As we are all currently fashioning summertime almost already over with, many of us feel more inclined to go on some sort of trip or vacation to really stamp on an official summer (if you haven’t already, though if you have, well, hats off to you and don’t rub it in).
This would ideally consist of somewhere at an all-inclusive resort surrounded by soft white sands, cyan crystal clear waters, and infinity pools conveniently built with swim-up bars stocked with lots and lots of tequila.
Yes, I basically just described a Sandals commercial, with all but the generic upbeat music and the seductive voiceover.
While the beauty and overall finesse of those resort locations are tempting and never, ever go unnoticed, I personally have rather been considering to travel somewhere where I can take full advantage of all-engaging resources and time.
We become narrowed into thinking that vacationing is only as I just described, paradise; a place of Zen or Eden — which may be so, but the places outside of those manicured, touristic areas will likely fill you with more of what you actually need, than what you think you want.
The life and history that flares through the less mainstream places will gift you an evangelical zeal that will never be forgotten.
Perspective should be prevalent in our lives, yet we don’t seem to acquire it as much when living our lives in such sustained regimes of comfort and nescience. Stepping outside of our boundaries is what vacationing should be all about. Visit the villages whose names you’d probably never be able to pronounce properly, befriend the locals, and even live like one on your stay.
I won’t deny that less cultivated or poverty-stricken areas are perhaps more dangerous or chancy than those equipped with Wi-Fi connections and chilled air conditioning. But who doesn’t need a little danger to shake you up and ignite some willingness from time to time?
I want to feel intimidation and be out of my element. I want to be disconnected from this ever-expanding pop world and become enthralled with the lives of those (materialistically) less fortunate, but whose hearts and minds are essentially far more prosperous. I want to fully absorb those moments of humility and practicality, so I can evenly apply it to my life.
These notions were validated when I came upon Havana Connection: A Journey Into Cuban BMX. I’ll admit, a video like this would usually not attract me as I am clumsy on my own two feet, let alone a cycle with only a pair of delicate tires keeping me from face planting to the ground.
However, I fell into a hypnosis, and began to reflect and become especially induced with the acclaiming gesture of giving back in the inevitable exchange of cultures.
Not to say I’ll attempt at smuggling in over 200 pounds worth of product into Cuba (or anywhere really), but the benevolence behind this is definitely something to commend. More than the ballsy deed, I can’t say I have ever seen shirtless and barefoot kids slide down a jolty, wooden ramp on a bamboo tree carcass, completely elated and without a worry in the world.
These are the truly purifying moments that you won’t get on some conventional trip.
Diversifying your vacations also gives you vast opportunity to pack your passions and mingle with those who acquire the same interests but not necessarily the same advantages. If you’re into BMX or just some plain ol’ bike riding, go travel to Cuba and join the small and understated local group of riders. Or if you play basketball, pack your ball(s) (pun intended) and venture off to the streets of Corinto, Nicaragua and have a friendly match with the welcoming players on their rigid courts.
These interactions may feel small in comparison to donating bike parts or a pair of shoes, but they mean so much more.
Not only will these experiences be gratifying and reminiscent, but your presence alone will also be giving. Your interests will spark the same curiosity for those around you, tempting them to learn from you as well. They’ll sense their importance and feel accepted. It will show that there are actually people outside of their community who care, tanning and room service aside.
So come back from your excursions feeling complete, revitalized, and ready to take on the coming days because you know now first-hand, there are people out there taking on the world, barefoot and all, without so much but a smile on their faces.
And even on your shittiest days, you’ll still strive to be like those humbling people.