I have some big news for you today… my family and I are realizing a long-held dream and moving to Nicaragua! My husband, Richard, and I met there in the Peace Corps and married at the close of our service. We chartered a bus to carry all of our US guests from Managua out to this little rural community where Rich had been living and working for two years and his host family was throwing us the wedding in their patio. We also hired a truck to bring guests from the town where I had been working over the mountain to the celebration. It was one of the most gorgeous, complex, and love-filled days of my life. It also happened to be my 27th birthday.
So when my oldest Coleman was born a few years later, with him came the dream to take my children to Nicaragua some day. I knew there would be a time when the desire to fully immerse them in Spanish and to open up their lives to a broader landscape, to tasting different foods, sights, smells, and enjoying new relationships would trump everything else.
This year we arrived at that moment and the reasons to say no to this crazy dream paled in comparison to the reasons to say yes. In many ways this is one of the goals I have been building toward the last five years with my coaching business: the capacity to work from anywhere and be location independent.
So… here we go! Five one-way plane tickets are purchased, passports are in order, and adventure on the horizon.
There are many details yet to finalize. Honestly I’m having to lean deeply into my morning routine, meditation practice, and evening walk with my husband to keep my wits about me as it all takes shape. Yet I am amazed at how pieces keep falling in place when I don’t force or push them.
We plan to stay at least two years and then… we shall see.
The best part? When we told the kids we were prepared for anything: hot tears, the desire to stay with friends, etc. But honestly, aside from missing their Grammy and Granddad, they all three looked at us like they couldn’t believe their good fortune. As if they had just been waiting for someone to come along and take them on an adventure. To get a little closer to nature, to live more slowly and simply, and to test their mettle in a new language and culture.
What a gift.
They remain in good spirits as this all gets a lot more real as we sell our house and organize the estate sale. (Everything must go! It turns out you pay a high customs tax to ship things to Nicaragua so we are liquidating our belongings, minus a few treasures my sister is graciously storing in her attic).
And Rich and I alternate between looking each other in the eyes and feeling like our hearts are blooming and we are shedding about 2000 pounds, and being petty and blaming each other for little Craigslist missteps and scheduling miscommunications. (Hey, this is still real life.)
In such snarky moments we like to remind each other:
“No one is coming.” (Something I often feel in the intensity of parenting — where are the reinforcements?!)
And “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”
But most days I feel like I’m falling in love. I honestly am not sure I’ve felt this expansive in a loooong time. It is not just romantic love, but that love you feel for life itself and for the limited trips we get around the sun.
It feels pretty intimate to be opening up this process here with you and on the interwebs — because I’m clear we are stretching here and leaning into a new lifestyle with many complex factors. And what if it doesn’t work? What if it fails to come together and we return to the US with our tails between our legs?
But for better or worse I can’t not share what is happening with you. I can’t keep it close to my chest. All I can do is what I ask my coaching clients to do when they are navigating a big shift: get really still, listen for the one next step, and take it. Plus asking for your support and well wishes and encouragement. And to trust that I can tell you the truth: the good, the hard, the whole of it.
So look for more lessons learned in this process in the next few weeks (like how to navigate the emotional process of zero-sizing your household) and more. And please forward this email if you have a friend you know harbors a similar desire to relocate or make a big lifestyle shift. Plus make sure to follow me on Instagram and FaceBook for more behind the scenes snapshots of the process as it unfolds. Also I’ll be launching my book from Nicaragua in the fall (and going for Amazon best seller status — something we can only do all together!) so look for more details on that as well.
Love and all the good,
PS A friend who is also writing a book and I were talking recently and I told her that this whole move feels like a gift from my book. The process of working through these 8 steps in the FLOURISH process as I wrote it (because you can’t write about something without really going there inside yourself, if you know what I mean) opened up the space I needed to say yes to this next level of my life. And the results from women moving through my first Beta group and the Mexico retreat only further confirm for me that these are incisive awareness tools which when used together in a conscious way have the capacity to shave a lot of the extra time and pain off the process of evolving.
This week I opened up another beta group for the FLOURISH coaching program (which includes excerpts of the book) and already I love the women who have joined and am inspired by the way they are saying “hell yes” to what is next for them: a less busy life full of the things they most desire, more self-compassion and space in intimate relationships, and a life and a schedule which supports them rather than the other way around. If you are interested to learn more I’d love to hear what is stirring for you and share the details. I have a few more spaces this month before we head to Nicaragua and I take some time to get settled, so schedule your complimentary discovery session today.
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the creator of the 8 step FLOURISH Formula Coaching program and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram (a personality map), meditation, and mindbody practices to reduce stress as well as supporting busy women who want to unlock their greatest gifts and thrive in their personal lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Interested to learn more? You can schedule your complimentary discovery session here.
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