I have a cup of tea beside me, a bowl of mangoes and am looking out over the waves from the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the black sand beach at the bottom of the hill.
My only plan for today is to have a pot of tea being constantly refilled and perhaps taking a stroll down to the water. There’s no urgency to play tourist today, no desire to leave the house at all.
I know, it sounds blissful, doesn’t it? To be sitting up in a beautiful, open concept home for free thanks to an amazing offer on Couchsurfing.com, perched on a hill high above the sea in the Caribbean, with the freedom to do absolutely nothing but drink tea, nap on the beach and take a dip in the water if that’s what I so choose.
Why then is there a voice inside my head screaming at me to pack my day bag, pull on my sunglasses and go out into the world and do something?! Why can’t I give myself permission to take a day off from constant motion and sight-seeing?
As a traveler with an insatiable need to explore as much of the world as I can, to immerse myself into new cultures and push myself out of my comfort zone, I long ago made the decision to say YES to everything that came my way. But with that decision comes an inevitable result: exhaustion. It has been 143 days since I left home and I am exhausted.
It has been nearly five months of having something to do every single day and nearly every night. My study abroad experience in Barbados was filled with activity, from the Monday-Friday work hours for my practicum to exploring every inch of the island and partaking in the nightlife.. sometimes five days a week. These last five months have been full of life, ending with the opportunity to explore four more islands in the Caribbean before heading home.
I will probably never make it back to this part of the world, to this exact spot on this beautiful island with temperatures that I can only dream of in the never-ending Canadian winters. I should be out, exploring! Seeing everything there is to see! Hiking every mountain and volcano, swimming in every waterfall, visiting every beach!
Permission to do nothing is probably the hardest thing I can give myself, but also the most necessary. Constant motion, for me, leads to resentment. Of the heat, of getting lost, of language barriers. Resentment of the very things that make travel so beautiful. The beauty of being able to visit other countries for more than a day or two is that you can enjoy your time there however you damn well please.
And if that means laying in this bed, with the ocean as my view and my music, and some Netflix on in the background, then so be it. If that means making big, healthy breakfasts, sitting on the porch and catching up with blog posts and journal writing, then that’s what I will do. As of today, I give myself that permission and, if you need justification for yourself, then I give you permission as well.