The Therapeutic Value of Sunshine and Seawater

I have always remember my time in the Pacific fondly
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.

Sun? Check. Seawater? Check. Sand? Check.
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.

18 thoughts on “The Therapeutic Value of Sunshine and Seawater”

  1. Carribbean, that’s on my number 1 list of dream place to be. I have heard alot that it’sa beautiful tourist destination. I like water sports too but I have not tried it all. I have only tried swimming, diving and surfing. I hope someday I can try all the water sports but as of the moment, I don’t have time to do is since I am still busy with my work. Two thumbs up for you.

  2. We just came from London last week. This was the first time for me to see London differently, with the sun glistening and all the locals are at the park in bikinis getting a tan, and everyone actually enjoying the clear blue skies a midst the scorching heat. Yes there is something about how the sun brings out the best in us :)

    Here in Manila, we get it almost 365 days a year, that I think it is already being taken for granted :P

  3. I can agree with that, totally used to sun everyday in Australia, then went head first into a North American/Canadian winter and European summer.. (like Australian winter) it definitely affects your mood more than I thought previously. Great post.

  4. Wow despite being sick you really got some great pictures. Kudos to you and hope you did enjoy the islands.

  5. I agree, travel can be exhausting! I’ve been on the road for nearly 5 months mostly inland and have been craving the sea. I’ve just arrived in SE Asia and plan to find some downtime amongst all the activities and experiences I have planned. A beach is definitely needed to recharge the batteries.

  6. I am 100% with you. The ocean is a magical thing. I don’t know if it is the salt, the smell, the sun, just the water, or a combination of all those things, but there is really nothing that can cure the blues like the blue of the ocean…

  7. So glad to hear that you’re feeling better and enjoying the Caribbean sun, sand and surf…what’s not to like!!

  8. I prefer to travel in the off-season, which many times means I get rain, cold and grey skies. I don’t normally mind until I find myself in a spot of paradise like this and I remember how great sunshine and a beach can be,

  9. Totally agree with your thoughts. We arrived on Bequia Island in the Grenadines (St. Vincent) a week ago and have been feelin’ the love. Let us know when you make it down this way and we’ll buy you a beer.

  10. Fresh air and sun can go along way for helping break down chest mucus and clean toxins out to your body leaving you feeling renewed.

  11. Yep, I love being near the water! I haven’t made it to the Pacific side yet, but currently on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and life is good :) Enjoy!

  12. Nodding. One of the best things that I can do for myself working from home is to take ten minutes on a sunny day to go sit outside and soak up the sun, regardless of the to do list that it looming inside. Like you though, my true magical therapeutic potion comes when mixing sun and water…a lake, a river or an ocean–the combination has the ability to make me smile like I have not smile in months. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  13. Being from Florida, I claim to hate the beach and sun like you do winter, but it seems that when I’m there, I’m definitely at my happiest. As you said…something about that seawater and sun…

  14. That’s why I moved permanently from the grey, cold and wet north-west of England, to the aptly named Costa del Sol in southern Spain!

    You’re quite right though, when anyone is travelling long term, it’s impossible to have all the right gear with you to keep warm – or to look after yourself if you get sick along the way.

  15. Gary, there’s a reason I live in Sarasota. It is the Caribbean of the states. Shoveling snow never went with my outfit. Either did wrapping my car around a telephone pole only to have the snow plow drive past me 30 seconds later.

    If you ever want the best tour of Sarasota that money can’t buy, you know where to find me :-)

  16. I could not agree more Gary. I used to constantly get respiratory bugs wintertime in Northern California from al the wet, mold and mildew. Since I have spent the last five years winter traveling within the tropic belt, I almost never get sick in the winter anymore.

  17. I empathize, Gary. I live in Seattle where the rain and grey skies of winter and spring and can tax even the most patient of warm weather lovers. Fortunately, the luxury of being able to get out of town often keeps S.A.D. at bay, but as much as I love it here, I don’t think I’d last if I could only leave once a year. Glad you’re finding you’re happy place in the islands.

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