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There's no going back

Marlon Rodrigues
Marlon Rodrigues
2 min read
Practicing inversions at yoga teacher training, May 2022
Yoga Teacher Training, Bali, May 2022

When I left Canada last year, in the midst of personal burnout and uncertainty about the progression of the handling of the pandemic, I thought I was going to the beaches of Costa Rica for two, maybe three months.

I packed 30 lbs of beachwear and a yoga mat, saying bye to my family and friends with a flippant see-ya-later flick. After all, everyone was still nervous about in-person visits and I hate belaboured goodbyes.

I had just hit full eject from my work, relationship and condo without a plan of what to do next.

After all, sometimes you know what you want, and sometimes you know what you don’t want. Either can be the impetus for action.

Now, I’m in Bali and about as far away from my childhood home, family and 30 years of relationships as it is possible to be in this big, round world.

Those that have been following my journey on IG have been encouraging about the continued exploration, but a new comment seems to be making the rounds:

“You’re never coming back, are you”

I mean, first thing’s first - people want to stay connected. That’s nice!

But still, an interesting supposition, implying that the world I left is in a fixed position that I could easily return to it.

In reality, there is no “going back”. I’m reminded of the old saying:

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

In my case, I am acutely aware that the person and the place have been through their own evolution over the past year, and each would have to approach the other anew.

Core friendship groups have shrunk to the maximum pandemic gathering limits and the people that trudged through the past two years together have bonded through their shared experience of trauma. Neighbourhoods have warped through business closures and snap migration of its residents.

In my travels, citizens of different nations reveled the freedom outside of the bounds of their home nation, growing closer to each other while trading notes about how the world might now work. They saw this period as a training ground for making decisions without the support of official bodies, understanding that old constants like borders rules could change at any moment.

The experience has been invaluable at building my own anti-fragility and emboldened me to think of my time in Canada as a training ground but not a final destination.

Through it all, I've missed milestones in the lives of many people close to me, including becoming an uncle for the first time. And yet, I know that those people benefit most if I can give them attention and affection from a place of personal abundance rather than obligation.

Plus, I've created meaningful memories of my own: I co-created a pop-up restaurant, launched a podcast, took yoga teacher training and started freediving!

As much as I enjoyed my 12 years in Toronto, I realised that as time went on I was reaching further and further back to cite examples where I'd taken real risk. Times that I had been my own inspiration.

So no, I don’t think I’m "coming back".

For a lot of reasons, but primarily because that person and that place doesn’t exist.