In July of 2014, after almost ten years of living in East Africa between Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, we decided it was time to reevaluate our geographic location. Africa has been a prevalent aspect of my life since I was just a child, and after a decade of living and working there, it has become very much a part of who I am. For our family, it’s a fundamental element of our identity.
We’ve always been deliberate about where we live and about our lifestyle in general. I am able to do my work (brand development, writing, consulting, activism) from anywhere in the world. All I need is an Internet connection. Once again we felt the urge to recalibrate and craft the life we want according to our ever evolving ethos and priorities.
The most important aspect of our lives is our family, and specifically our deliberate investment in the perspective of our children. When searching for a new place to live, this is always our guiding foundation.
The last 20 or so years have been intense, largely due to the initiatives in human rights we’ve chosen to dedicate ourselves to. We’ve not lived an “easy” life. We’ve struggled a lot. But those struggles have also helped us become wiser, and a bit more enlightened. Now we are growing a family, and our priorities are evolving. We take the responsibility and privilege of parenting very seriously.
I blogged about it our view of parenting just recently. THESE DIVINE, LIMITELSS SOULS ARE NOT OUR OWN
Late last year, we decided that 2015 would be our year of ease. I’ve realized that if my life is a constant fight, I have less energy and ability to affect the world in a positive way. So, we’re adjusting accordingly.
We decided it was time to take some deliberate actions to get us into the flow of the universe. It’s time to stop fighting and start flowing. I also had an idea that kept resurfacing in my mind incessantly: sacred. I have always been drawn to sacred things. I wanted to have more sacred experiences and also create them for others.
In August, I informed my business partners that I would be leaving Nairobi. Over the next couple months, we sold or gave away almost everything we had accumulated in our ten years in that region. It was time to reinvent our family. In September, my wife and daughter traveled to my home town of Nashville so we could spend some time with family. I followed in November. I hadn’t been to the U.S. in about two years.
We had been discussing moving to Florianopolis, Brazil, and that was the hook that drew us out of Kenya. It gave us something to aim for. But something just didn’t’ feel right. So we listened more. We meditated and prayed. Then my sister mentioned Costa Rica. Neither of us had ever thought about it before. So we began exploring the politics, culture, art and climate of Costa Rica.
Over the previous year, we had also been discussing the addition of another child to our family. Saoirse was 2 ½ years old and Francois was 20, ready to make his way in his homeland of Rwanda. The timing was right. While I was back in Nairobi for a couple weeks for work, I got a call from Ilea. “We’re pregnant!”
On January 21st, we experienced yet another surprise. We’re having twins. As a guy, this is obviously a concept that had never even crossed my mind. It was surreal. We were in disbelief. But there we were with an ultrasound photo in our hands that showed us two little bambinos. One boy. One girl.
After the initial shock, we transitioned into extreme gratitude for this double blessing. I felt like the Double Rainbow guy.
At that point, the natural and easy thing for us to do would have been to stay in Nashville and play it safe. But we knew we would just be putting off the lifestyle we really wanted for our family. Despite knowing that the twin pregnancy added another layer of difficulty to our adventure, we stayed committed to following our dreams.
On March 3rd, I wrote a blog post titled, AND SO WE LEAP, about our decision to move to Costa Rica, and why we continue to take the big leaps we take. Additionally, we decided not to mention Ilea’s pregnancy on any social media until after the birth. We wanted to keep this move and pregnancy sacred.
The more we researched, the more we realized Costa Rica might be just the type of peaceful, mindful, equatorial, tropical beach environment we were looking for.
We knew very quickly that we were getting into the flow of life, just as we had intended. It seemed everywhere we turned, someone was talking about Costa Rica. We were flooded with stories, connections and opportunities from every direction.
On March 24th, we packed up eight suitcases with all our belongings and got on a plane to San Jose, Costa Rica. Ilea was 4 ½ months pregnant, and we were dropping into a country we had never even visited before. One of my lifelong friends lives in San Jose, and he provided a soft landing and some good connections for us.
Since then, we have met some of the most incredible people, seen so many exotic places and had a ton of truly extraordinary experiences. I gave a talk about UBUNTU REVOLUTION at the DO Lectures, held at the amazing Puerta a la Vida. Already there have been a multitude of “sacred” opportunities rising up for us. More than we could have imagined.
On the morning of August 4th, Ilea awoke at 4:00 AM and knew it was the day these little souls would join us. Everything progressed very quickly. Our drive to the hospital would have made the cast of Fast & Furious quite proud. It was intense. But we made it, unscathed, and without having to deliver babies in traffic.
Over the previous months, we managed to find the exact type of hospital, doctor, midwife and pediatrician we wanted. They are all proponents of natural childbirth, and keeping this experience sacred, rather than clinical. This was yet another blessing that was nothing short of miraculous.
Ilea was like some sort of celestial being. She was glowing, confident and in the flow. At 12:40 PM, just three hours after arriving at the hospital, she gave birth to our firstborn son. Ten minutes later our second daughter was born. She took no painkillers, no Pitocin, no epidural and didn’t even have an IV during the birth. It was a100% natural birth. For a twin birth, this is almost unheard of.
We were allowed to keep the babies on her chest, with no baths, immediately after they were birthed. They weren’t bathed until the next day. The bonding was profound. It was just the two of us at the hospital, thanks to my nurturing and generous mother that flew in from Nashville to take care of Saoirse (and us) during the birth.
So here we are. A year after we decided to deliberately manifest our ideal lifestyle. We currently live in beautiful Santa Ana, Costa Rica on the side of a mountain in a wonderful, peaceful community. In about five months, we will complete this leg of our journey by moving to Nosara, a perfect, deliberate little beach community full of yogis, surfers, spiritual gurus and organic food.
Our lives have never been easy. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve seen a lot. We’ve suffered and toiled. For much of my life, people sort of joked about me being cursed with always having to learn the hard way. Money hasn’t come easy to us either, mostly because it was just never a priority.
But we are growing and evolving. We’re taking every difficult situation and asking, “How can we view this differently?” A year ago, we were struggling and losing faith. Today, we are inspired and living out our dreams.
It hasn’t all been simple and easy. But we can certainly see proof that our belief in our ideals and willingness to deliberately manifest them is paying off. We are getting into the flow. We have more energy and peace in our lives than ever before. And I’m sure we’ll need it as we embark on this next year of raising newborn twins, a three year old and launching multiple new projects.
We are so grateful. For these beautiful, healthy babies. For our son that is growing into a man. For our daughter that is finding her place in this world. For our health and wellness. For the family that loves and supports us. For the friends and other influences that inspire us. For the awe inspiring, peaceful environment of Costa Rica.
And most of all, we are grateful to be in this sacred flow of life. It’s been a long journey, but today we are learning to see the miracles in every moment, and to believe in our ideals. We no longer need to know all the details or the ending. We trust that the universe is working our favor, and so we leap.
Life is meant to be sacred, flowing and extraordinary. All we have to do is believe and find peace in each moment as we step closer to our dreams.
Thank you Zion Sol and Teya Jupiter for choosing us as your parents. We are eternally grateful and honored to join you on your journey.