Some of you may recall the Wealthwoke blog post a few months ago about Murray McWilliams – a 49-year-old entrepreneur – who along with his yoga instructor wife Ann and three children (all under the age of 12), embarked on a year-long sabbatical to South America in January (https://www.wealthwoke.com/do-you-have-the-balls-for-this/).
I have been following his incredible journey on Instagram (the_mcwanderers) and asked Murray to provide us with an update, during some downtime in Ecuador.
Life on the road has been a blessing for us as a family. It is a life adventure that is changing each of us daily. The changes are subtle in so many ways that it is difficult to put a finger on it – and yet, 4 months down the line I look at my kids and see them blossoming and changing. I see their confidence and life experience exploding. I see their eyes open to experiences and accepting of so much that they may not have been exposed to in Cape Town.
We have been in one another’s company 24 hours a day since 24 Dec 2018. We have not only been in one another’s company, we have been sharing space – much smaller spaces than we have ever had to share. We have shared a bedroom for much of the time – or shared 2 bedrooms in spacious digs. We have shared dorms in hostels and kicked back on extended bus trips. We talk to strangers on a daily basis and we are learning to not judge others too quickly.
We stood on the equator today (1 foot in the Southern hemisphere and 1 in the Northern) which was an incredible experience and then a complete stranger took us off the street tonight and sheltered us in his restaurant in the middle of an anti-government demonstration/riot two blocks from our hotel. There were cops everywhere, some tear gas, angry mobs hurling stones at the police, burning tires and an atmosphere of uncertainty.
We come from a country that is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world but my children’s eyes were opened tonight. Something they have never seen before. Although it was low level (in my opinion and experience), it was an experience that will be seared into their memories. This country had 8 presidents between 1996 to 2007 (8 Presidents in 11 years) – stability is unknown at the moment. They then experienced 10 years of stable corruption with a change happening in 2017. And the shit continues. The new president is one of the old guards who is “cleaning house”. We are not alone in SA.
We no longer need accommodation plans a week or two ahead. A day ahead of time is fine – which is amazing. We know we will be fine and plans and experiences are cascading into place. We visited Pailon Del Diablo in Banos, Ecuador the other day as a last-minute plan. What a day. What an experience. What a happening in Ann, the kids and my life. It blew me away. It is a canyon with a waterfall cascading through a natural channel between mountains – we were behind the waterfall – on our own – from 2 different sides. The energy, negative ions, water spray, noise, power and majestic nature was fulfilling in ways that I cannot explain. I stood there in rapt awe of what I was experiencing. I looked over at Ann and her eyes were glassy in wonder and awe. My kids stood silent, absorbing what nature was showing them and throwing at them. I was humbled and grateful.
We left earlier than we would have to get back to our digs to get online at 2pm local time to try to secure tickets to Burning man 2019 – kickoff 25 August 2019. The universe intervened and via a maze of coincidental happenings – we secured tickets. We will be in the USA to experience Burning Man 2019 with our kids (in the Kidsville camp) for my 50th birthday. The universe showered us that day with life experiences and then some to come.
Time has slowed for us. We are a family unit like never before. It is not always easy. It is not always pleasant. It is sometimes extremely frustrating. But life for me at the moment is magical. It is a miracle. It is experience after experience after experience. I am seeing the little experiences in a new light – ones I had every day in Cape Town but did not recognize them as such as I was on my way somewhere. I had something to do or somewhere to be. A chance one-minute chat to somebody. Acknowledging the moment as an experience in my day. And not judging it for anything other than an experience. Just being able to stop and say I have nowhere to be right now so let me be here – for right now is an experience that I am having – if I let myself have it.
My realization is that I can let myself have experiences all day and every day. They do not need to be planned days, weeks or months ahead with associated expenses. Preachy? Sorry. Not intended. More assorting and filing of my thoughts for myself.
Thanks for indulging me while I blogged thoughts on this page – I just allowed myself another experience.