Connecting, Resetting and Carrying the Island Vibes.
Leaving the airport exit. The car makes right hand turn. The yellow line is to my right. And I am in the passenger seat, on the right side of the car. The line turns from a double yellow painted strip on the pavement. To a concrete barrier. Dividing us from the other lane of traffic.
For a moment my heart races and I become uncomfortable. But in a matter of seconds I gaze around and realize, this side of the road, even though it is different from what it know. Is the right side to be on. Easing those butterflies in my stomach.
As we meander around the curving, narrow roads, horns beep constantly. Like in the streets of a busy city. There is one difference in the honking of the car horns. They seem friendly and seldom it is one beep, but usually a few, short ones. I ask my good friend and Island legend, Bill Kraft, "why are they honking?" He says, "it is our way of saying thank you or saying go ahead." Makes sense to me, and it makes the horns a bit more pleasant knowing it comes from a place of goodness. And in the case of this place it is not the only thing coming from a place of goodness.
It's been a few years since that first trip to Virgin Islands. And with each encounter, everything becomes a bit more familiar, quicker than the times before. I would be lying if that first right hand turn out of the airport doesn't still get me. Along with the first few honks from other drivers horns.
The island vibes are why I feel compelled to write this blog.
It is something that always lingers with me days, months and now years after my trips. The simple, yet mindful living of the islands is always something that grabs ahold of me. Friendly waves and hellos to everyone is one of my favorites. Rivaled by the common courtesy to ask a total stranger, "how are you?"Followed by a full conversation with them, as if you have known each other for years.
Many of us struggle with adaptation. We bring our lives into this world and expect them to act like us. Instead of pausing and understanding that we are guests and this is their world, that they open up to us. This past trip, I felt myself doing the later more than ever. Moving slowly. Reacting a bit less. And being present. The result. A full reset. And connection with the people and place I spent a bit of time with.
As I returned to the hustle and bustle of the United States. My trip
took a few lefts and rights. I had some delays on flights. Cancelled flights. And one long, long travel day. But I didn't feel my anxiety rise. Or become agitated. I looked at what the situation presented and orchestrated a plan around it.
Controlling the only thing I could. Me.
After a couple full nights of sleep. They feeling has not dissipated. It is still with me. And feels stronger than ever.
Whether your next trip brings you to a neighboring town. Or to a far off exotic land. Try and surrender. Be present. And mindful of the locals. See what things there are to learn from their way of life. The takeaway might be small or life changing. And we only know if we try.