Relax…relax. No, don’t charge some internet to your card, just..relax. This is what I’ve had to keep telling myself since we arrived on Aruba. I’m a city-centred type of traveller. I like to keep a tight itinerary, fitting in as many sights and tours as I can, as if this particular time would be my only chance to see what’s in front of me. So after winning a competition with KLM Air France for two weeks on the happiest island in the world, here I am trying to just empty my mind and enjoy relaxation in its purest form.
I’m pretty good at being able to do nothing, just come by my house on a week night and see how long I can sit in front of the TV for, but I’m not very good at switching off and just spending time being with myself. This is what Aruba has been teaching me for the past week: how to ignore the emails and the TV schedule, quit scrolling the Facebook newsfeed and only sign in to Twitter to post smug photos of beach feet and poolside views (sorry). I’m understanding now that sometimes there’s more to travel than just picking the destinations that are going to fill up every hour; sometimes you need to take some time to just…chill.
I’m sorry I said ‘chill’, I know it was douchy but it felt right.
Being so used to taking holidays in busy, built-up places – New York, Lisbon, Paris, Edinburgh, L.A – for the first few days my head was telling me to pack up the sun lounger and organise the two weeks before it was too late. But then the other side of me, who never gets to be in the limelight, was slurring sleepily about taking it slow and exploring the island one day at a time. As I sit here typing on a lounger by the side of the hotel pool (for the first time ever), I’m not wishing I was queuing at a museum or trying to navigate a foreign train system. I’m enjoying doing virtually nothing.
That’s not to say we haven’t done anything since we got here – we’ve actually done quite a lot already and still managed to get hours of beach time to sun our pasty white buns. We’ve shopped at the malls, nibbled gelato on Main Street, dipped our toes in bright blue Caribbean waters for the first time, learnt about native and imported butterflies at the Butterfly Farm, twitched at the Bubali Bird Sanctuary, counted lizards and Iguanas, eaten a horrifying amount of food, tasted the local beer, took a full day Jeep safari tour, snorkelled from a pirate ship, and watched a film at the local cinema. Tomorrow we’re going to a ‘special’ island to Sea Trek and feed the zebrafish
I can definitely tell why they call this ‘One Happy Island’. It pretty much is the epitome of happiness – no stress, smiles everywhere you look, beautiful beaches, bright blue surf…and it’s just 30km long. Amazing how they fit that much happiness into such a tiny sandpit.
So for now we’ll just relax, and only worry about the room charge print out when we’re packed and ready to leave.
If we’re ever really ready.