Strike Five…Listening to the Signs

Traveling Psychologist Blog
Date: January 3, 2022
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona


It all started with an itch to travel again. Having been locked up in my apartment alone for over a year due to the pandemic, I decided that I would “hit the road” and work remotely for the months of November and December. My original plan was to be in Vietnam in November and Thailand in December. That quickly changed when I realized I could not get a Visa to Vietnam and Thailand’s borders were still closed. My plan then switched to Cape Town, South Africa in November and Bali in December. The Universe apparently did not like that one either because it was near impossible to find a flight to Bali. Plan C…Cape Town in November and Medellin, Colombia in December.

Now, I have to be honest. I was not thrilled about going to Medellin, Colombia (first intuitive hit!) and it definitely was not my first choice. A desperation to travel made me pick the first place that met two criteria: one, I had never been there before and two, it was easy to enter the country during the pandemic. I endured a lot of smack from family and friends for deciding to travel during a pandemic. Although the warnings from my loved ones were well-intended, every phone call hit a nerve. With every phone call I received from yet another friend or family member warning me not to travel, I would look down at the tattoo I recently had inked into my left forearm that says “Live Fearless” and forge on with my plans.

Upon landing in Cape Town, a series of events began that made me think my friends and family were on to something…

The apartment I leased during my time in Cape Town was a spacious two-bedroom apartment overlooking the waterfront. I decided to opt-in for having a roommate during my stay there since part of my goal for traveling was to “be social and meet new people.” Within the first two days, I quickly realized I would have been happier if decided to room alone (long story!). Strike one…

Cape Town apartment

Apartment with an amazing view in Cape Town.

As the weeks passed in Cape Town, I decided to take a 4-day trip along the Garden Route with a few friends. The whole of this trip was absolutely amazing…except for when I fell climbing up a waterfall while we were hiking and dislocated my shoulder. Two emergency room visits and one very handsome orthopedic surgeon later, the shoulder was sore and in a sling but OK. Strike two…

Garden Route Chris Crew

My Garden Route gang that after my shoulder injury affectionately got nicknamed the “Chris Crew.” <3

Upon returning from my Garden Route trip, news of the Omicron virus went viral (pun intended!) and South Africa was being put on “the list” with many countries making it hard to not get OUT of the country, but to get IN anywhere else! No one wanted someone who had been visiting South Africa in November. Strike three…

After several hours of creative flight maneuvering, I was finally able to get to Medellin, Colombia (sore shoulder and all!). The minute I landed in Colombia, something felt off to me. I could not put my finger on it, but I felt unsafe…not because I was in an unsafe neighborhood or with unsafe people, it was just a feeling in my bones I cannot explain. Strike four…

Learning my lesson well from Cape Town, I had a private apartment in Medellin. Nestled in the cute little town of Poblado and within walking distance of the local town, I found myself still not feeling “right.” Maybe it was the 90-degree hill I had to walk up every morning to get to the space I was working from every day…who knows! Hoping the feeling would pass in a couple of days once I settled in, I forged on.


You have to walk the hill to appreciate it!

After being in Medellin a little over a week, the feeling still hadn’t subsided and I woke up that next Friday morning feeling a bit “off.” I went to dinner that night with a group of friends, politely bowed out of the bar-hopping that was about to ensue, and made my way back to my little apartment in Poblado. The minute I opened my eyes on Saturday morning I knew something was wrong…runny nose, sneezing, slight congestion. Strike five…

Now, most people would get to “Strike three” and call it quits, but I tend to run on the stubborn side. I probably don’t need to tell you the first thing that went through my mind when I woke up feeling ill. What terrified me the most was not the possibility of having COVID, but being “stuck” in a place where I did not feel safe. I immediately called the on-call nurse (a great perk that came with the apartment complex!) and as I waited for her to arrive, I made a decision…if my COVID test was negative, I was flying home the next day. Thankfully, the results came back negative and I quickly called American Airlines to book a flight back to the U.S. the next morning, arriving in Scottsdale 3 weeks earlier than originally planned.

It has always been my belief and experience that the Universe has our back. We get signs in the form of many things…people, events, illnesses, gut feelings, etc., all trying to gently nudge us in the direction that is part of our higher path. We sometimes just do not listen. Our job is to listen and make a choice to take action (or not). It is in the interpretation of these signs where we get confused. Our logical brains kick in and talk us out of the direction in which our instincts are nudging us. Many times we do not realize these signs as “signs” but rather think it is just our brain playing tricks on us. Sometimes we need to see more than one in order for the light bulb to go off. Other times, more often than not, the pieces of the puzzle come together after an unfortunate event has happened and we are looking back at the signs.

Soccer game in Medellin, Colombia.

I personally look at each event in my life and if I was able to take away a valuable lesson that I can use in the future, then it was worth it. One way I could interpret these events is that I should have listened to my friends and family and not traveled to begin with. Since I have learned to not “should on” myself or others over the years, I chose not to entertain that option. What I did walk away with from this experience is that down deep I DO know what is best for me. Looking back, I had a feeling while I was still in Cape Town to just go home. Making the decision to travel to Colombia anyway taught me how much I am protected from the unknown sources above (angels, God, my guides, etc.), given all of the events I seemed to be able to get through without truly causing more harm to myself. It also taught me to trust myself whether it makes logical sense or not. Logic gets in the way of our inner voice yearnings. It is our human habit to put logic above intuition. Earth is our school and we must learn to look at each experience we have, find the lesson, and gently leave the experience behind rather than questioning ourselves over and over again. We cannot change our past choices, but we can use those past choices to help us make better ones, ones more in alignment with our highest good, in the future.

At the end of the day, I am glad I chose to travel and I learned lessons I could not have possibly learned from my apartment in Scottsdale. So to all of my friends and family who urged me not to travel, I love you for watching out for me…but I’ve got this!

Clouds from plane

Taken on my flight home to Scottsdale.

Listening to the signs that this blog is long enough…forge on listening to your own signs and Happy New Year!

Dr. Chris

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