Surviving the Storm: Part Two

Surviving the Storm: Part Two

From uncertain to a certain future plus fond memories

In part 1,  I spoke about memories that I was able to focus on during turbulent times. I hope you fall in love with them as I have.  There is one memory that stands out among the rest.

But first, let me tell you about something.  One time when I was kayaking on a river in my beloved Oklahoma, after rowing about 12 miles, having been burnt to a crisp, surviving off of gatorade and protein bars, I began to hear what sounded like old gospel hymns far away.  Being on the river, water clear and cold as ice, surrounded by mountainous hills, wildlife and forest, is already a near spiritual experience for me.  I feel closer to the creator more there than anywhere.

So I laid my paddle down, horizontally across the kayak, and listened intently.  The nearer the flow of the river carried me to the music, the more intently I listened and the more the sound grew. I distinctly remember feeling like I was being serenaded on something like the river styx on my way to heaven, instead of, you know, Hades, underworld of Greek mythology for those that do not recognize the reference.

About a year later, I had a similar sensation close to the coast of Africa, somewhere out in the Atlantic ocean on an island called Tenerife. It was so freaking cold in Madrid, but there on the island, it was summer.

I was playing in the ocean by myself.  The wind was in my hair and the ocean smelled of salt.  It was all the typical cool stuff that happens when one is in a warm, oceanic place.  The difference is in the details.  Ancient black sand punctuated now and again by little pieces of green glass, little reminders of past volcanic activity, past danger and current respite.  An excitement in the air for the coming New Year and Three Kings festivities.  Surrounded by warmth, breeze, surf and wave looking up and seeing in the distance the island’s only mountain, capped white in snow.  A pause in time, the contrast of standing in the midst of summer while observing ruthless beautiful winter, close enough almost to touch.

Reminiscing about Tenerife and dreaming of the day when I could go back, got me through some hard times and it was hard for me to imagine a place that could top it.  While that is still true, I had the chance to experience Mallorca, a place of tourism (I am a self hating tourist, I admit) but also of raw, unadulterated beauty.  Words can’t even so I’ll just leave this here with this photo…

While in this place, I often felt a sharp pain in my heart accompanied by a foreboding of deep and intense regret in having to leave a new-found paradise.  I specifically recall that I was treading water and felt overcome by one such moment of torture.  It was too much.  Why hadn’t I arranged for myself to live in a place like this?  Why did I have to go back to the mainland when I so obviously lived and breathed for moments like this?  I tried to absorb it all at once again and failed.  And then it hit me.  I’m not one for meditation, but in that instance, still treading, surrounded by rocky cliffs, looking out into the horizon at the boats and the deeper blue/green that evolves from a transparent mixture of hues from H2O and the brilliant white sand, I decided that I was not me.  I was all of what I just mentioned and more.  The fishes below, the coral plants that I lack the words to describe, the air above.  All of it.  Breathe and repeat. Breathe and repeat.  Finally, when two recently acquainted companions called to me see if I was ready to go back, surprisingly I was.  Lucky for me that I was so overcome with peace and tranquility because we ended up getting lost and walking over an hour to a bus stop.

It has been merely coincidence that all of these instances have involved water.  Perhaps it is getting a bit redundant.  We don’t want to shoot an already dead horse, as it were.  Here are a few glimpses into what makes an overly fidgety, always on the move Amanda pause is like:

Standing among the mists of time and history, Rome, Italy:

The Coliseum








Standing in places that seemed to exist only on television (i.e Vatican City):

At the Vatican…


The moment when you do something incredible and it brings back a childhood memory of when you first learned about that special something.  In my case this was the Tower of Pizza (a kid’s dream am I right) and not only that, but having been able to see this thing in a different light, perhaps at night.  (I know it is the Tower of Pisa. God.  Give me the benefit of the doubt, already )  The actual town of Pisa was pretty cool, too.  Don’t listen to the haters. It’s just that the rest of Italy is so epicly amazing, that other parts that are only mildly epic in contrast, appear lame to some weirdos.


And that is all for this time. Things are so much better for me right now as I have found a fulfilling amazing job and become a bit more relaxed and conformed to my environment. I shall always remain grateful for the opportunities to experience light in the coolest of places during what I felt were dark days with an uncertain future. Even when I eventually go back to the states, I will always have the Canary Islands and Tenerife to dream about, Mallorca’s crystal clear waters to reminisce about, and Italy to help me remember that I can do anything because I have already done the extraordinary.  I hope you like the pics and if you have any requests for me to talk about or questions to ask, just leave them in the comments. I can recommend places to go and places NOT to go!

Love forever,

Amanda (Squirrel)

Recommended travel links:

Moving around The Canary Islands Guide




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