at a very reasonable and safe speed…

    Ok, these photos of BPM don’t really fit in, because I paid full-price but was still fun to check out!

  6. Facebook lists: You join a bunch of local Facebook lists for expats, locals, digital nomads, etc.
  7. Local looks: You start to dress in the local way—slippers all the time, sporting a solid base tan dotted with pink and brown spots: the darker it is, the older the mosquito bite!

Sharing your life

I rarely post on Facebook (maybe a few times a year), and I’ve already posted 3 times this year (sharks, sharks, and DJing). I feel ambivalent and don’t know if it’s good or bad…is it celebrating and sharing your life with others OR contributing to societal FOMO? Getting support from your loved ones (and random acquaintances) OR seeking external validation to enjoy life?

For me, it’s a slippery slope. About 4 years ago, I angrily decided to stop posting on Facebook (fine if others tagged me though!) and stop reading my feed, which always gave me intense FOMO. The election lured me back, but now the election is long over, and my liberal elite feed often leaves me with incredulous shock and fear (in addition to FOMO for babies and their adorable monthly photos). Then, I started to post shark photos and exciting life accomplishments like doing my first DJ set and got a rush reading comments and seeing who liked it!

I love writing this blog, but sometimes it feels like a slightly less private journal. The taste of reaching so many more people has been so alluring, and everyone else is doing it, so…is it wrong to want to share with more people or will it change my motivation from intrinsic to extrinsic (the whole reason I stopped posting to FB in the first place)? What has changed? Am I now grounded enough in loving myself unconditionally to share on Facebook without becoming addicted to the mini-hits of validation with each new like/love or comment? I don’t know…


As always, my relationship with money and prestige continues to be a rocky one. I feel fortunate to have the money and time to travel and focus on personal development. I worked hard to get to this point but also recognize I was born into opportunity with its privileges and challenges. I sometimes have a mix of shame and yearning for money, not out of greed but out of insecurity. I strive to see money just as currency, a means to an end to do what I want/need to do in life, but sometimes I feel like I need to make money to feel worthiness, social acceptance, and prestige. I’m definitely not there yet, and it will continue to be an important learning ground for me…


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