Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thoughts on Leaving and a message to future volunteers

Puppy (Para Comer? No.)

I really don't know what to think about leaving. I really love this place, and I love the people, but there are also many reasons I wish to leave. I'm clearly restless, it's becoming more and more evident to me as I'm lost to my thoughts at night. I find myself getting bored faster with the menial labor on the farm, and wonder how the people who exist eternally in this life can manage it. I guess if I weren't so overstimulated by the different world that is the USA it would be different, but as it is I am super ADHD, and it's starting to hit me. I've read 1400 pages of the books my mother brought me, and am hoping the last long enough for me to exchange them at some hostel before I head to Peru.
Another reason I need to leave is because I am itching for adventure. The lack of amenities here doesn't bother me, it never really has, I can skip showers and running water no problem, but what is starting to eat at my soul is the stillness, the simplicity. This is one of the great ironies of my life. I try so hard to find this meaning, I link it to Buddhism and whatever ideals I can find, and try so hard to find solace, through meditation, through places like Las Tolas, but in that very search I am existing as the essence of movement. I am trying to find stillness by moving. I know that this is an indication that I am not ready for what I am looking for, but I also see that because I am aware of that, I can believe that there is something worth looking for.
My greatest fear here, the one which stalks my mind whenever it's free to wander, is that there is no stillness at the end of the journey. That I am destined to wander forever in search of something that I am growing further and further away from simply by the nature of my wanderings. I am afraid that maybe this is the curse of the wanderer, and that if so it is too late for me, that perhaps given my overseas childhood, my individuality and constant search, that my soul has already been burned into the form of the wanderer. There are worse things, and I am torn between being afraid of this and trying to come to terms with it.
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My emotions regarding my imminent departure from Las Tolas are a perfect example of this struggle. To stay here, for longer, not even just for the remaining month of my travels, but for an indefinite time would force me to solace, to come to truly exist in this world, not just pass through it. The same way that the last two weeks of the school year pass slower then the whole rest of the year, knowing now that I am leaving, my time here seems to draw on, but were I to be here indefinitely, I think perhaps the case would be different. As it is, I am leaving, and the knowledge that I can, and that freedom that I have, is a lure for my soul. I am drawn once again towards adventure, towards movement, and I wonder where the place is, or if I will ever find it, where I can finally stop moving and just be.
I know this all seems like some philosophical mumbo-jumbo, and it is. It doesn't mean I'm depressed or unhappy, it just means I'm lost, and that's my natural state, thats why I'm wandering around trying to find myself. Fortunately, in the process I have the presence of mind to acknowledge the wonderful things in the world around me, and each day I marvel at the beauty of the cloud shrouded mountains swathed in capes of jungle which soar into every vista, I smile at each new bird crouched on a tree nearby crunching on something, I revel in the sound of rain playing symphonies on the tin roof as I lay in bed at night, and my heart rises and falls with each crescendo. Life is amazing, really, really amazing, and even if I have no idea what it means or what I'm doing with it, at least I can appreciate it, and I am doing just that.
Me and Adrian on the Finca

With that in mind I'm ready to go appreciate somewhere new, but I will never forget the lessons I've learned here, the love I've found, lost and found, the people who have brought my into their homes and their hearts, and the beautiful things which have reserved a place of honor in my memories.
For anyone who may read this and is considering going to Las Tolas, go. Life is short, and more important then the places you see before you die, more important than famous tourist attractions you use as calling cards at cocktail parties, are the places you find within yourself, the places you feel. Las Tolas is a place where I have learned to feel myself, and that is the greatest gift I can take from this place. The greatest gift I can give to you is my story, my experience, and my lessons, so that you might have the courage to walk your own path through this wonderful place and leave your own mark upon this town, and leave with its mark upon you.

Man this place is beautiful


  1. Great journal entries! Please add dates for posterity. "And here's to you my ramblin' boy...may all your rambling bring you joy..." Love, M

  2. “Life is amazing, really, really amazing, and even if I have no idea what it means or what I'm doing with it . . . .”

    Life’s plenty amazing, but I think you know exactly what you’re doing. It just hasn’t all bubbled up to consciousness yet. This doesn’t read like the journal of a lost soul at all, but of someone gathering evidence, taking risks, and drunk with the very possibilities of life. It’s an enriching, wonderful account.

    “The greatest gift I can give to you is my story . . . .”

    Yes, and well done.


  3. Hey Ivan, thanks for keeping such a heartfelt and meaningful blog on your stay in Las Tolas. I was there too! And your post about the patterns of the universe...and how everything affects everything...was amazing. I too experienced a terrible heartache in Las Tolas. Of a different nature of course, but surprisingly real. Finding your blog couldn't have come at a better time in my life. Amazing. Seeing your photos of the people I knew in Las Tolas was something I really needed. I hope your journey in life has taken you to great places since.
    From Asheville, NC