Maybe it was the end of a nearly two-week viral infection that had taken over my mind and body; maybe it was because my throat didn’t hurt anymore and I could swallow without my ears popping.
But I like to think it was purely just the salty air, the palm trees that lined the coast, the sunshine, the soft white sand, and the ocean.
I felt the change, the shift of mindset when the ocean was visible from the window but before the plane even touched the ground; it was when my eyes fixated on the blue waters below me that I instantly began to feel not just better but revived.
Travel burnout is a real thing; between being sick for well over a week, pmsing, loud hostel mates, beach withdrawals, and insane heat in a new, relatively dirty city do not make an ideal combination for a traveler in an already developing slump. I didn’t like the way I felt – I didn’t like the mindset I was in. I felt bored, unexcited, unwilling, trapped. I missed a routine, being in one place, and I was tired of exploring. There’s an infuriating paradox of travel and life; you want the opposite of what you have. I didn’t know how to make myself appreciate all that I was experiencing. I couldn’t remember how.
But the sight of the beach made me feel at home. It reminded me of all the things I was excited for. The human memory is a remarkable thing; the way we create memories through sounds, sights, smells, feelings, emotions – and the way those memories can make us feel the same way all over again. Nostalgia is a real bitch, sometimes – but it can be a friendly reminder, as well. In this case, I felt rejuvenated, refreshed, as if the waves of the sea had washed away the last 3 months of grueling travel and restarted my excitement for what’s to come. And I wasn’t sick anymore, so that was a huge plus. Every day that I woke up, I felt better.
I give the beach full credit for that. For the last four years, I have lived in Florida – the beach only just a mile away. I would make time for it as often as I humanly possibly could. Over time, I developed a love for nature that I never imagined I would have. It didn’t take long, either. I still remember the first time I truly encountered the sublime; I walked over a hill of sand and was faced with the glistening, bright blue ocean. I had never encountered something so blue, beautiful, and massive in the way that I did in that moment.
Over the course of a year, I fell in love. I learned how to deeply care for something bigger than myself when I fell in love with the sea. I learned how to be comforted by nature instead of people. I told myself that I would take care of it, and my love became unconditional.
I think I underestimated the power of nature; I had spent the last few weeks in a city, and I hadn’t set my eyes on a vast seascape in months. But coming here, to Ngapali Beach in Myanmar, was like going home to the love of my life – it recharged me in ways I didn’t think possible. It gave me the strength to carry on for the next month and a half of traveling before I finally settle down for good.
The power of nature is truly remarkable – have you felt something like this before?
Thank you for reading.
Until next time,
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Myanmar – what do you know about it? Anything? I know that it’s a country of turmoil; there’s a lot of chaos going on in a lot of different places – but that isn’t something you would know by interacting with the locals. The locals here have been some of the friendliest I have ever met; I heard this was the case, but I’ve heard that about most of the places in Southeast Asia. But here it’s really, really true. They are so friendly, so curious, and so just genuinely happy that you’re here.