Friday, December 17, 2010
I've been a work horse all my life. It almost seems like I'm not living if I'm not working. It could be actually working like in an office or writing as in a screenplay or marketing my book as in Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer (I'm throwing that in for my friend who needles me about my endless plugs for my book) or taking care of children or grandchildren. But I'm always working at something.
The question has been: is it ever possible for me to actually relax and enjoy doing practically nothing or actually nothing. There are those who have no problem with that; I'm not one of them. At least, I haven't been up until recently.
Last week, on my vacation to Curacao, an island in the Caribbean that is close to Venezuela and part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), I became a believer that relaxation was possibility in my life. Maybe it was the company I was keeping on the island or maybe it was the island itself - the small isolated beaches that were practically empty, the sound of the water lulling me into a mindless stupor, the birds endless singing in the palm trees, the warmth of the Caribbean waters - maybe all of that was the reason why I was actually chilling. Or maybe it was the cherubic smile that was always on the face of my companion. But I gave up my control of my universe. I surrendered all thought, all anxiety, all sense of thinking that I was missing something elsewhere in the world. I relaxed fully and joyfully. Of course, it's always nice to have some help.
I love to travel. I feel like I can have full range of motion on with my life. The journey away from the comfort of my home and the routine of my life is therapeutic. I may fight my way into my time away from Los Angeles; I may not want to really go a week before, but when when I settle in on that plane to somewhere, I know I am in the right place.
Perhaps it's the seduction of wanderlust. It engulfs me from time to time and when I am away from home, I am truly away without much thought to what is going on back at the ranch. And I think I have become partial to islands because I felt the same way in Bali in August. These island cultures sweep me away with their indigenous populations and particular habits and behaviors. Their cultures fascinate me and I dive head first into the history of its land and people. There is so much to see and so much to learn. Judgments are limited and perspective enlarge.
We stayed at a place called The Scuba Lodge. It doesn't look much different on the outside from the other buildings in the block except for those buildings that are being renovated, and they, too, will eventually become little boutique residences for tourists. The buildings are all in the neo-colonial architecture style, each with a different brightly painted color. And if you know anything about Curacao, the locals love color. It's the most colorful island of all of the Caribbean islands. However, behind the gate of our choice of residence, we found the most charming atmosphere. A married couple from Holland (they moved to Curacao thirteen years ago) own and operate the Scuba Lodge and they also run a diving school. There is no sandy beach behind the building, but there are steps to the warm ocean waters where the divers enter. The scene is so serene, especially when we sit at the bar and look out over the ocean at sunset. The Dutch youth who work at the lodge are personable, bright, funny and way good looking. They make espresso and serve breakfast in the morning and if you want a late snack at night, they can whip up a tuna sandwich that will knock your socks off. The lodge is clean and well kept.
My friend and I practically had the run of the place. We arrived a week before the season officially began and we parked ourselves at the bar or danced tango in the big room surrounded by scuba equipment and wet suits and blasted our tango music. During the late hours of the morning, many people dropped by to socialize and catch up on some local gossip. We met people from Finland and Holland and Germany. The place reminded me of what Key West might have been like when Hemingway visited. People of like minds, travelers, writers, ex-Pats, gather in a place to commune with one another in an honest exchange of ideas and opinions. We can all discover the history of a place, it's origins and culture and present mood, but it's the people one meets on the road to that discovery which makes the experience come alive. During the days, we snorkeled at the various small beaches and saw live coral and so many types of fish that I lost track of them all. I can still smell the salt water and taste it on my mouth. Glorious days of floating and swimming will live on in my memory. The stillness in the water was incredible.
I am now sitting in my son's kitchen in Vegas babysitting three of my grandsons and looking forward to spending more of my vacation time with my family. This will be yet another way of letting go and surrendering to the present and not returning my thoughts to my home. Bodies and minds in motion - it's a wonderful place to be.
Happy holidays to everyone. A joyous and peaceful new year to all.