Is there anything quite as intensely energising as travelling? Somewhere new, somewhere unknown, somewhere that differs enough from the norm that it will test and stretch while providing a new and potent kind of rest.
Travel bloggers and Instagram have this topic well and truly covered, and it’s no secret that the challenge of the unknown provides a creative inspiration to so many facets of our lives.
I sang in the ASU gospel choir during college, one of the most enriching experiences of my collegiate years. In 2008 we travelled to New York City to sing at churches in Harlem over Easter, 150 of us packed into 2 giant buses with all of the crap college students deem indispensable for a 3-day journey.
I fancied myself a bit of an old hand at NYC, having been a few times before, and quickly separated from the majority of the group during our free exploration time.
On the second day, my buddy Tommy and I ordered beers in a neighbohood bar, underage by a few months that we were. The feeling of independence and adulthood was heady: we could navigate NYC on our own, what couldn’t we do?
We were the masters of our own destiny.
My first venture to Asia was a quick trip to Bali in 2014. Asia has a smell to it- distinctive and sweet and laced with the scent of garbage.
The trip itself was fairly basic: we rented a scooter, marvelled at the verdant rice patties, visited temples. I learned to barter in the markets. But through that trip, Asia was opened to me as its own wild world of history, culture, and experiences waiting to be had.
Yesterday was my first day in Costa Rica. I’m travelling solo for this part of the trip, the first time since my New Zealand chapter in 2009. I was due to meet my college best friend, who tragically suffered a broken foot injury only a few weeks ago, rendering travel impossible.
So here I am, enjoying a few days in the sleepy coastal town of Dominical before continuing on to a music and yoga festival for the next 4 days.
The feeling of being an outsider in a new place is tangible, it’s always a stretch experience- especially when solo. I’m on my own schedule with only myself as captain, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.
I’m enjoying my own pace; a little exploring, a little reading, a lot of tacos. Today I’ll rent a board and test the surf, enjoy a Costa Rican sunset.
Back home in reality, my day to day is generally pretty structured. A few key elements, maybe in a different order, but almost always the same. But here, and when travelling, I have the boundless luxury of time and this exhilarating newness to how I approach any given day.
These days, this time, are mine to craft how I will.