Two months ago I was miserable.
I had spent almost 8 weeks traveling through Europe during an abnormally cold spring. Not only was it cold, but I wasn’t really prepared for the weather. I had to shovel my rental car out of snowdrifts in Germany (without a shovel) and I got another rental car stuck in the snow in a freak April snowstorm in Croatia.
I caught a cold which lingered with me for months and reignited a hacking cough I always get when I get sick. On top of all that, I was on a travel schedule which left me exhausted as well as sick.
Fast forward to today and I’m sitting on the island of Anguilla feeling better mentally and physically than I have since I began traveling in 2007. I owe it all to the incredible power of warm sunlight and seawater.
Despite being from Wisconsin I have come to hate winter. Perhaps it is seasonal affective disorder, but whatever it is I loathe winter. Taken in doses winter can be fine. This February I took a break in my Central America adventures to attend the Yukon Quest sled dog race in Northern Canada. I was in belly of old man winter and I had a blast. I was outside during daylight hours, the weather wasn’t that cold (for the Yukon in February) and most importantly, I was able to head back to Central America after 10 days.
What gets me is the months of grey and cold you have to suffer through when you live in a cold weather climate. As a permanent traveler the effect can be multiplied by not having the proper cold weather clothing with you. You can only carry around so much clothes and a giant parka isn’t the sort of thing you really want to carry around when you don’t need it.
As I was coughing my way through Europe, my mind kept wandering to my time in the Pacific. It was where I started my travels back in 2007 and I was really happy. Part of that was the joy and novelty of starting an around the world trip, but part of it was also the climate. Warm temperatures and being next to the sea made happy.
When I planned my island hopping trip through the Caribbean I did it in part what I enjoyed in the Pacific. The sun, the sea, the sand and the isolated islands.
Whatever the secret ingredient was in the Pacific, the Caribbean seems to have it too. In just the first week of my trip I’ve been diving (which I haven’t done in over a year), sailing, gotten some color in my skin, and have just spent a lot of time enjoying the temperature and the breezes.
I feel awesome and I’ve been more productive than I have been in years.
I’m not the sort of guy who likes to sit on the beach. I see no real value in sitting on sand in a beach chair. However, I like being in the water and around the water. I like water sports, I like diving and I like swimming. If I could, I’d swim every day.
This Caribbean trip is turing out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made since I’ve started traveling. If nothing else is proves that I need to schedule more time in places like this going forward just to keep my sanity.