Tables have been turned again. After weeks, excuse me, months of being totally happy and in balance with myself. The little devil inside me has popped his head around the corner again. Fed by being homesick, I long to my trusty regular, comfy life back home. Spiced up with the condiments of fear and doubt about the future. Enjoying my current life I am eating through my savings, but will there be a job to level it up. And if yes, what kind of job?
I would absolutely love to work and live in Australia for a while. After months of traveling I`m blessed with many friends in Australia and my gut feeling (even before the era of Grant) already whispered a couple of times that this might be THE country for me. The people are laid back, there is an overload of job possibilities and a biodiversity in which I, as zoologist, could drown myself in. “But it is a long far way from the Netherlands..” the little devil whispers in my ear. “What are you can do when you`re married and blessed with children, a family of your own? Then you can`t just visit your parents anymore. Or take the bike to a friend`s place. Going for a drink with the girls.” Arrrrrchh!....... it just drives me crazy. “Grant, I have to go to the coast for a couple of days. Just sitting with my butt in the sand.” I tell him when we are looking for our next destination in Cuenca, Ecuador. “But you had plenty of time to chill out on the beaches of Galapagos…” Grant answers with raised eyebrows. “I know pretty boy, but I need to empty my mind. If you want you can go somewhere else and catch up after a couple of days, but for now I need to park my butt on the beach.” Grant admitted he would be keen on doing some surfing and (loyal to Australian habits) keen on having a couple of beers. So after the advice of other backpackers we set our ways to Mancora.
On the moment of arrival Mancora appeared not to be the promised land we were hoping for. The beach was eaten by the sea, washing into the beach restaurants/sheds. The waves were too high for beginning surfers and (entirely meeting up Peruvian traditions) trash was widely spread. Luckily Loki hostel, with a bar, swimming pool, volleyball net and several comfy hammocks and sunbeds appeared to be the ideal spot. It turned out to be the ultimate party destination for young Argentinians and Chileans, who filled up the dancefloor in the evening and soak out their hangovers in the swimming pool during the day. During one of the many games of volleyball I got into a conversation with Dirk, a fellow Dutchie from our charming capital Amsterdam. The conversation had reached the ear of Juan, one of the many young Argentinians. He addressed us in a fluent Flemish accent “Allee, zijte gij Hollanders!” (Howdeeee, dudes, are you guys Dutch?) Dirk and I looked at each other and after less than a split second we burst out laughing. It was like the British queen just gave a speech with a heavy Texan accent. It didn`t take Juan long to claim eternal fame among the Dutch guests with his charming adorable way of speaking.
The days are filled with heavily loaded itineraries of siestas, volleyball, bar, lunch, repeat…. Still it wasn`t what I needed. I needed a quiet place to empty my mind. A good change occurred when Grant didn`t feel well (=hangover) and decided to dive into his bed instead of the swimming pool. Grabbing my change I left the resort and for a walk on the non-flooded parts of the beach. With my ears I focused on the sound of the waves, while leaving a part of my worries behind me with every footprint in the sand. Lost in thoughts I bump into a reincarnation of Bob Marley. “Ah lo siento amigo lo no visto” (sorry friend, I didn`t see you). “Ah tranquilo hermosa, don`t worry. My students have their minds at another place as well today.“ `Bob` responses while pointing to a group of surfers between the rip. “Aj, perro las olas, the waves, they`re a bit high for beginners, aren`t they?” He chuckles, “Doesn`t matter, up to a certain height at least. The main feature is trust.” I gaze at one of the boys in the ocean. His timing is perfect. With great force he paddles in front of the wave. Once the wave grabs his board, it starts gliding to the shore line. The boy pushed himself up and tries to stand. Heavenly concentrating on his feet, he looks down, moving his gravity point to the front. It doesn`t take longer than 2 seconds before he falls over the front of his board and with a big splash he gets swallowed up by the waves. “Look at that. They don`t even trust their own feet. Constantly they keep on staring at their own feet when they try to stand up. Those things are attached to your body for a reason. Once they have faith in their own feet and keep focused on the horizon, they`ll keep themselves balanced. Combined with the right timing the wave will take them back to shore. Without timing and trust, they’ll fall and get a nice salty taste of surfing.” He looks at me with a serious face and then burst out laughing. Again I look back at the ocean. The boy pops his head above the water coughing heavily. A second opportunity arrives in the form of a big wave. The boy has spotted it as well. He turns his board around and quickly starts paddling towards the coast. “The horizon, look at the horizon!” `Bob shouts next to me. The wave grabs the board and pushes it forward. The boy looks forward, pushes himself up and steadily puts his feet underneath his body. Slowly his hands are letting go of the board. Filled with amazement the boy looks at us with big eyes. Then with the same amazement he looks at his own feet after which he soon falls forwards into the swirling hands of the wave.
‘Bob’ laughs. “They`ll learn it.” I smile back at him. “Today you taught me exactly what I needed. Thank you!” and while I turn around I leave a somewhat surprised `amigo` behind. I feel the wind blowing in my face. Through a straw I take a sip from my ice tea thinking “Ah good old Bob, everything is going to be alright..!”
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto