Today is the first night at the beach. I’ve gone to the gulf coast of Florida. The resort I’m staying in is called “Escapes” and there’s a small population of off-season guests drifting in and out of the hotel. I’m not the kind of person who really understands getaways and expensive vacations. It just doesn’t work for me. Why would I want to go somewhere else to brood and indulge in neurosis? Why would I want to do that with a group of people, especially people I love, when I know that every bauble and souvenir initiates this aching sentimentality—causes me to ask questions I don’t want to ask about things I don’t want to know.
That’s my usual take on Travel and Tourism. This time might be different. This time I might find a way to get rid of the cognitive dissonance I experience while on such a trip. This time I’ll try to enjoy the ocean and the waves for what they are, and appreciate the industry of tourism merely as an affirmation of this beauty.
The first night we were here my mom and I went to walk on the beach. A dim glow barely lit the sand and the sound of the gentle waves lapping at the shore inspired a great appreciation for the beauty of this place. I needed to run.
I took off, barefoot, across the sand. My feet dug into the cold gritty earth. The surf clambered up the shore and wrapped around my ankles. With the cool gulf wind blowing against my face and the dark, lonely shoreline ahead of me, I felt the urge to run faster.
I pressed forward, pushing my legs to carry me as quickly across the sand as they could. My heart pounded and my breath quickened, but I kept on faster and faster still.
In this moment I felt complete peace. I’ve had dreams where I felt I could run forever. This wasn’t a dream, but I felt the same way, as if the Earth offered no resistance. It was exhilerating.
This is why people travel and hike and run and bike. This is the feeling I envy when I watch the Olympics or the Tour-de-France and see those athletes pouring every effort they’ve got into climbing 2000, 3000, 5000 feet with two pedals and their pure will and determination.
How great it is to push ourselves to the very edge.