The joy and freedom you experience when you submerse yourself into another world and culture is precious. My home away from home is the little island known as Rarotonga.
To me traveling means two things: freedom and learning. Traveling gives me the freedom to go where I please, when I want. The world is also the biggest university in the world. As long as you are traveling no matter how far away you are, you are learning. There is no way to escape it.
Travel is a thing we all love to do in our own right. It is not a competition. It’s subjective and personal. There are certainly different styles of travel and when you travel, there is only one way to do it and that’s your own way.
Whether you find yourself on the other side of the world or on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific, there is an intense joy you find when you open your mind up to a whole new world that you never knew existed.
While our stay was short, the memories lingered long after we said goodbye.
Holidays offer you a lot of things. History, exploration, relaxation and education. Rarotonga is a place of complete relaxation. We would relax on the beach with the water lapping at our feet and the sun shining through the leaves of the palm tree. I remember lying there and comparing myself to the rest of the world in relation to where I was right at that moment. While this little island was our tiny piece of paradise, I was even smaller than that.
So allow yourself to completely relax when Rarotonga calls your name. Open your book, sip the cocktail in your hand and absorb that vitamin D. And while you are there put that swimsuit on and embrace your body, flaws and all. I think the greatest power that comes from travel like this is the ability to be genuinely happy and content with your appearance. Immersing yourself in a culture where self-image, media perception and the idea of ‘perfection’ is simply a foreign, irrational logic is when you begin to appreciate what is most important in your life. True happiness comes from within and the Rarotongan people radiate this very definition.
Travel is the act of seeing to me. It’s the process of opening your eyes to the world around you, but also to how you see yourself. You can see for yourself how the Rarotongan culture operate on a day to day basis which allows you to form your own opinions of cultures instead of simply accepting what the media tells us. The lush mountainous bush in the centre, or the clear blue waters that are home to a million species of tropical fish that coexist for our pleasure, or the art of hopping on a scooter and seeing the island through new eyes. These are the things that the word ‘awe’ was created for and these are the things that are ingrained in our minds forever.
You see the Rarotongan people and how they interact, what they eat, how they love, and what their downfalls are. Their genuine smiles and warmth, no concept of time or stress, or desire for commercialised or materialistic possession. It is moments like these where you have the potential to unlock the true power of travel. It gives you the opportunity to see yourself in a new light. It gives you a confidence you never knew existed and an appreciation for what matters most in your life.
Travelling no matter how big or small offers continuous elements of exploration and curiosity. Of being able to follow this curiosity and to learn and question all that matters. It is about going somewhere and having all assumptions and what you thought you knew turned upside down. Recreating and taking mental pictures everywhere you go. It is about finding those connections, similarities and differences in places that make you appreciate how the world turns.
While the little island of Rarotonga seems small in comparison to this word ‘travel’, it is about these first stepping stones into the great unknown that give you the tools to do things that dare you to jump into the great unknown. Talk to strangers, reach the top of the mountain and break down those fears by realising what is possible in your life.
And while you are at it, don’t forget that cocktail.