I have an intense fear of bugs, I’m petrified of the water (you would be too if you didn’t know how to swim), and I’d rather get a root canal than put on a bathing suit—something I haven’t done since I was 10—lie in the sun for hours, sweating, awaiting an inevitable migraine, and watching my pale white skin skip the alluring bronze stage and morph into a violent lobster red. So, unlike the masses of travelers who yearn for days romping through the sand and ocean, I ventured to a villa on a remote Bahamian island for a friend’s birthday more anxious than blissful. After all, this would not be like the resorts I’ve visited in tropical climes before: there would be no indulgent pina coladas, there would be no trips into town to mingle with locals (a casualty of not having a town), and there would be no wifi. This time around I would have to rely on books, conversation, and my overactive imagination to pass the time.
Except a funny thing happened: There were no museum visits, no films to see, but I enjoyed myself. Immensely.
I thrive amid the energy of cities, navigating new cultures, and would never choose a vacation that favors down time over stimulation. Yet paradise immediately seduced me this time, and for three days I wanted to do nothing but watch the sunrise, spend hours reading on the patio with coffee, smile at crawling hermit crabs, drink aged rum with strangers, and fall asleep to the sounds of waves audible through charming white shutters. I may not have dived 20 feet into the water or come back with snorkeling tales, but I can’t remember a time I was more grounded in the present.
We can’t summon serene, lush surroundings at the drop of a hat, so what is the trick? How can we find anchoring patches of Zen without having to get on a plane? Would love to hear how you have stepped beyond your comfort zone to find a bit of much needed enlightenment.