Your (Travel) Moments of Awe
Life at home is frantic. You work, you clean, you forget to buy cereal and wind up eating last night’s fish sticks for breakfast. It isn’t always easy to stop and smell the roses.
But when you travel things are supposed to be different. That’s why you mark the start of vacation time on your calendar and count down to the day when you’ll be able to get away from it all.
Yet sometimes you inadvertently bring your hurried world along with you when you travel. You pack your suitcase with socks and shoes… and a hyper need to see a whole country in three days. You plan your trips around important monuments and the expectation that you’ll return home a little more cultured.
You don’t mean to be in a rush, but it’s hard to break from habit.
Then once in awhile there’s a moment that stops you in your tracks. Your itinerary is forgotten for that split minute when the sight in front of you demands your full attention. This is your moment of awe.
I had one on Sunday. Cape Town was too hot to breathe so my boyfriend, JD, and I headed out of town to Llandudno beach. I was lying on the sand of South Africa’s most beautiful beach in what should have been a peaceful moment. But instead I was focused on leaving early enough to do some Christmas shopping before the markets closed and pondering how to drink the beers we’d snuck in without getting caught.
Out in the ocean I could see JD body surfing the waves. He was, remarkably, just in his bathing suit. The guy next to him was smart enough to wear a full wet suit. I should explain that Cape Town’s waters come up to us from Antarctica. They are clear, clean…and f-ing cold. I have to be really, really hot, like set on fire, to go swimming. Yet somehow my boyfriend manages to dive right in, even though he is the one from Africa and I am the one from the North.
Suddenly he was shouting to me and pointing at his body surfing buddy. What a weird guy; he kept jumping. Geez, he was really jumping. I looked closer and saw…it was a seal! He was having the time of his life! He jumped and swam, and then turned back to ride another wave. JD could’ve touched him! I ran in up to my knees to watch.
Then for just a moment the seal turned sideways in the wave and the entire length of his body glided past me in a wall of turquoise magic. “Magic” might sound corny now but at that moment that’s what it was. He was suspended in the wave like a like one of those mosquitoes caught in amber that kids buy in museums. He was the most graceful thing in the ocean.
This was my moment of awe.
It’s easy to get caught up in tourist buses and guided tours when you travel. You become preoccupied with buying souvenirs and forget to stop and take in what’s around you.
Then your moment of awe strikes and you are brought completely and wonderfully back to the present.
What moments of awe have you experienced?