Part of the Process

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.


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.


Keep Going

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

It finally hit me. The emotion. The homesickness. The minor meltdown. I was always wondering when it would happen. I thought it would happen while I was still in Seattle, packing up all my belongings, saying all of my goodbyes. But it never hit me.

After a few weeks on a new island, instead of thinking when, I started wondering if it would ever hit me that I uprooted my life and left everything I knew to start a new path on the other side of the world. It was a hectic 3 months preparing and it confused me that I never got very emotional about it. But yesterday, it finally hit me.

“What the hell am I doing? I left an awesome job with wonderful people. I left a city with so many of my friends that I could call at any moment and grab a cup of coffee with. Instead of a 4 hour drive away from my family, I am now a 24-hour travel day away. I sold half of my belongings and moved away from my happy place, Greenlake. I left the comforts of home. For what?”

It was especially frustrating that the emotion hit me after such a positive yoga class where we were guided to think positively and trust the Universe. But during the day, my mind was swirling with all these negative thoughts that have probably been waiting to come to the surface.

Did I make a mistake? Am I doing the right thing or am I just putting my life on hold for an “extended vacation?” Maybe those couple of people who doubted my decision were right. Maybe I really am crazy for doing all of this.

My main hurdle is not feeling a sense of purpose. Each day, I sit at a beach or a different warung and soak up my surroundings. I am meeting people and I am delving deep into the culture of the Balinese. But am I making a difference? Maybe I am supposed to work 40 hours a week in order to feel like I’m contributing to the world. Maybe I’m supposed to be in America and find that person I’ll marry and buy a house and have a child.

Why was I called to Bali? Why did I have to be so drawn to a place that is so far away?

What I do know, is that I’m not quite ready to leave. Regardless of what my crazy mind is thinking, my gut is telling me to stay. Maybe I don’t feel a sense of purpose…yet…but I trust that I am supposed to be here. I just need to keep going.

Something that brought me comfort during my mini meltdown was this picture. This reminder of support. I am so grateful for my friends and family for believing in me. Right now, I’m struggling to believe in myself and there’s this little voice that’s telling me to pack up and go back and find a job and get back into ‘reality.’ But a stronger voice is telling me to not give up.

My little nieces are a huge part of my heart and they are infatuated with the movie Moana. Yesterday morning on FaceTime, Avery sang “How Far I’ll Go” and it made me so happy. I watched Moana pretty much every morning I was with my family before I left for Bali. Claire is especially obsessed with it. It’s actually the perfect story for me to think about right now. Even last night, I was walking on the beach and a man said, “Watch out, I’m catching something!” He reeled in his fishing line and instead of a fish, it was a manta ray. It was absolutely beautiful. The fisherman pulled out the line from its mouth and placed it back in the ocean…but I couldn’t help but notice my timing and how I was in the right place at just the right time to see this beautiful creature. And I was reminded of my nieces and Moana at that moment.

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go…

I’m going to keep going. Let’s see how far I’ll go…

Love you all more than you know.


Minute 60

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

I woke up with a sore throat this morning and it was my body’s way of telling me that I’m beginning to get a bit overwhelmed. My calendar before I go back to Bali is almost completely full. I don’t see any blank space on any days leading up to my departure. No open time anymore…that is, until August 14th. Then all I will have is open time.

I’ve been getting texts, messages, and e-mails asking to hang out before I leave and my days are so full now that I’m worried if anyone else asks to hang out, I won’t have the time. So many commitments. But I guess that just means that anyone I don’t get a chance to spend time with before I go will have to come visit me in Bali! I wish all my time in the next few weeks could be spent with friends and family, but there are so many work events that I am a part of as well. The stress of wrapping everything up at work and not having any more time to myself is clearly getting to me. However, I see a very bright and warm light at the end of the tunnel.

As I go through this crazy transition in my life, I’ve been turning to yoga to help get me through. I wish I had more time to go to classes, but since I don’t, I’ve been leaning on the lessons that yoga teaches. On Monday, I went to my first class in a month and a half. It was the longest I’ve gone without going to the studio and I was happy to get back on my mat.

These last few weeks in Seattle remind me of my 75-minute Power Flow classes. This is the hardest part. I’m on minute 60. The part of the class where I just want to get into savasana, final resting pose. I don’t know if my body can handle any more sequences, but sure enough, we’re guided to hold runner’s pose. “Oh my God, I can’t hold this pose for another second!” In minute 60, my body is tired, I’m dripping in sweat, my mind is playing tricks on me and telling me to just get into child’s pose the rest of class. My ego is telling me that I’m not strong enough to complete any more poses. But then I think of what my teachers always say, “Yoga begins when you want to break the pose. This is when the real work begins.”

I start encouraging myself and believing that I can hold the pose. That it will make savasana that much grander. That I can learn from this. A little discomfort is okay – it means I’m growing and becoming stronger. This Monday’s class, my teacher spoke of comfort zones and how we can’t always sink into positions that are familiar. Not engaging my legs in downward facing dog or resting all my weight on my knee during triangle pose. It’s more comfortable than doing the pose correctly. But we must go beyond our comfort zones – this is when we conquer our old habits. This is when savasana, and life, become a bit more magical.

Right now, all of these work events and engagements are the last few yoga sequences before I reach resting pose. I could easily do the bare minimum and blame it on “short-timer syndrome.” But I’m pushing through, full steam ahead, knowing that it’s all for a greater good. I’m embracing all of it.

15 more minutes until savasana. 26 more days until Bali.

Ahhh, my sore throat is already fading away….

Finish Line

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Meetings, contracts, deadlines.
Homebase is a chair and a screen.

Hours, minutes, seconds.
Competition within the team.

E-mails, forms, logins.
Smiles are seldom seen.

Corporate America.

Beach, moped, heat.
Freedom to roam, wherever that may be.

Sun, waves, moon.
To a mountain, a field, or the sea.

Temples, gardens, markets.
No time, all love, me.

The World.

Bird Set Free

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

I walked out of my apartment of 5 years for the last time this morning.

So many memories are held within those walls. 5 years ago, I was beyond nervous to live alone. I debated whether I should move in or not; I didn’t think I was ready to live without a roommate – a safety net. I’m so glad I challenged myself and moved in to the Eileen. I grew so much while I lived in the little one-bedroom near the lake.

When I moved in, it was such a perfect spot for me that I distinctly recall saying multiple times, “The only reason I’d move out is to move in with a boy.” Well, that didn’t quite happen, but it still was the perfect place for me to spend the last years of my twenties. And to be frank, I’m moving out for a better reason that to “move in with a boy.” I’m moving out to start a new life, completely on my own.

This doesn’t really feel like a new chapter in my life – it feels like a new book.

Closing the door for the last time this morning, knowing I’d never walk back into apartment #102 again, was very bittersweet. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

And the song that just started playing as I write? “Bird Set Free” by Sia. Hmmmm…

6 trips to Goodwill, furniture donated, 4 boxes of items sold, countless garbage cans full – every thing that matters now fits in my car.

Thank you, Eileen, for 5 incredible years.

When one door closes, another opens. I believe it. Here we go…


Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Turns out sleeping on the floor of my apartment isn’t the greatest for my back. Feeling a bit sluggish and achy today, but I only have two more nights left! The light at the end of the tunnel is lookin’ pretty bright right now!

Yesterday, I did another huge Goodwill run; plus, dropped off more books to the Free Little Library, cleaned my blinds (oh man were they dirty!!) and sorted out a few more to-do items.

The best was canceling internet at Comcast. As I was at Comcast, the clerk asked me why I needed to cancel. Other than the fact that I was paying an arm and a leg for internet and Comcast is the devil (I left that part out), I told him I was moving. A conversation began about my adventure to Bali and he asked if I was nervous. I immediately said, “Not at all.”

To me, it’s somewhat shocking that I don’t have an ounce of nervousness or worry. Who am I?!?! I used to be nervous arriving at a bar earlier than my friends because I’d have to sit all by myself and wait. Sad, but true.

I told the Comcast guy that I’m going into this new chapter with a blind faith. I can’t predict or expect anything to go a particular way, so I can only go with the flow. Anything can happen and I’m ready for it all. Canceling Comcast and going to a foreign country with no agenda? Now that’s freedom.

This morning, I came across an excerpt from a book I read over a year ago: How to Be an Adult by David Richo. It’s amazing to see the progress I’ve made since a year ago – finally following my intuition. It’s fascinating paying attention to how your body physiologically responds to decisions, interactions, and thoughts. When it comes to me leaving work to travel, it just feels right. No doubt, no worry, no ping at the heart.

It seems so simple, but it took me a long time and a lot of work to start paying attention to my heart, rather than my head. Start noticing – I promise good things will come from it.