Lessons will be repeated.

Lessons will be repeated.

You will be presented with lessons…
Lessons are repeated until learned.


Those are Rules #2 and #4 from the book If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules, by Cherie Carter Scott. If you haven’t read the book… you should, it’s brilliant.

I’m currently attending Advanced Letting Go 401, and apparently I haven’t  passed it yet. So my lessons continue.

letLet go, or be dragged. –Zen proverb


Back in April and May of this year, I sold, tossed, or gave away everything I have ever owned. My journals, dating back to high school. My business. The house I grew up in. Pottery my parents made (I am an orphan). Art. Furniture. Clothing. Everything. (Well, Craig salvaged a few things for me and tucked them into his storage unit, bless his heart!)

I left behind my family. Children. Friends. Career. A great boyfriend. A beloved cat. A life.

I thought I had completed my ‘letting go’ lessons as I painfully tore apart my connection to almost every thing and person I ever loved. What else is there to let go of?

Turns out, there is plenty. In Cartagena, we accidentally left behind two Lush massage bars and a shampoo bar (put them in the freezer because they were melting.) It sounds silly, but if you’ve ever loved a Lush product, you know how intense the passion can be. And I realized this will happen every time we move. Losing things is part of moving. And when you own so little, everything matters.

Then there’s Cartagena itself. As we headed to the airport, I thought about the restaurants where we were regulars; the ones where they knew what we wanted to drink before we sat down. It made me sad to realize that I would never visit those places again, never repeat those experiences or smile into those faces and see them smile back with recognition. And people — my roommate Helen, and the members of Helen’s band, who would greet me by name and kiss my cheeks, and Noah, the friendly German bartender. I had to leave behind those tenuous beginnings of friendships to go to a new place.

Craig is back in the states for a few weeks, and I’m having to let go of his companionship again, and learn how to be totally alone. This will happen every few months, and I don’t think it will ever get easier. The longer we’re together, the better we are. We are a team, and alone I’m half a team.

I liked Cartagena, and Bogotá – I can recommend either as a travel destination. But I have fallen in love with Quito, and now that it is almost time to leave,  I am in terrible pain.

I love the people here, the most loving and family-oriented people I’ve ever seen. I love their entrepreneurial spirit, their patience with their children, the way they hold hands or lock arms with their spouses, elderly parents, and teenagers when they walk down the street. I love the mountains and volcanos and rainforests of Ecuador. I love the arts here, the street paintings, the music, the dancing, the weavings. I… well, I don’t love the food. But I love everything else about this place and its people. I could live happily ever after here.

Yesterday, I went to the Plaza Grande for the Sunday festival. When the band started playing the traditional Ecuadorian music, I had a sensation like my heart was being ripped out through my belly. I had to laugh at myself a little, because I’m so obviously NOT Ecuadorian. But I feel such a connection. I walked past the Presidential Palace and felt a little surge of love for President Correa. He’s certainly not perfect, but he is a colorful character who has brought a lot of positive changes for his people. He is a remarkable man, and I kind of love him a little. It’s weird.

This whole nomadic world-travel thing doesn’t work if I don’t pick up and move along every few weeks or months. How many places will I fall in love with and have to leave?

I suppose it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I imagine my heart will be richer for every place and every people I fall in love with.

But damn. This hurts!

Detail of dancer's hairstyle and jewelry
Detail of dancer’s hairstyle and jewelry
Indigenous Quechua girls in traditional clothing getting a shoeshine in the square
Indigenous Kichwa girls in traditional clothing getting a shoeshine in the square
President Correa
Arm in arm pedestrians is the norm here.
Kichwa women at work for the day, with baby.
Everything I love about the Quiteños is in this little boy’s face.



Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • somra elnubia

    August 27, 2013 at 12:51 am

    One day Lauren you will be back in the states, but enjoy yourself while you can. It took a lot of nerve to get rid of everything and move, more courage than I would ever have. Not every one can say they traveled the world. when I get the strength and courage, I will be going to Uganda. If I could be any where, this is where I would be. Take Care Lauren. rest, live and find whatever you are looking for. some time , after being married for 48 years, Grand Kids , One Great, I find myself Looking for Me. If you ever Need anything, I can alway’s do Western Union. Take Care and Enjoooooooooooy


  • Lauren

    August 27, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Somra, you are so sweet. I hope you make it to Uganda soon! It’s something to look for yourself after decades of giving yourself to other people, isn’t it? Good luck, and take care of yourself!

  • Patricia

    August 27, 2013 at 3:53 am

    My husband’s cousin has plans to retire in Ecuador, I always thought he was crazy – he’s Italian & Irish. But after seeing the pictures and hearing of the things you have experienced Lauren, I can now see why he fell in love with it. Who knows, I might even go visit him when and if he does!

  • Cookie Shaw

    August 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Lauren, I envy you in way 🙂 It took a lot of courage to do what you have done …To become your own person and understand the true meaning of self and at the same time embark on such a wonderful journey with the man you love . I am so happy for you and Craig ..I feel like I have traveled the same road you have.. through all pictures and and stories you have written it…keep it up and keep me included…stay true to yourself ..
    Love Ya Cookie.

  • Lauren

    August 27, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks Cookie! It’s a tough journey sometimes, but rewarding.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Lauren

    August 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Ecuador usually makes the top 10 lists of places to retire around the world. Affordable, good healthcare, lots to see and do. I think Cuenca and Guayaquil are both popular with American retirees, and i’ve met people from Germany, the US, and Russia who relocated here 20 or 30 years ago and have been living happily ever after! I hope your husband’s cousin speaks some Spanish, though, I’ve talked to people who are planning to retire here or Costa Rica who haven’t bothered to learn the language… that could be bad!