Lessons Learned

Tortoise or the Hare?

Friday, March 30th, 2018

In my dream journal, I’ve noticed certain people, things, or events occurring frequently. Green VW vans, visiting my childhood, problems with technology (very apocolyptic), transformation, dogs, beaches, and so. much. water.

I tend to have recurring themes within this blog as well…I haven’t read all the way through from the beginning, but every now and then I come across my links or random posts and can see how I bring up a lot of the same thoughts and phrases without even realizing it at the time.

“Everything happens for a reason.” “Go with the flow.” “Keep going.” “Anything is possible.”

My mantras. I say them all the time and I believe them…well, for a reason. They keep me going!

Last year, I wrote about Notes from the Universe and they are also mentioned frequently in View From Mo. They’re my daily pep talk in the morning. They are all wonderful, but there are a few that stick with me weeks after I read them. At the beginning of March, I read a Note that reminded me of a dream I had a couple years ago. In my dream, I was riding this strange contraption that was a mixture of a bike and a scooter. I was trying to move my feet really fast to move along the trail quicker. The ‘narrarator’ told me to be more consistent, slow, and not rush it. I slowed my feet down and became more intentional with my movements and the scooter-bike (scike? booter? 😂) started lighting up and flying along the trail!

This is a Note I’ve been thinking about all month while driving, working with the Twins, and really, doing anything throughout my day. There is plenty of time for everything…so why rush it?

Have you noticed that the more you hurry, the slower you go?

The more you wait, the longer it takes?

The more you worry, the less you dream?

But the more you live, love, and laugh, Andrea, the more you live, love, and laugh.

The Universe

So let’s keep living, loving, and laughing. And maybe try driving in the right lane. 😉

And just like that, the sun starts to shine…

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday.

Who Are You?

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Recently, I’ve been trying to justify who I am and the interests I have. Before telling people certain things about me, I’ve noticed I give them disclaimers: “I know this sounds weird…” “So this is not super normal…” “This sounds hippy dippy, but…” I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of who I am, but I do worry that people will judge me for my interests and beliefs. But I worry because I know it happens. I’ve worked so hard on accepting everyone for who they are (which if we’re all being honest, this is really hard to do and I still struggle with it). We all have a past, an upbringing, and reasons for who we have become. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we lived in a world where everyone was 100% authentic 100% of the time? I’d be dancing everywhere I go!

While I was in Bali, it was a euphoric feeling because I could be 100% myself and I didn’t feel like I was weird. Instead I felt like everyone on that island was weird with me. Being weird was normal…does that even make sense? Now that I’m back in Seattle, I’m still doing my best to be completely myself, but the fear of judgment does create a sort of block. I put my books faced down so people won’t see what I’m reading. I make sure to tell people where I used to work, so they know I’m capable of having a ‘real job.’ I sometimes play mainstream music around others so they don’t judge my taste in the music I truly love. I don’t know if I’m the only one who does this, but I hide who I truly am for fear of not being accepted.

So here’s my metaphorical mountain top that I’m going to scream at the top of my lungs who I am. I don’t want to hide anymore – I want to own my identity – I will no longer be ashamed – no more disclaimers!!


I initially wanted to write a list of all the little intricacies about me…but if we know each other and you have been reading along on this journey, you already have a pretty good idea of who Mo is. And to the people in my life who have embraced who I am and stood by my side, I am always grateful for you. And I love all the little things that make you you. Props to all of you who don’t hide who you are – you inspire me! Our weirdness and quirks make us unique individuals and we should showcase that to the world!

And I just now received a picture from a friend of her hand next to a teeny, tiny pistachio. “The smallest pistachio,” she wrote. YES! This is what I’m talking about!

Okay, I’ll stop now… About to go pick up my favorite twins and go PLAY!

And what song just started playing in my ear buds? “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff.

It’s gonna be a bright, sunshiney day!

Who are YOU and what makes you weird/awesome? What are you feeding your mind?

Choose Your Path

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

And my first retirement comes to an end…

It’s been a month since I’ve written here, and it should be no surprise…a lot has happened. I’ll start with just a series of photos from this past month. If I gave context to each photo, I’d be writing for hours (which I’m not opposed to, but I only have a little bit of time before I go to my first day of WORK!!), so here are a bunch o’ photos that make me happy.

(Was listening to the song “Dragonfly” and a car pulled in front of me with a dragonfly sticker… Loved the coincidence!)

So here I am now, about to begin a new chapter of my life. I’ve been reflecting so much on the past 6 months – sometimes I get really sad that I’m not still traveling and living in the lush culture of Bali; but like I’ve always believed, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m so grateful for every experience during this ‘retirement.’ 4 wild months in Bali and 2 months of running around in the States. 

When I came back from California a month ago, I had set up several coffee dates/networking meetings so I could find a way to make an income. I was completely torn. Go back to a desk job – professional, stable, comfortable? Or move away from the corporate world and do something a little different that may challenge me a bit more? I was facing all sorts of paths I could go down, and I knew I ultimately had to walk down the path that made me *feel* the most. After a great meeting with some women that I’ve worked with before, I received a text a couple days later that got me excited for the first time when it came to looking for a new job. 

“My husband’s boss is looking for a nanny… Is that something you’d be interested in?”

In less than a week, I was offered the job and I was PUMPED. They’re very professional, the kiddos are adorable, and all the stars seemed to align. It’s funny how that happens when you follow your heart…

I accepted this position a month ago and today will be my first day with the Twins. Having so much time between accepting the job and actually starting has been an interesting journey in itself. Sure, I’ve worked with kids – babysat a ton – volunteered with many kids…but a full-time job with twins?! Doubt started creeping in… It was always so interesting telling people what I was doing and I felt like I could read their thoughts: “Are you nuts?! You’ve never been a nanny and now you’re taking care of two toddlers? Are you sure you don’t want a desk job?” One person even immediately said, “You’re going to die.” 

I started worrying that maybe I made a mistake. “What the hell did I just sign myself up for?! Am I living in this silly fairytale land – la dee da dee da – that isn’t reality at all? Mo! You’re in way over your head!”

But then there were the few people who immediately reacted by saying, “You’re going to be such a good nanny.” Yessssss…bringing back the thoughts that I had when I was ‘applying’ for the job. I know I shouldn’t care what others think, but I’m not going to lie…I couldn’t really help it. This is a HUGE change from what I was doing before, so every bit of feedback was swirling in my mind. 

But guess what? I’m ready for it… While this past month has allowed a bit of doubt to enter my mind, it’s also allowed me to mentally prepare for these next 6 months and kick that doubt outta here. I am fully aware that this will be a big challenge, but there will be so many great things that come from this experience. Guiding kids through this world, consistency with my schedule, purpose, finally a steady income, excursions/crafts/activities, learning and seeing life through the eyes of children. 

This ‘retirement’ has been an epic journey of self-discovery. Sometimes I felt guilty that I was out exploring the world and not working to save for real retirement – but this wasn’t really a 6-month vacation. Not at all. It was a time for me to learn about myself, to test myself, and prove to myself that if I set my mind to something, I can do it. At the end of this particular journey, the best thing that happened was I learned how to love myself. Sometimes I look back at my memories like a movie and think, “I did that?! Hell yeah!! Mo is pretty awesome!” I’ve never been able to think that about myself until now.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and believed in me. I am blessed with so many loving people in my life that keep me going. I believe in all of you, too. Listening to your heart surprisingly isn’t the easiest thing to do, but when you do, you’ll feel on top of the world. The Universe is always on our side.

And thank you, Bali, for changing my life. Although it was only 4 months, the lifetime that was lived in them and the lessons I learned will guide me though every day of the rest of my life. “Mo Poppins” is ready for this new journey. Besides, I’ve even got the carpet bag ready to go…

Last night, I went to Modo Yoga because I wanted to end this chapter on a magical note. I’ll end this entry with how my favorite teacher ended his class last night:

“There is nothing you cannot do.”

Believe it.



Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Feeling stuck, lost, or confused with any aspect in your life? I have discovered the cure: Kids and a Retreat (obviously separate events…).


I was fortunate enough to babysit Claire Bear for a few days and IT WAS THE BEST TIME EVER. I honestly get a lump in my throat while thinking of her because I love her so much! Who knew a teeny little two-year old could have such a tug at my heart? First of all, she’s adorable. Proof: 

But not only is she adorable on the outside, her personality is precious. Her whole body tenses up with excitement when we play hide and seek, watch Frozen, or sit down to read a book. She pronounces pillow as “pillilow” and I almost thought she was saying a bad word when she asked for a fruit snack (“fwoo fak”). She loves to color and whenever she comes across the white crayon she holds it up and says, “Thisonesnotworkingthisonesnotworkingthisonesnotworking. It break!” She gets so proud when she makes a triangle out of her hands – then makes the triangle smaller and says, “Baby triangle!” She loves Dozy Bear and she loves being held (“Hold you! Hold you!”). She is not a fan of baths, but she is a fan of yoga and cheese. Atta girl…

I’m still technically unemployed and sometimes when I think about it, I tense up out of stress and start internally panicking. “I need to find a job quickly so I can start making money! People think I’m lazy! I need to figure out where I’m going to live!” Being unemployed certainly isn’t ideal, but I want to make sure that whatever I do next is the right thing, you know? I’m so happy I’m able to take my time, keep soul-searching, and carve my path. My hope is to find a way to make an income while doing something that I love. What a concept, right?! It seems like so many people are unhappy with their jobs and that marrying the two (income + passion) isn’t possible. That’s what we’ve been taught. Work during the week, live on the weekends… Maybe I’m an idiot and should start applying to all jobs I can find on LinkedIn.com – but right now, I’m so enjoying this freedom and I’m crossing my fingers that the right thing will come along. I have so many ideas of what I could do, so I’m working on narrowing it all down. Time will tell…

So here I am, 30 years old, figuring out my life and trying to not to let the uncertainty overwhelm me. So many questions – so many options – so many paths I could take. …And then I get to play with Claire Bear and she wants me to make some ice cream for her. She sits in front of the ‘counter’ and stares at all of the options available and takes some time to decide. I feel it, Claire. Tough decisions. Remember when the hardest decision in our life was which flavor of ice cream we were going to devour? Maybe we need to look at our decisions as an adult in a different way. Follow the gut. 

Claire ended up choosing a chocolate cone, strawberry ice cream, and chocolate syrup. Solid combo. I could go on and on and on and on about the things I love about Claire and how much she is teaching me. One of the greatest gifts she is giving me is a return to childhood. Memories of my childhood are coming back and when I’m with her, I get to be a kid again. I keep wondering if what ‘I’m supposed to do‘ as a grownup has something to do with kids. Something’s telling me that would be a flavor of ice cream that I’d end up loving…


After spending a few days with Claire Bear, I headed to a cabin in Leavenworth for a “Silent Retreat.” I’ve looked into several silent retreats before, but they are very expensive and they are a bit more precise with their expectations (zero speaking, no writing, no music, 100% silence). I decided to have my own retreat and the main challenge was unplugging my phone for 3 days straight. Not even checking my messages at the end of each night.

If you’re reading this now: GO ON A RETREAT AND UNPLUG. Seriously. It is the best and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Do it. Do it. Do it.

The last time I was going to truly unplug was in Bali for 5 days. The first day I turned off my phone, well that’s when the earthquakes began, which started my fear and stopped my freedom. I think the last time I had unplugged for a significant amount of time was at Priest Lake, Summer of 2016. I was long overdue.

For my retreat, I brought a bag full of books, journals, delicious food, and tea. I turned my phone on airplane mode and began my new sense of freedom. I was still in the habit of checking my phone ever 5 minutes, so I put it in a drawer and committed to only using it for photos. Then it was 3 days of bliss.

The cabin is secluded on a snowy road, surrounded by trees, and has huge windows that allow a flood of natural light to shine in. My favorite part of the cabin is the fireplace – I had a natural fire burning almost the entire time – I truly don’t think I love anything more than the sound and smell of a real fire. 

Each day, I journaled and read for hours. But that’s something I frequently do. What was even better about having a retreat like this is you can do whatever the heck you want. Did I sing at the top of my lungs? Sure did. Did I have multiple dance parties? Without a doubt. Did I feel like a teenager without a care in the world? Thank goodness, yes. There was no one to judge and I could be completely myself. I remember thinking as I put on my striped sweatshirt while I was wearing my tie-dyed pants, “If I wore this in public, people would think I’m nuts!” But I didn’t care – they were mismatched, but comfy as hell. I could listen to whatever music, watch any movies, and eat whatever I wanted. So did I make pancakes for dinner? Yup.

The best part of a retreat like this is that you lose track of time. I remember feeling like my entire world in those moments was right in front of me. Only Me. Always Now. Complete Freedom.

There were a few times I alllllllmost turned my phone back on, though. I had been disconnected from ‘reality’ for a couple of days and for some silly reason I kept wondering if something was wrong. “What if something bad happened and no one is able to let me know?” I came so so close to connecting again, but then I told myself that if I got back into service, it would stop the intention of this retreat. I had set out to last until 5:55pm Monday night, and I reminded myself of this goal. Maybe something did happen, but it’s okay if I go one more day without knowing. Besides, there was a greater chance that all was fine in the outside world. So, not surprisingly, when I did finally turn my phone back on Monday night, all was good. There was no reason to worry.

I can’t express enough how good this was for my soul. Maybe I didn’t come out of it with a concise gameplan for my future, but I became completely centered and that’s even more important. I took the long way home (Highway 2 is so beautiful!!) and have been so calm and happy. Nothing can really bring me down at this point [knock on wood].

Even the past few days since I’ve returned from babysitting and my retreat, I’ve felt so…..at peace. I am now in California staying with my cousin and his family for a while. I can’t wait to see what pops up while I’m here. Going with the flow like usual and maintaining my sense of peace…and child-like imagination. 

We’re all dreamers… Sometimes we have ice cream to choose or bills to pay, but we can always return to our daydream. When Claire makes us coffee with her playset, she is truly, without a doubt, making coffee. Dozy Bear is as real to her as the string cheese she eats every day. Imagination is a lot more fun than reality, so why do we stop visiting Neverland when we get older? Who knows? Maybe things we imagine can one day show up in real life. 

Thank you, Claire, for inviting me back into my childhood. When I remember the world I created as a little girl, I feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe I’m not a real-life mermaid, but when I snorkeled in Bali, I kept saying that I felt like one. When I was under water and swimming through the prettiest coral reef with rainbow fish, my imagination was right in front of me. If you take a few minutes now to be silent, think back to being a kid again and what you used to imagine – how does it make you feel?

So there it is, the cure. Time with kids and time to reconnect with your inner child. Life is meant to be fun and the world is our playground. Don’t get stuck in timeout before you’re out of time. 

We’re all kids at heart – anything is possible. If you don’t believe it, just ask a kiddo.

So…what’s your daydream?

Beauty in the Mystery

Friday, December 29th, 2017

I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this blog a service called “Notes from the Universe.” If you’ve never checked it out, I highly encourage you to. I woke up this morning to a message from the Universe that put a smile on my face. Since I’ve returned to the States, I’ve been very happy, but also a bit stressed if I’m being completely honest. What do I do? Where do I want to be? How am I going to make an income? Do I need to find a job that I may be unfulfilled in STAT so I don’t go broke? Where am I going to live? 

It is very, very stressful not having a job and having bills to pay. It was easy in Bali because practically everything was cheaper than a white mocha; but now I’m putting off my white mocha addiction and pinching my pennies. While it’s stressful, I’m using this as a fun challenge for myself. I’m channeling McGyver, but instead of making a raft with paper clips, a door, and a balloon, I’m figuring out how to live in America with the resources I have at this moment. I’m reevaluating where I’m driving to save on gas, I’m making my food last longer, and I’m looking at my calendar like a Tetris game. With all the plans I have in January, I’m not overstaying my welcome anywhere, and I’m having fun at the same time. I know this phase won’t last forever, so I’m enjoying this strange period of unemployment. Weird, huh? Although it’s a stressful phase, it’s also very freeing. I can make plans for the middle of the day with friends – I can say yes to all dogsitting or babysitting jobs – I can AVOID TRAFFIC. 

Back to the message from the Universe…it was exactly what I needed to read during this phase. Maybe it’s what you need to read, too:

Andrea, soon the new year starts, so now’s a great time to:

1. Wipe the slate clean.
2. Focus upon what you really want.
3. Chart your course.

Or is that a bit old school? Feels tiring! Ugh!

How about an adventurous alternative:

1. Give thanks that your life is exactly as it is.
2. Decide that 2018 will be the happiest year of your life yet.
3. Every day, follow your heart and instincts down new paths.

This will be your year, Andrea –
The Universe

Before I headed to paradise, I purchased a new pair of shoes. I wrote about these shoes and how they would be taking me on adventures that were a mystery to me at the time. That’s part of the fun in life…not knowing. Just being. Accepting the moment for what it is.

I had a fresh pedicure the day before I left for Bali and I intentionally didn’t get a pedicure in Bali (can you believe I turned down a $5 pedicure?!) because my nail polish was a weird kind of timeline. Sure enough, these shoes took me on a plethora of adventures that I’ll never forget. I had no idea at the time of purchase what these shoes would mean to me.

Now I’m back in the Pacific Northwest and my adventure sandals are packed away in my Summer boxes. Back to boots. Where will these shoes take me?? It’s a mystery.

I had a thought this morning about my desire to know. I’m extremely curious about everything – two of my favorite questions are, “Why?” and “How?” I’m constantly wanting to dig deeper and find the root of anything I’m learning about. So, naturally, I’ve been wanting to know what my future holds. Then I thought about how I’ve always been curious about how this world even began in the first place. (My coffee this morning was very strong…) Where did we come from? I grew up learning about the Big Bang Theory as well as the Christian belief that God created the world in 7 days. (Disclaimer: I know these are always controversial topics – this is my personal opinion and I respect everyone’s opinion. This is what I believe and don’t intend to change anyone’s mind…just talking my way through this!). But in my opinion, these are simply theories. No one actually knows 100%. This means anything is possible. We don’t know, and there’s a really good chance we will never know how the Universe was created. I don’t know why I was born a human in this body of mine in this part of the world. Is everything scientific and we are just molecules moving about on a giant rock being held down by gravity? Is everything completely random and nothing has meaning? We. Don’t. Know. So it’s up to us to decide what our truth, our belief, is.

For some reason, I’m always wanting to figure out how it all began. I research theories all the time; I read books on different ideas, and sometimes I go down endless rabbit holes. But why do I need to know? It’s a fascinating topic to contemplate, but it will never end with an answer. So I continued thinking about it this morning and told myself, “It’s okay to not know.” I don’t know the beginning and I also don’t know the end. What’s the fun if I did? Life is meant to be unknown – anything could happen at any moment that could alter the course of our expected life…so go with the flow. 

Every day, every second, is a new journey for the soul inside of our body. I want to make sure it’s a positive and fun journey, so even though I am in a stressful point in my life, I know there are lessons to be learned, challenges to be conquered, and adventures to be had.

As I reflect on the most incredible, most life-changing, year of my life, it feels as if 2017 will be impossible to top. But someone very wise told me: 2018 will be the happiest year of my life yet. I believe it.

Where will my feet take me next? I can’t wait to find out…


Monday, September 18th, 2017

I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why I’m in Bali. Why I left my job, my city, my life as I knew it and set off by myself to the other side of the world.

It’s because of the way I shifted my way of thinking.

A few years ago, I became a bit more self-aware and started being more observant of my surroundings and how certain things made me feel. I started noticing patterns I’d get myself into. I started listening to my gut. I paid attention to signs and found meaning in everything. I read book after book after book. I slowly stopped caring about materialistic things, hashtags, and fitting in. I began to think a bit deeper.

I started looking at my life as if it’s an unfolding story that I am internally writing at all times. I am the main character and the storyteller. I stopped going through every day blindly, waiting for things to come my way. Instead, I began to dictate the story of my life. I asked myself, “If my life were written out in a book, would it be a story worth reading?”

For quite some time, I felt I was leading a life that was simple and…expected. And that was okay. Single female with a busy social life, a good job, and an apartment in a growing city. But deep down, I wanted to make a change.

I started journaling in a way that I’d never done before. I started journaling from the voice of my intuition. It was as if I was having a conversation with myself, but on paper. At first, I felt like a lunatic. Not writing in first-person was a bit odd and crazy. But I really started tapping into my inner voice and writing became a constant companion. It was like a friend I could turn to at any moment.

You know that little voice in your head? That’s your intuition. I started really paying attention to it, because it’s surprisingly really easy to ignore.

For example, if someone hands me a menu and there are three sandwiches listed: Chicken Sandwich, Pulled Pork Sandwich, and a Reuben, I will feel very torn. Do I get the Pulled Pork or the Reuben? I love both so much. Decisions, decisions. But my little voice, my intuition, is saying, “Duh, you know what you’re going to order. Don’t spend any more time looking at this menu trying to decide.” And then I order a Reuben. Duh.

Obviously, my intuition helps with more things than ordering a sandwich…

At the beginning of this year, I started writing more and more from this positive voice in my head. Nearly 70 pages in a month. Maybe I am a lunatic, but it seemed to work.

In March of this year, this is what I wrote:


That’s a word that you love, but also terrifies you. Change is coming up. Big changes. You know it and you can’t run away from the change anymore. You will be moving somewhere and you will be changing jobs. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Trust me. Trust yourself.

It has been really incredible looking back at what I was journaling and seeing how it is now coming true. A month after this entry, I was vacationing in Bali and it was the start of my big change. The shift in my story.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

I left everything to come to Bali to start a life worth writing about. This is what motivates me.

Will I stay? I don’t know the answer yet. Did I make a mistake like I’ve sometimes wondered? No. Do I miss Reuben sandwiches? Hell yes. Am I happy? Very much so.

Am I doing something worth writing about? I’d like to think so.


Kept Going

Friday, September 15th, 2017

First of all, thank you for all the sweet, uplifting e-mails, messages, and calls over my homesickness. I didn’t intend it to be a ‘cry for help,’ but I guess it sort of was. And all of the support I received from across the world helped. I’m feeling so much better and rejuvenated.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait…she’s in paradise, not working, and can sleep in every day. How can she be feeling sad?!” At least that’s what I was asking myself. But I faced the truth…it can be lonely. I was feeling very homesick and wanting to buy a plane ticket home after getting into a negative headspace. I was missing my family and friends, and I am surrounded by groups friends and couples on their vacations. It finally hit me in a bad way, but thankfully I was uplifted by lots of people reaching out.

Sending all my love your way. Sama sama.


The day after my meltdown, I was on a mission: find a new place to live. Diver’s Cafe was wonderful – amazing location, affordable price, and I made a couple friends out of the staff. But one of the things that made me feel I needed to look elsewhere is the fact that I had no wi-fi. I haaaaaate hate hate that wi-fi is even an issue, but it started frustrating me enough that I wanted to move. I could get okay wi-fi in the restaurant, but I was tired of running down several flights of stairs and across the street to check messages. And even then, it had to be just the right wind for me to connect to anything. Plus, it was strange having FaceTime conversations with people and having a bunch of diners and divers all around me. And e-mails? Forget it. Wouldn’t load if my life depended on it.

Worst part was I couldn’t write. I’d have to walk somewhere else to use their wi-fi. I’m not opposed to that, but I always had to buy something in order to use their wi-fi. So in my own room, I couldn’t write, have real conversations with family and friends on FaceTime, or even stream a video. Part of the allure of Bali is disconnecting from technology and social media, but if I’m here all alone for a long time, I need to have easy connection back home.

So the mission began. My 3 hopes: wi-fi in room, decent view, and air-con (by the way, NO ONE says “air conditioning” here. Always “air-con”). My hope was also to spend less than what I paid for at Diver’s. I hopped on my scooter and rode from Jemeluk to a little past Lean. I stopped at about 15 places and by the end of it, I was feeling like a bridezilla trying to pick out a wedding dress (Too much sparkle. Not enough sparkle. It’s not the right kind of white. No ruffles, please. Can you remove the bows?). I felt like maybe I was being too picky…

Here are the moments worth mentioning:

#1 – Budget: $
Everyone in Amed has a cousin or a friend with bungalows or a homestay, so I was told to check out this cheap place near Diver’s. I walked into the room and the sound effect from the shower scene in the movie “Psycho” immediately started playing in my head. Dead cockroaches in the corner. ZERO view since it’s tucked back into a local village. I sat on the bed and noticed cat prints on the pillow cases. Then I saw the bath in the bathroom and thought, “Oh how nice – a bathtub!” Then I walked closer and thought, “What died in this bathtub?!?” Veto on this room, regardless of how cheap it is.

#2 – Budget: ?
A cute place I ride by all the time has signs for meditations, yoga, and a shell museum. Kind of random, but kind of quirky. You never know! I walked in and met a French woman with armpit hair almost longer than the hair on my head and I asked if she had a room for a month. We went down my checklist and she was checking them off. Then I said, “Do you have wi-fi?” “No. This is a place for healing.” I quickly apologized and walked away. I totally get it – I’d feel healed after a week of no wi-fi, but I’m not good enough to last a month…

#3, #4, #5 – Budget: $$$$
A few places I stopped at looked a bit nicer (Why not try? It’s slow season!) and as I would walk back to the reception table, it would become very apparent that these hotels and villas were waaaaay out of my budget. One in particular had an older couple lounging by the infinity pool and they watched me as I spoke with the owner. It’s like they knew… The conversation lasted less than one minute after I finally said while chuckling, “I don’t think I can afford this place.”

#6 – Budget: $$
I had good feelings about Good Karma Bungalows. I’d eaten lunch there before and loved the vibe, the staff, and the food. When I walked in, I spoke with Made and she showed me an affordable bungalow. No air-con and open-air. Strikes one and two. I wouldn’t get sleep and I’d get eaten alive by mosquitos! Third strike was no wi-fi. Again, I didn’t want to have to be in the restaurant to keep in touch or write. Made was so sweet that she told me about their other location that has wi-fi and air-con.

#7 – Budget: $$$$$$$$
The other location… Made hopped on her scooter and led me down the road to the other bungalows. I started laughing when I walked through the gate. I was looking at the most beautiful bungalows with their own private lawns. She opened the door to the bungalow and it was two levels, the bottom had a huge couch with a TV (TV’s are very rare in Amed) and huge windows looking out onto the lawn and the water. I didn’t even let her show me upstairs because I knew this one wouldn’t happen. She said, “I talk to owner. Maybe he will do something special for me because I like you and you are good.” I appreciated her earnestness, but the cost of this bungalow for two nights is my entire monthly budget. Sure enough, the “big boss” showed up, didn’t even shake my hand, and had about a 30-second conversation with Made before he walked away. Not one English word was said. She looked back at me and said, “I’m sorry.” I actually loved that she tried – very bold.

#8 – Budget: $$$
Another cute place I’ve been drawn to had a yoga theme so I stopped to check out a room. The owner was an Australian woman that was really lovely to talk to. She said she had a ‘budget room’ that I could have for a month. Basic room, barely any wi-fi, and the view was of a wall and laundry line-drying. After going to all of these places, I got a better feel of what rooms were worth. When she told me the price for a month, I would have spit out water if any were in my mouth. Budget room, ha! It was twice as much as what I was paying at Diver’s so I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

There were a few more that were okay but I ultimately knew they weren’t right. Creepy owner; too far away from the hustle and bustle; a driveway that I literally would die scootering on; and an owner that bargained so hard and wanted me to cut a deal right then that I felt too much pressure.

Was I being a homestay-zilla?!

But I kept going…

I was told about a place on Jemeluk that has a room right on the beach. I’ve checked out 15 places, why not make it 16?! You know that feeling you get when you just know something is right? As soon as I walked in, I breathed a sigh of relief and knew this would be my home for the month.

Within budget, big room, air-con, hot water, breakfast included, in my favorite neighborhood, private, and I wouldn’t die on the driveway. Then the wi-fi test – passed with flying colors (helps that the router is on my balcony). Instead of watching sunrises from my room, I’ll be watching sunsets. I shook hands and the deal was done.

But wait, there’s more! I have a neighbor from Switzerland who is staying for one month as well. Her name is Francisca and she writes children’s books. Soooo yeah, I am meant to be here.

I will miss Room #7 at Diver’s and the little chickens that would come and eat by my deck. It was a perfect place to ‘land’ and I’m happy that I’m still neighbors with them.

But right now, I’m sitting on my deck, writing. My beer and a plate of French fries were delivered to my room and the sun is setting. And literally just as I was about to hit “Post” – fireworks lit up the bay.

Glad I kept going.