Wanderlust: Sometimes, You Just Got To Go With The Flow

Last week, I wrote about knowing and accepting when it’s time to move on. I’ve been getting that itch lately, telling me that it is time to leave the Big Island of Hawaii. I know that I don’t really have any other choice but to scratch it and say “see ya later.” Though, as nature would have it, actually doing so has proven to be incredibly challenging. It’s never easy to leave a place (or a person) you have grown to love and feel comfortable in. Still, I cannot shake the feeling that it’s time to move on.

I came here to escape a relationship that was falling apart, family problems and money woes. I hoped the island would welcome me into her bosom and care for me as a weary traveler. In truth, the island has actually been very kind to me, healing me with its peaceful allure. There are no words to describe the humbling beauty that is The Big Island. A beauty that makes all of life’s hardships seem trivial and insignificant.

I recently witnessed a mama whale give birth to baby right off the coast of a very popular beach. People gathered all around — some with binoculars, others with camera phones or other techie gadgets — to catch a glimpse of the majestic miracle of life. As I watched, I imagined the long journey ahead for that whale and her newborn. Soon, they would travel thousands of miles, aided by the currents of the vast Pacific Ocean, all the way to Alaska. Sharks, boats and debris may threaten to thwart their mission. Yet, every year, whales have made the journey to this distant Hawaiian island to give birth near its shores, returning a few months later to feed in the chilly Alaskan waters. These whales never become comfortable or complacent. They don’t second-guess their purpose. They are driven by instinct. As a female solo-traveler, I aspire to one day journey with the confidence of whales, trusting my instincts to drive me forward in my travels.

Lately, I have been missing the country of my birth, Trinidad and Tobago. Every year since my 18th birthday, I ventured to Trinidad for Carnival to participate in the festival of shaking, beaded hips and island music. I paraded down the streets, ate roti and curry, and partied until I just about passed out from exhaustion. This was one of the first years ever where I missed the event. And boy, did I miss it. In an effort to quell my feelings of longing and sadness, I completely avoided all Carnival-related Facebook posts and Soca music made specifically for the event. I changed my desktop photo from a curry crab and dumpling plate (a very popular food dish) resting on a table near Tobago’s pristine green Pigeon Point Beach, to a photo of a Hawaiian sunset. I even made my family promise that they would not discuss anything related to the annual festival. The FOMO was too much.

Still, I dreamed of being back there every night. And that longing has yet to subside. It has only grown stronger, pulling me towards my island birthplace like the same powerful ocean current that draws those whales to The Big Island and then back to Alaska. As they say in Hawaii (and beyond), I’m inclined to “go with the flow,” a reference to the lava that slowly creeps down from their gigantic erupting volcanoes.

In the spirit of those sentiments, I purchased a ticket to Trinidad and plan on being there for about a week or two. I’m excited to feel at home, greeted by familiar faces and smells of roadside vendors selling delicious food. But I was still uncertain about where my next adventure should take me. So, I sought advice from friends and family, seeking direction and answers.

“Where should I go next?” I asked them.

The best response: “Well, where do you feel like going?”

If I truly want to travel to any destination with purpose and confidence like a whale, I’m going to have to depend on my own instincts to take me there. I want to effortlessly be drawn into that force, to be swept away by life’s natural current and taken to a new place for another adventure. To go with the flow. Life and traveling are just much easier that way.