There is power in just saying yes.
Before I left on this trip I tried to do a ton of research. I bought a special travel notebook and would try and figure out each location's best sights to see and what restaurants were recommended. Then I realized this trip is 4 months long and it's nearly impossible to plan out 4 months of your life so meticulously. So I ditched the notebook and decided when I got to the destination I would ask around or just walk outside and pick a direction.
Fun side story: I was talking to a Slovenian girl today and she couldn't believe I had flights and trains booked for the next week let alone the next month. My over the top planning is not cool in the traveling world apparently. But I digress...
Just listening to locals has been the best decision I've made so far. (I know such simple advice)
I'm currently in Tenerife and was invited to go to "spaghetti beach" yesterday morning. I quickly searched my memory of the hours (I'm not kidding) previously spent googling "Best Tenerife Beaches" before I gave up on planning things and couldn't remember anything about spaghetti beach. But it was a local giving me the advice and I decided to just say yes.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I'm not kidding that's not photoshopped or saturated or filtered. The water is just that blue.
To get there we drove through playa de la américas which is the huge touristy part of South Tenerife. We passed a couple of beaches that had hoards of people on them and I started to get a little sad. In my heaps of research, I remembered reading that there were tons of hidden beach coves that were usually empty, and the tourist beaches should be avoided at all costs. I started to get a little nervous that I made the wrong decision and was about to waste one of my few days on the island. But then I remembered to trust my gut and I told myself it would be fine and just listen to the local.
We parked right near a 5 star hotel and walked up some back steps and then through a bit of the desert landscape that makes up most of Tenerife. We finally crested a hill and that's when I saw the beach for the first time. I'm pretty sure my first words were "holy shit" - I can check the gopro footage later.
We hiked around the first beach and saw some interesting huts and houses (I use that term loosely) built into the cliffs. My local friend/guide told me a good number of people live out here with minimal shelter for most of the year. I guess it's worth is when you have an amazing view to wake up to everyday.
We found a spot to lay out towels and there were maybe 10 other people on the huge beach. (So much for my worrying about an over crowded beach). The rest of the day we spent hiking around the different coves and swimming in the clearest blue water I've seen to date.
When you are traveling, and especially solo traveling, just say yes. In the back of my mind I was a little worried about his intentions and going somewhere that I hadn't meticulously made sure was a good way to spend my day. Yes! Of course! But I decided to trust my gut. My gut said this guy is really nice and knows what he is talking about (he has lived on the island for 10 months).
I actively choose to let go of the notion that I know what is best for me. What is best for me may be right on the horizon, right within reach, and someone may be pushing me to go the right way. I just have to see the signs and say yes.
On this trip I am constantly trying to push the limits of who I think I am. For those who know me you know I don't like to swim on beaches. Never have I really gone past my hips. Today I swam so far I surprised myself a little bit. I looked back at the shoreline and realized I needed to swim back in, not because I was scared or because others were telling me to, but because it's what I wanted to do next. And that in and of itself was the most freeing experience of the day.
So I leave you with this today. Push the limits of who you think you are. There are no limits on who you can become. Xo -T