Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shroom With a View

Travel often works as a reset button for our hectic, daily, monotonous routine. We all fall into patterns in life to keep things simpler, to “help” us with the supposed tasks of daily living. The mantra is well known – get up, go to work, eat, exercise, brush teeth, pay bills, repeat. We replay this mantra so often that we begin to believe that it represents life itself, and this is when we are in most need of a system reboot. This is not life. Life is each of ours to explore and define – to create each new day. We cannot do this if we think we are living when we really are just surviving. Our last trip was a visit to the Gili islands off the northwest corner of Lombok. These islands have changed much in the last 20 years, as has much of the world as it tries to accommodate 8 billion of us. But none the less, these islands remain ethereal, magical, floating between dimensions – the perfect place to go for a reset.
There are no cars, no motorized vehicles actually, only cidomos, the local famous local horse carts. When you step off the boat from the mainland, you are hit by the quiet. The fresh air envelopes you, and begins to erase your thoughts. You can walk around the island in a few hours –so there is nowhere to go. Sitting in your hammock, the island reminds you that life is not about doing, but rather about being present, and slowly the waves and gentle island breezes begin to strip away the layers of your daily mantra. Night after night of mind-boggling sunsets, the kind that look like your dreams, with oily purple water, midnight blue clouds, and fire in the sky. Don’t worry that this all takes place over the backdrop of verdant green hills, and pyramidal volcanic cones, just keep pinching yourself to understand that this is not a dream, but a very palpable reality. Our routine mantra is so anemic, so lifeless compared to this – yes, the perfect place to reset.
In the day, you can swim, watch the sun blister the white sand, and continue to let the island breeze massage your soul. Eventually, you may not even remember if you indulged in the islands famous ”shrooms”, because the nature of the place is so potent, it will make you forget your mantra anyway. Yet, if you spend enough time here,(anything over 4 days), you won’t even require any extra help, as the island air, water, and magic, irresistibly give you a new lease on life. In fact, only after a few Gili sunsets, you may find it increasingly difficult to leave …