Just back from an overwhelming week in Miami. What I usually do after a trip is to look back at the essence of it…
What is the trip’s hashtag? What has changed in me after it?
Isn’t true that all travel’s experiences always leave their footprint on us through a special memory, a smile that makes a difference and/or a feeling that touches the heart…
Those footprints are those that I carry with me to the next adventure….making them my own.
From simple moments of pleasure when the sun hits my face and I look out onto a foreign landscape, to when I arrive at a place and I am the only tourist that camouflages with the locals—those are the moments I remember, and live for, again and again. You may wonder why I am going on and on about what is knows as ‘holiday’? Well, personally I do not call ’embarking in an adventure’, a holiday…..this term does not do justice to what a traveler’s experience really is. When I was still having a 9 to 5 job in the corporate, I had the need to switch off from work to remain ‘sane’, thus I often called it holiday that we identify with relax. Now that travelling is my job, I understand even more the magical power of ‘taking off’ ….for each adventure makes me a better person!
Are you a curious TRAVELER like me? ….I am curious about everything that is unfamiliar; basically I am curious about ANYTHING I DON’T KNOW:-). It can be ancient history, a piece of architecture, unspoken legends and traditions, the geography, the religion, the local economy, the wildlife or the past and present political situation of a place I have never been before…
Let me tell you what happened to me back in 2010, when I was a younger traveler.
I wanted to see Zanzibar. Didn’t do any homework ahead of the trip, thus I had a surprise: Zanzibar is characterised by a significant sea level change that is different according to the geographical areas. The south west coast is one of the most affected by it; whereas both the west and east coast in the North of the Island (i.e. Kiwengwa) are less affected by the sea tide…guess what, I ended up in Jambiani, an isolated lovely spot in the southeast of the island, far from the most crowded areas in the north.
Thus, the sea was accessible till approximately 10am, then gone away for kilometre only to come back in the late afternoon. Basically it was impossible to go in the water or have a swim in those hours.
What is the moral of my story? …and what did I learn?
First of all, my attitude is what made the difference here. I didn’t have expectations; I literally embraced anything that the adventure was bringing with it, including hiccups like in my example.
It didn’t bother me that I could not swim in those times of the day, because I was experiencing the true local life in a part of the island without resorts and/or tourists.
I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT ZANZIBAR LIFE…
I learned that as the sun rises to begin a new day, the women of Zanzibar dot the beaches in their colorful kangas (traditional Swahili dress) to start their restless day under the sun. They take advantage of the low tide to collect seaweed, plant seedlings and harvest the crop like seaweed farmers. The majority of them is made by women doing this job. Even though Zanzibar is known as “Spice Island”, seaweed export is first in terms of volume.
TO EMBRACE THE EXPERIENCE IS TO LOOK FOR THE ENDLESS SURPRISES THAT THE DESTINATION HAS IN STORE FOR US.
WE WILL MISS THOSE IF WE ARENT AWARE OF THE PRECIOUS GEMS HIDDEN BY AN APPARENT ‘NEGATIVE’ SITUATION…
My Zanzibar trip has been so special to me because of those simple memories behind my discovery of the sea tide…
It would not have been so special if I had had the chance to swim in the sea anytime I wanted for I love swimming!!!!!
I MUST ALSO MENTION THE STORY IN…THAILAND. The only thing booked for that trip was my flight to Bangkok and to Phuket. I wanted to go there to do some island’s popping and visit remote beaches, then throw myself into the buzzing and lively city of Bangkok. The caveat to that is no real itinerary prepared by me, so when I got to the airport in Phuket, I took a minibus full of other people that were going to different places along the coast. I jumped in, and just jumped out when I felt that the stop was the right one for me….I appreciate this was a little too audacious and ‘fatalistic’, nevertheless I can tell you that such travel mindset has never let me down.
The itinerary made itself with me fully seizing each moment: I stayed in Kata beach, the stop I picked randomly on the map when I was in the bus. I spent few days there till I felt a stronger desire to explore. So I took a boat to Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta where again I experienced life as a local. One night in an amazing deserted island, Koh Yao Noi, then back to Krabi to fly back to Bangkok…
No tourists in Koh Yao Noi, where I had a dream night sleep under the stars on the beach:-). What I remember of my stay in Koh Lanta is that I was waking up in the morning with the sunlight entering little holes in the woods of the house; and things like rubber farms (with tapping buckets hanging from trunks and square sheets of rubber drying on the ground beneath), water buffalo, cockerels, farmers.
Thailand was another overwhelming experience where I have lived the local and the island life the Thai way. LOVED IT!
How did I end up in Thailand….from Miami?!
….I suppose I was being “creative” to share why for me each trip is a source of delight and inspiration, a potential life change, a challenge for prejudices and much much more….
….while I was trying to explain all that, those amazing memories from Zanzibar and Thailand resurfaced instantly and claimed to be told…
I had a week there for my b’day that was on the 4th of February! I explored the place by myself as I am used to do.
A recurring theme in many of my most amazing adventures is ‘spontaneity’: I let the place guide and inspire me each day. I guess this links up also with the ‘overplanning’ nature of some of our demanding jobs. Since I remember, I always felt this desire to go with the flow and feel completely free: no watches, no track of time, no fixed plans that do not leave space for the ‘unplanned’….
I like playing with life in a synergy: I plan for the unforeseen, life delivers it
I just have to be opened and enjoy the ride. So I did!
My idea of Miami was very different from what I experienced there. I wasn’t expecting such ‘predominant’ exotic vibe. I was surprised and happy to see that Miami, due to its geographic location, can be really better defined as the northern border of the Caribbean. There are areas where people hardly speak English and you can smell, see, hear the Caribbean/Cuban feel. If you go to eat in Bayside Marketplace, which is a place in Downtown Miami, you may feel disoriented by thinking you may be in Cuba.
As Bayside’s name suggests, it wraps along the banks of the bay wall on Biscayne Blvd.
I went to a proper cuban restaurant, called Latin American. After spending 2 months in Cuba, I know what food tastes and looks like there, and this one in Miami is a perfect reproduction.
It was a nice lunch in a very Caribbean atmosphere, with music and buzzing sounds.
Another nice restaurant that left me with a very positive vibe was the Montetapas, with good food and reasonable price, top for the great atmosphere. If you are around that area, I would suggest to pop in with your friends for the Happy Hours!! I had a great time there with few basic simple ingredients: friendly staff, good laughs andlatino music:-).Miami Beach is located on natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.
SoBe (South Beach) is a neighbourhood in Miami. It is the place to be during the busy times of the year if you enjoy the crowd, i.e. mid-term break in March when all students return home for party time. I didn’t spend too much time on the beach, but I managed to go twice: Nikki beach at 101 Ocean drive; and another one located at the corner of 10th Street and legendary Ocean Drive opposite to Breakwater Hotel (icon of the Miami Beach Art Deco District).
Nikki beach is the southernmost point, therefore less tall towers to hide the sun in the afternoon, which I did enjoy for longer. If I had to choose, I would pick Nikki beach being a sun addicted.
Another thing that I would strongly suggest if you are a sporty type: go for a run in the morning along the Venetian bridge direction south. It is a spectacular‘sunrise’s chase’and the run becomes magic.
I know that I didn’t come to a key point yet:
WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF“MYAMI” TRIP?
I am blessed as once again this trip made me a better and more opened person.
Not only the place had an emotional impact on me, but the people I MET is what has made the difference.
My week was full of cultural exchanges, curious anecdotes about different ways of living, laughs and storytelling time with someone I met in Miami while wondering.
We have talked and talked for hours about anything: such invaluable human interaction has changed my prospective on certain personal beliefs thatprevent me from seeing the true essence in people. Here my precious pearl of wisdom that Miami gifted me with.
….despite the trip is ended.
THANKS TO THIS PERSON THAT PROVED ME WRONG.