Every two years my family does this awesome thing where we go on a trip together to somewhere we've never been before. This year, we hit the Caribbean. My island-vibe, reggae-music-loving soul threw its arms up in the air and swayed in celebration. In fact, years ago, when I first posted the map up in my closet with my travel wish-list, I used up all my pins on the entire tropical region South of Florida. Every clear-watered little micro-island fully peaked my interested. (Noticing a theme of manifestation in these posts? Key takeaway: make a vision board).
"We're going to Anguilla," my mom announced.
We arrived at night, but the air was still hot and balmy. The pace was unmistakably slow and unhurried. As much as I am the opposite of slow and unhurried, I remembered my intention to "go slow" this year and thanked the universe again, for leading me to the perfect place to practice. Of course.
Driving across the island, the beats of reggae music and the smell of barbecue in local yards wafted through the air. The feel was sleepy, but festive - as one seems to find in this latitude. The vibes are high, but the energy is slow.
A blast of magnificent aqua water greeted my eyes in the morning. I climbed my way down to the beach where I found some of the most untouched sand I'd ever encountered. Most of the time, my sister and I were the only ones there. You could see the purity in the aquatic life: from the conch-littered seafloor to the scorpion fish nibbling the rocks, this sea was a true safe-haven.
I felt so energized in Anguilla - seriously, physically energized. I found myself kicking up into handstands and notching up the intensity during my yoga sessions, often finding myself doing a second session late at night with more energy left over. I don't know if it was the bright, powerful full moon, the recharge of this vacation surging into instant effect, or simply, the energy of the island, but I felt so charged here.
This charge led to extra enthusiasm and a lot of extra zesty spice - paired with my tendency to want to see everything and anything I possibly can. To get the feel, to try the food, to meet the people. With six people on a trip though, we had some pretty different kinds of plans in mind.
To speed up the part of the story where all the things I planned didn't go my way that week:
I basically got my ass and a ton of lessons handed to me again and again. From restrictive diets getting obliterated, to plans being swerved on, to my siblings getting on all my nerves (love you guys), to some personal items getting swept away in the ocean, to repeating the same restaurants over and over again (even though I am a die-hard one-time, see-it-all kind of person).
Let me be the first to acknowledge: these are petty dramas. But relatable if you've ever spent any time with a group of family members - or really, just a group of people in general.
Compromise, compromise, compromise. Adjust, adjust, adjust.
In my case during this trip: change them, change them, change them. Resist, resist, resist.
I was itching to check out the surrounding islands: St. Maarten and St. Barths being the most accessible and highest on my list. Pushing my family to make a trip to the two, we finally got to the ferry dock. Upon arrival, the captain announced that the channel was going to be real rough.
My dad didn't have to hear anything else, "Alright, call a taxi."
Every alarm signal in my adventure-hungry, tunnel-visioned body went off: "NO! I'm going!"
"You most definitely are NOT going!" My dad scolded like I was back in middle school.
Right then and there, in the middle of the port of Anguilla, I threw a tantrum even a two-year-old would be jealous of. Yeah. I did. Can't say it was my best moment.
The best part? After all that drama, I realized I didn't even have my passport on me to get onto the next island. (Booyah).
"Go with the flow," I heard.
It wasn't a magical whisper in the wind that woke me up. It wasn't something earth-shattering that hit me in a meditation, or an energetic yoga flow, or during a journaling session, or while reading, or while working, or during a peaceful moment on the beach.
It was actually months later, while sitting down to write this post.
I realized that that big trip - which was enjoyable and dynamic and beautiful - could've been that much better had I just gone with the freakin' flow. Without imposing all of my plans and forcing my ideas of how it "should" look, be, or feel, I could've been present. I could've been just been there.
But I couldn't have known this then, because then was there to teach me this. This lesson was waiting patiently for me on my family trip to the Caribbean. Waiting to punch me in the face later on as I reflected deeply on what was taught to me.
And what a better place to learn to go with the flow and to be present than on an island in the Caribbean Sea?
I choose to share these lessons because I believe if I am fortunate enough to have these adventures, then I shall share their teachings. Travel has been my greatest teacher simply because it's what lights my soul on fire. For my sister, that soul-igniter is horse-back-riding and pimping out her truck. ("Lessons I've Learned While Pimping Out My Truck")
No, but seriously, she's probably learned more than we think.
Everything we do is a metaphor for the bigger picture.
We're attracted to what we're attracted to for good reason: that's where our lessons come from.
You don't need to travel far and wide unless everything in you calls you to do so. You don't need to venture across the globe to have big realizations. Lessons come in all kinds of ways specific to you every single day. Just listen.
Meanwhile, I'm here to offer a little guidance with what I've learned along the way.
Maybe you've even learned something too.
I hope so.
After all, you were drawn here somehow, weren't you?
Sending love + hopes for good lessons,