Not my Circus! Not My Monkeys!

I watched the talking heads on CNN the other night and suddenly realized that I was screaming at the TV, “Not my circus! Not my monkeys!”  When my anxiety decreased, I became aware that these two simple phrases have a lot of meaning in my life lately. Then, I burst out laughing.

There are many situations that are beyond my control and I realized that those two sentences reflect the central problem when we try to control what is not ours to control.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a control freak. I am the ringmaster directing many parts of the three-ring circus in my life. Until recently, I have relished the role of ringmaster. Yet, something is missing from my life. We both feel that we are in maintenance mode, going through the motions on Ometepe Island with a ho-hum been there-done that attitude.

What if someone else walked into our circus and took over? Could we walk out of our established lives with only two suitcases and a yearning for something new and stimulating?

Too many things own us in our lives now, and we need to detach! This is our circus we lovingly created and we can control what happens in our circus. It has been challenging, exhilarating, and at times frustrating. Yet, we have learned so much in our time here in Nicaragua.

As we learn the process of detachment, I will reflect those thoughts on my blog. We know the time has come to let go and move on. Giving up the role as ringmaster is not one bit depressing. It is exciting and freeing for us!

If you have been a reader of my blog, you probably know that nothing happens fast in Nicaragua. We have learned to be patient and live in the moment.
Where will we go? Who knows! The only thing we are certain of is that we will never buy property again. We still have a house in Tennessee and we will store a few personal things there. Then, we hope to travel the world, two or three months in one place. I will have a lot of fodder for my blog with new nomadic lifestyles.

Severing ties is never easy, but for us it is the right decision. It probably won’t be for another year. It depends on many things. But you will be the first to know!

You have followed me through our construction phase, our honeymoon phase and our maintenance phase. Now, follow me through our letting go phase. I am sure it will have quite a few surprises, and twists and turns along the way!

Soon to be not my circus, not my monkeys anymore!


44 thoughts on “Not my Circus! Not My Monkeys!


  2. HOLA DEB!!!!!

  3. HI !!!!!!
    you would never buy a property again?????? hmmmmmm… that makes me think….tom. I’m heading to Lo Del Marcos …near San Pancho and about an hour from where I’m living now in.puerto vallarta , mexico!!!!! love it … but i want something still slower but …up and coming … with a beautiful beach …sooo ill let ya know .
    Loved the article and again … so happy i found you!!!!!!

  4. Not sure if I should respond here or on today’s re-blog. This post hits home in many ways and stirs a myriad of thoughts. I tend to hang on to things and am in the process, not much right at the moment as I’m busy with other things, of trying to de-clutter. I know I’ll never get to the point of being able to walk out with two backpacks, but I hope to be lighter. I think that I’m more of a person who wants a fixed base and then travels out from there quite often. I’m fine with that. I’ll look forward to reading about your next and new adventure/s and pray all the best for them wherever they take you.

    I like the phrase “Not my circus, not my monkeys” and used it just yesterday as a matter of fact. 🙂


    • Janet, it has been a whirlwind of stress, uncertainty, and sadness lately. What is happening in Nicaragua is unbelievable and it erupted into violence practically overnight.
      We missed our opportunity to sell our place unless we want to have a revolution sale, but an amazing thing happened last week. A lovely family who recently moved to Ometepe Island from Managua rented our house for 3 years. The serindipitous moments in our lives are incredible.
      Anyway, we are busy packing, sorting, and giving away an accumulation of things. We are trying to reduce the clutter in our lives. This revolution or one sided war or whatever you want to call it, forced us to focus on the important things in our lives and materialistic possessions are way down at the bottom of our list. Wish us luck! It is going to be a wild ride!

      • Of course possessions are down the list of important things. I’m sorry it had to end this way, but I’m glad for the family renting your house. Praying that the ride is only wild in the best possible ways and that you stay safe and happy!

  5. Hopefully my le will heal and I’ll be walking soon. We will settle in iArizona . Then, would love to meet you in Europe, where we plan to rent in 3 month increments . See you in the not too distant future !

  6. After reading your blogs – why am I not surprised!!! I totally understand the need to keep moving and discovering – Peter and I have “home-based” in Guanajuato, Mexico, and enjoying traveling and discovering new people and experiences from here…. Thanks for sharing! (Be sure to visit us — when we’re here — when you come back to Central Mexico.)

  7. Life is like a novel with many chapters. You are going into another chapter of your life. It is always so exciting and adventurous.
    We understand your desire to explore the world. Our chapter here is Boquete, Panama has been great but we realize life is too short and we are rolling stones. The day will come and we will venture into our next chapter as well.
    We wish you safe and extraordinary next chapter!

    John and Susan

    • Sorry for the late response, John and Susan, but my internet tower got zapped by lightning and destroyed my router and my dish on top of the tower. But, the good news is that I could let it go and not frantically try to fix the problem! 🙂 Not my circus, not my monkeys! Roll on! It is a big world out there!

  8. There seem to be points in life where people either move on or not. Three years in is fairly typical — the house is built, the exotic has faded. I joined some Nicaraguan FB groups in areas that have always been lifetime interests of mine, and have orchids, fish tanks, and cameras here. I will have been here seven years at the end of the month. Vaguely think about Mexico, but not really that seriously. My movements are more internal — doing photography more seriously, probably going back to study Spanish more intensely, maybe doing needlework again (like with dogs, putting the toys away for a while before bringing them out again tends to make them seem new again). I never bought a house here. I have more places to see in Nicaragua and at the 11 year mark, I’ll be in my seventies. I’ve lived longer and longer in places, and 14 years would be as long as I’ve lived anywhere as an adult. Never felt any need to fix Nicaragua, admire what has been happening here over the last seven years.

    If I could have afforded New York City in my old age, I’d have been there, and returning to Philadelphia would be an option under some conditions (haven’t looked seriously into that, yet, but still have some connections through FB with people I knew there).

    • You are right, Rebecca. We’ve found that 3 years is the average for expats to move on. What surprises me most is that we never expected to leave Nicaragua. This was our forever home. We still love Nicaragua and especially Ometepe Island, but our intentions in moving actually have nothing to do with our lives in Nicaragua. They are internally motivated. We need change in our lives. Life is good no matter where we hang our hammocks. There is a big world to see and we want to see it without ties to one location.

  9. Aha! You’ve answered a question I’ve long been wondering about Debbie as I’ve sensed a restlessness in some of your posts and a feeling of letting go, a little at a time. The most amazing thing about making a move once and changing countries is that you know how doable the detaching process is and that the goodbyes are balanced (and many times outweighed) by the hellos! So excited for you and Ron and I’ll be following along with interest as you plan your next chapter. And remember, you always have a place to stay here if you want to include Portugal in your wanderings. After reading your blog for so many years I feel as if I know you and I’d love it if our paths crossed! Anita

    • Anita, was it that obvious? I think that many times, I write my blog posts to answer questions I have about life. Putting my thoughts into words clarifies many things for me.
      We are definitely coming your way. Years ago, we thought about settling in Portugal, but at the time we had aging parents and needed to be more centrally located. Once we sell our property and our belongings, we will truly be free. There are so many places we want to go! I don’t think we will be nesting again. We tend to do things backwards in our lives. I think I’ll work on a blog post to explain that in more detail. Hugs!

      • There’s such a sense of freedom in shedding all the stuff, Debbie and making a jump into the unknown. I’m sure your neighbors are thinking “crazy” but I’ll bet you and Ron got that several years ago when you made the move to Nicaragua too. It’s hard to explain the “itch” to someone who’s rooted but the excitement of new places and new adventures is re-energizing and amazing! I’ll bet you guys can’t stop smiling! 🙂 Anita

  10. Yo will always be welcome at our home in Pedasi, Panama. When you want a beach break, come see us, we have so many beautiful beaches, plus great fishing and surfing. Buena Suerte on your next adventures,

  11. Not my circus, not my monkeys is one of our favorite sayings here! It will be interesting to see what the future brings you. I want to travel and see other places, but I don’t have the urge to move somewhere else. I wonder if that will change someday. Don’t watch the TV though. There is too much stuff going on and it will only make you crazy, really crazy. I’m glad I got to visit your circus before you moved on. What a magical place and what beautiful people.

    • Thanks, Kris! We have no idea what the future holds for us, but the time for us to detach has come. At this point in our lives, “stuff” is meaningless. Ideally we’d like to walk out the door with two backpacks. We’ll see how that goes. Haha. Now, we will be free to come visit your circus! Hugs!

  12. Will your animnals go with the house then when it’s sold? I couldn’t do that. My cats would have to move with me.

    • Oh Sunni, that is the only dilemma we have. When we moved here 7 years ago, we left our cat, Tokyo with our good friends who are renting our house. Tokyo passed away last week after 17 years of a wonderful life. We had a chocolate lab named Canela, and we gave her to a loving family who sent us photos of Canela and we always kept in touch. Canela passed away yesterday. I am heartbroken, but we know we did the right thing by leaving them in the states. Neither of them would have survived long in Nicaragua.
      Ideally, our rescue pets here would stay with the house and new owners. It would be impossible to take them with us. We’ll see what happens. I don’t even want to think about that, yet! It is too hard.

  13. Already looking forward to your next adventure (which will probably happen tomorrow😊) but also excited to see what happens in the next year!

  14. Hello Debbie!
    I feel maybe partially responsible for fueling the moving fever, at least recently! Oh well, That is how it goes some times! I was thinking a Yard Sale might help liquidate some of the excess stuff… I know that is so ‘American’ but do you think it could work on Ometepe?

    • Haha, Steve. No worries. You only confirmed what we have been feeling for a long time. I am excited for you, too. Life certainly is an adventure. At this point, we may sell a few things on the Ometepe Exchange site, but most of the stuff we want to sell with the house. It will be a lot easier to let the new owners decide what they want to keep and sell. Hugs. Our items should be at Carrie’s house when you arrive. Thanks so much!

  15. This will strike home to any of us who are perpetually curious to know what’s around that next bend in the road! We roam until we find a place that tugs at the invisible threads of our hearts/souls, and we linger there — until some subtle whisper nudges us forward. Sometimes those come as strong kicks — ‘Get Moving!’

    There are people to meet,places to see – and amazing experiences around that next bend!

    Ah, I so understand and embrace your decision.

  16. Whoaaaaaa…
    I soooooooo feel like that ,,,one part of me want s to build my lil off the grid small houses with an outdoor living room , compost toilets , my own veggie garden with no pesticides sprayed on them ,,, and then ,,, I’m like ,,,dang ,,,
    then Im stuck ,,,,there ,,,,,for a long time ,,,do i really want to go this direction…?
    SO , i rented a great house in a gated ,,but gorgeous community in Antigua for one year ….lots happens in a year …
    my 84 year old mom will love it , and my lil 7 year old doggie , Lulu Ball.Were in Lake Atitlan now…
    I will enjoy shooting weddings there , meeting new people ,,,and en joying my” this summers ” travel period of 6 weeks to the Azores Islands in Portugal and Miami ,,,,
    But do I want to build ……???
    And put out the elephants …??
    Im 63 .. can’t take my mom out there …forever either ……dang ,
    life is a choice ..ever changing!!!!
    Im very happy tho to have only a little storage unit now in Florida …and that Im out of the downfall of the states …but do I really want to build????
    Many Blessings

    • Oh you are so funny, Heidi. The difference between us is that we already completed the building phase and made a wonderfully comfortable nest. You still have to build your dream. Only then, will you be safisfied and fulfilled. Always follow your dreams. Put out the elephants! Dream big! Hugs!

      • thanks for the advise …. I’m not getting any younger either…hardy har…!!
        Onward , for now with Heidi’s Heaven !!! xo

  17. It is so timely for me to be reading this–I only moved to Nicaragua 10 months ago, but I’ve discovered that, after 15 years of solid work and no real vacations, I’m not ready to settle down yet and need to scratch my itchy feet some more. Or, as you might say, free my Gypsy Toes to wander some more. And, ironically, I thought if I get moving soon, I would have to miss visiting you on Ometepe before I leave the country. Now it’s starting to look as though i may be more likely to run into you somewhere else in the world! I wish you much joy in your preparations and the travels to follow and can’t wait to hear about your new adventures!

  18. Oh this is so exciting! I support your decision to embrace that gypsy lifestyle! Have you ever considered joining Trusted House sitters? We have met so many interesting people who travel the world housesitting for other expats. One couple in particular are Duncan & Jane, you will find them just so fascinating…check out their web sight … They are really living the life and having the most amazing adventures all over the world! You can also friend Jane on FB…she loves to share her insight with anyone who is interested in living that type of life! Seems just exactly like what you would love!

    • Oh Holly, I thought of you when I wrote this post. We’ll bring our circus to visit you. There are so many places we want to go and things we want to do! We have no desire to be house sitters. It would be like trying to take care of someone else’s circus. We want to be totally free to go where we want, live on our own terms. No attachments. Yet, if the circumstances are right and we find ourselves in a place in the world that needs house sitters for a week or two, we may consider it.
      Our gypsytoes have been itching for a year now. Is that what the 7 year itch is all about? LOL

  19. Your small three ring circus moves from town to town with the same old monkey and cast but working on a brand new show. I’m excited and I’ll be watching for some new tricks and balancing acts. As for the big circus in Washington DC, everybody is a monkey and can easily jump over the bar which cannot be lowered any more. It’s lying flat on the ground. Bruno

    • Haha! So true, Bruno! Love your analogy. Before we get this circus on the road, we have some major purging to do. Yesterday, I found a trunk full of old electronic equipment that has been stored for 7 years…2 dvd players, an old kindle, 2 routers that got zapped during a lightning storm, and miles of wires and attachments. Problem is that there is no place to dispose of it here. So, I am donating it all to our local electronic repair man for parts. it is incredible what the locals can fix with just odds and ends. I know it will be put to good use.
      Once we get this circus on the road, we may come visit you. Hugs!

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