Bermuda

I was honored to go with Richard Bangs to Bermuda and film for Orbitz! Look what was in Nasdaq about us:  “Leading online travel company Orbitz Worldwide  has partnered with the Bermuda Tourism Authority to launch “Orbitz Originals: Bermuda – Proper Fun,” a seven-part online video series that is co-hosted by award-winning travel experts Richard Bangs and Lisa Ellen Niver and is available for viewing at Orbitz.com/Bermuda.” Enjoy these videos #BermudaMe

Like many who have survived into adulthood, I wince when I look back and recall some of the youthful antics I partook under the name of fun. Like a lad who graduates from cheap flavored whiskey to fine wine, I today prefer my fun with a dash of panache, a subtle aroma, and a delightfully delicate nose.

So, of course, it is a treat to discover Bermuda, if just for a weekend, the place that practically invented proper fun, and which now embodies it.

The demure 21-square-mile British dependency 650 miles off the North Carolina coast is less known than the more cheeky isles in the Caribbean, as it has always attracted a more sophisticated crowd, the cognoscenti tired of long, septentrional winters, a cast that likes to keep its haunts semi-secret. It is known more as the northern point in the Bermuda Triangle than for its earthly satisfactions.

The original Pan Am Clippers used to call here. I ease over on a Delta flight from Atlanta, and as we approach, from my window the islands of Bermuda look like cracks in the ocean; the sea a Crème Brûlée after the first blow of the spoon.

I take a short cab ride to the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel and Spa, a sprawling 200-plus acre cliff-side resort on Castle Harbor, where I find my free-spirited, properly-travelled friend Lisa Niver in the middle of a round of golf. She is here for the week with friends; I have but the weekend, and her beam telegraphs that she has the better deal.

When she sinks the ball into a hole, a waiter appears with a glass of champagne to celebrate. That’s proper fun.

We next tuck in for afternoon tea, served promptly at 4 p.m., cucumber sandwiches, petits fours, and fresh baked apricot and fig scones served with kumquat jam and Devonshire clotted cream, all on a crisp white table cloth with silver service and fine china. Some fun traditions don’t change. It was here in Bermuda that 52 years ago Lisa’s parents took their honeymoon, and sipped tea in nuptial celebration.

But high-tea is just the prelude. We next head over to Tucker’s Bar, where Lisa’s parents once cheered, all dark-wood paneled looking more like The Explorers Club than a blue water drinkery. Here I try a dark ‘n’ stormy, rum mixed with Bermuda stone ginger beer, the signature drink of Bermuda. But Lisa cries foul, and holds up her rum swizzle, saying this is the national drink of Bermuda, and it packs a good punch to boot. But then the barkeep leans in and says, “No, no, no….the real drink here is the Yellow Bird,” and he pushes a glass filled with what looks like a Screwdriver, but instead of vodka , there are two types of rum. But then he winks and informs there are 60,000+ rum swizzle recipes, one for each resident of Bermuda, so actually, Lisa is right…the rum swizzle reigns.

It would be easy to sit and savor for hours, but it’s now dinner time. Adjacent to the bar is The Point Restaurant, wrapped in an 80-foot-long mural that looks hauntingly familiar. It turns out it is a work of art that for 45 years adorned the lobby of the Pan Am Sky Club in the Pan Am Building in New York City. Pan Am was a partner in the early days of Sobek, the adventure travel company I founded in the 70s, and I used to visit the Sky Club when passing through New York.

I walk around the room falling into memories. The mural depicts various ports-of-call of the early Pan Am Clippers, and I recognize most… Rio de Janeiro, Constantinople, Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, the Port of London, and Lahaina, Maui are easily identified by their inimitable surroundings. But New York Harbor, Canton Harbor, the Gloucester Seaport in Massachusetts, and Beirut Harbor stump me. The real puzzler, however, is Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbor, which it turns out was added to the canvas a couple years ago, commissioned by the current owner, Ed Trippe, yes, the son of the man who commissioned the original piece, the legendary Juan Trippe, founder of Pan American World Airways.

Of course, I have to order the famous Bermuda fish chowder, a spicy seafood-and-vegetable stew spiced with a dash of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Pepper sauce. Fish, to taste right, must swim three times — in water, in butter and in black rum, and it is swimming Olympic laps here. This is the national dish, and it is delectably textured and spicy. Yes, it is a well-seasoned soup, but more so, as it ignites Sherry Pepper Sauce’s leap into immortality.

After a couple of heavenly spoonfuls I am reminded that there are so many ways to cheat on food, and there are so many places that do.

But not here. Bermuda is a promise of authenticity and proper taste. Here is a fountain of food that is home-cooked and insanely savory.

Hoppin’ John, Hash, Peas and Plenty, Mussel pie, sweet potato pudding, Paw Paw Casserole, Guinea Chick, Banana Meatloaf, Wahoo salad, tantalizing fare, wet with contour and risk. In my short visit I try them all, and smack lips with every bite.

This island may have more churches per square mile than any other country on earth, but a good Bermudan meal makes me feel more charitable toward the world than any sermon. After this meal I think I’ll sell my house and give all the money to Oxfam.

And for dessert? Bermuda honey is the mead-iator between heaven and earth.

So, at the end of the day, I would say that the food of Bermuda is so deliriously yummy that palates are not merely shattered but planets spin out of orbit, constellations unravel in starbursts, and the very fabric of space-time is shredded by the sheer euphoric energy of exquisite taste.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I would say the food of Bermuda…it is properly good.

I wash down the last of the meal with the proper English tropic drink, a Bombay Sapphire G&T, and then tell Lisa, who plans to head out in search of the famous Gombey dancers of Bermuda, that I have to call it a day.

A golf cart glides me to my villa, under a set of brilliant stars that bend to create bears and dippers. The room has a bathroom the size of Somerset, and a bed like a cloud. So, I awake late the next morning alive and unworn ready for what is to be a full day.

Lisa and friends are split between the Fairmont Southampton and the Elbow Beach Resort, both spectacular properties on the Southwestern part of the island. Under a glade of blue sky I sink into the backseat of the taxi, and regard in admiration the orderly English hedges and hand-stacked stone walls that line the road. If it weren’t for the wild tropical foliage that weaves through the cracks and crawls along the tops of the walls, this could be the Scottish countryside.

Thirty minutes later I meet up with Lisa and sit for breakfast, whereupon she shares some of her proper adventures so far.

There is something romantic and quaint about a place that doesn’t allow visitors to rent cars. Instead, folks scoot. In tandem with Bermudian Rachel Snowden, a former television weather woman, Lisa has been zipping around the island on a rented scooter. One glorious day she started at the Royal Navy Dockyard in the morning and ended in St. George’s by the evening, a full traverse of the main island.

St. George’s was the first permanent English settlement on the island, and is steeped in history tied to the colonization of America and its eventual independence. At the time of the American War of Independence, the town of St. George saw its gun powder stocks mysteriously disappearing. Local Bermudians were stealing the gun powder, bringing it over the hill to Tobacco Bay, where boats transported it to an American ship just offshore.

On her scoots Lisa has been scoping out the jewelry, the various forts, cafes, and restaurants, and sampling the island culture. She shows me the heart earrings and bracelet she bought from Alexandra Mosher, famous for her Pink Sand jewelry. She shows off her Windows phone pics of cliff jumping, spelunking at Smuggler’s Cave, and her hula-hooping at Elbow Beach, where she also sampled the Rum Swizzle Specialty Spa Treatment. And, of course, she went to revel with the Gombey dancers, the men who perform the flamboyant masquerade dance that is a unique blend of African, Caribbean and British cultures.

Lisa wants to show me the nearby Warwick Long Bay beach, a magnificent half mile stretch of pink sands. Bermuda, she honeys, is so romantic even the beaches blush. It is here that couples come to discuss Ugandan affairs.

Against a backdrop of low grasses and grape and juniper trees sprawls a powdery stretch of sand festooned with little coves and black rocks (revealing Bermuda’s volcanic origins). The original seafarers here called this “Devil’s Island,” partially because of the imposing black rocks, but also the screeching and snorting they heard coming from the interior (birds and wild pigs respectively). But when, 400 years ago, an English sailing vessel was shipwrecked on this mid-Atlantic archipelago, and discovered it to be a piece of paradise, the island nation of Bermuda was born.

Lisa dances around the sand for a spell, and then offers to show me the harbor side capital, Hamilton. The houses are sherbet-colored, with unique stepped limestone roofs that collect all-important rainwater, as in Bermuda there are no lakes, rivers or streams.

We pass shops selling Shetland sweaters and linen doilies, and businessmen milling about in smart casual jackets, neckties, shorts, and knee socks. Yes, the cliché is true….people really do wear Bermuda shorts here, and proudly.

Here we meet Ronald K. Maughan, director of operations for The English Sport Shop, which has been outfitting islanders since 1918. Ronald says the shorts were invented when British forces in India during WWI were suffering from the heat in their long pants. “It was too hot, so they cut their trousers into shorts.” They were baggy and without any defining style, but they were cool, and the improvised clothing followed British forces to Bermuda, where it was decided that, given the temperatures, shorts were a smart item for one’s wardrobe.

But it’s the socks that make the outfit, says Maughan. Knee socks must reach just below the knee, no more than an inch, and must be folded over. Socks should match the jackets, contrasting with the shorts. It’s all very proper, and of course, this is the attire for proper fun.Hamilton Waterfront Bermuda

Next door is The Pickled Onion bar, one of many establishments graced with the word onion. Why the fascination with the tear-inducing vegetable? It turns out Bermuda was for many years a major supplier of onions, and these days the locals are sometimes called onions.

It’s lunch time, so we head down the road to one of the best kept local secrets in Bermuda, The Black Horse Tavern, tucked in a remote corner of St. David’s island. Many of the locals maintain this is the most authentic restaurant for original local cuisine in Bermuda.

The place has a dusty rose exterior with green shutters and a glass covered balcony in the rear that looks over Smith’s Sound. I order the wahoo fish sandwich on raisin bread (why don’t they offer this in the States?) with sweet homemade coleslaw and ginger beer. Like many so many things here, the food is just not subject to immutable destiny, but alive to wild grace.

Ashley Harris, a local guide, joins our table and offers to show us about. With bellies full we wind to the top of St. David’s lighthouse, and then down to Tom Moore’s Jungle, also called The Walsingham Nature Reserve, 12 acres of preserved, privately owned land. Tom Moore, of course, is the island-friendly shorthand for Thomas Moore, the 18th century Irish poet who, for a short time, called Bermuda home. He wrote some of his most celebrated works here while resting under Bermuda’s most famous tree, the calabash. Ashley recites some of his poetry, and we nod in reverence, and then take a proper trek through the jungle, snaking around vines and throughSecret Caveshafts of light penetrating the canopy. Bermuda’s tropical karst is on pocked display here, with caves and grottos winking, blind eyes the color of wet coal. Some of the dark eyes are dry, others filled with water, even tropical fish. We linger at the largest grotto in the area, and relish in the tranquility. The only sound is the drip, drip, dripping of water from the stalactites.

Our final stop for the day is at The Southlands Estate, which hosts the largest grove of rubber trees in Bermuda. The original Tarzan movies were filmed on a lake in Culver City, not far down the road from my house. The producers should have come here. Ashley demonstrates by grabbing a thin vine and swinging out over a small cliff. Soon she has the rest of us gyring about like baboons, thumping chests and letting out throaty Johnny Weissmullers at the apex of a swing.

Now, it’s off to the airport to head home. On the final stretch of roadway we pass The Swizzle Inn, where Lisa spent an evening as an anthropologist, studying proper fun with the locals. It’s a place spilling with fun, from the signage throughout (If you’re drinking to forget, please pay in advance), to their signature rum drinks, to their motto, “Swizzle Inn and Stagger Out.”

And that’s how I leave Bermuda…properly blissed, and ready to return for more.

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Grateful for the Tides

As a child I spent much of my time in the summer splashing about in the shallows of Flatt’s Inlet in my sub-tropical island home of Bermuda.  On summer afternoons my parents would sit on the grass in the shade of swaying palm trees as my brother and I would seek sea critters in the tide-pools under the wooden pier.  Through the inlet, which averages one hundred feet across and six hundred feet in length, fresh seawater from the open ocean of Bermuda’s North Shore ebbs and flows with the tides to and from Harrington Sound, an inland marine lake.  Flanking the Inlet stand the storefronts and houses of the village, each painted a more vibrant color than the next.  The village, coupled with the intense turquoise of the crystal clear water and the emerald green vegetation growing alongside, creates a Technicolor feast for the eyes.

I am grateful to still live nearby and often drive past.  Sometimes I even stop to sit on the pier to watch the tides change.  Each day at high tide the waters speed up to funnel through the bridge at the entrance of the Sound, and at low tide the waters funnel back out through the Inlet and towards the open sea.  The currents can be so strong that rapids are created under the bridge and it can make for precarious swimming.  When the winds and currents are working in harmony, however, the water moves in such unison that it appears as if a piece of glass is resting on top, allowing you to see the sandy bottom of the Inlet, and all of its curious inhabitants.

I find that there is something uniquely calming about watching the sea, particularly at the Inlet.  Perhaps it is a primal urge to return to the mother of all life on our planet, to look to her for answers.  Currently, I am at a static place in my life, the calm between the tides.  The closing and opening of old and new chapters in life doesn’t happen as seamlessly as it does in novels, nor does change happen on a schedule like the tides.  For years I have been sowing the seeds of change for my next chapter, and I am hoping the harvest comes soon.  Needless to say the wait can be rather frustrating.  Nevertheless, as I sit to watch the waters flowing in and out of the Inlet, it reminds me that even when the tides are at a standstill, or even working against you, it is never for too long.  Even when struggling in the torrents of life I know that at some point, if I am patient, I will catch the current in the direction I wish to head.

Watching the changing of the tides also reminds me of the impermanence of life.  Over time, decades, centuries, and millennia, this inlet will be eroded, the sea eating its way through the limestone that makes up the Island.  As morbid a thought it is to understand what this means for my life, and the lives of those I love, it is recognizing this impermanence that implores me to appreciate and make the most of the borrowed time we have on this earth together.

I must remember that I am blessed beyond measure, as I am indeed guilty of taking my blessings for granted from time to time.  We don’t appreciate the sun until it rains, our health until we are sick, serenity until there is chaos, and we don’t truly appreciate people until they are gone.  So as I gaze upon the still waters I remind myself that in this idle phase of my life I have had the opportunity to spend time on my beautiful island home with my family and friends, and grow closer to them.  And for that I will be forever grateful.  For as long as I am able to I will return to the Inlet, and in the wind whistling through the palm frons, the smell of salt in the air, and the hum of boats puttering through will live the eternal summer of my childhood.  For as long as this inert period of my life lasts I will remember to appreciate the calm knowing that tides will soon turn, and the torrents of past will be nothing more than water under the bridge.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

Lisa Ashley swizzle inn
Filming with Ashely in Bermuda at the Swizzle Inn
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am grateful for your support for me and We Said Go Travel! Thank you!
WRITING CONTEST: 
The Fall 2014 Gratitude Travel Writing Contest is open. Free entry and cash prizes. Share your story of how you are a hero!
 The theme for the Fall 2014 contest is “Gratitude: A Place That Inspires You to Feel Strong and Hopeful.”
We hope your article will inspire others to travel more and find their inner hero!   Share your story your act of gratitude–a place you chose or that allows you to stand up for yourself. Be inspired by Idina Menzel‘s character, Elizabeth, in the Broadway sensation, If/Then, with her song, No More Wasted Time,

No more wasted time

No more time for doubt

You say you’re not sure you’re a hero?

It’s time you should find out

So say you’ve made a few mistakes

Heroes know that’s what it takes

To find their way

No more wasted time

Not one more day

Where are you most able to be your true self? Your place of freedom might be far across the globe or in your own backyard.

Fairmont Bermuda Sunset
Bermuda Sunset! Thanks to Orbitz and Richard Bangs for inviting me to host their special!

The Editor in Chief from Wharton Business Magazine recently sent this to all the writers:

Great engagement has come not just on the magazine website, but through social media as well. One standout performance was by contributor Lisa Ellen Niver C89, whose latest blog tweet reached 4.1 million people. Lisa is fantastic about promoting her content (obviously!) and we’re currently dissecting what we were able to do for her, in order to replicate it again (and again). Read the article: CLICK HERE
New on USA Today from Lisa:

  • LA Live: A Pulsing Center of Downtown
  • 10best Spas: Hidden Gems & High End Treatments in Los Angeles
  • Wolfgang Puck: The Nest at WP24, The Ritz Carlton
  • Rodeo Drive: Iconic and Historic Shopping in Beverly Hills
Thank you to Richard Bangs and Orbitz for inviting me to BERMUDA to be the host of their recent series. Click here for the behind the scenes footage! Official videos to be out in December! 

Thank you for your support. Connect on  Facebook,  Google+InstagramLinkedInPinterest,  SlideShare,  Twitter, and YouTube.

Thanks again! Lisa (Click here to sign up for this newsletter. )

Latest on Jewish Journal about Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy Tab S

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Bermuda Day 4: Rosedon Hotel Afternoon Tea, Gombey dancing, golfing and Romantic Sunsets at Tucker’s Point #RBQuests

Thank you to the entire#RBQuests Orbitz Team! Especially Richard Bangs, Didrik Johnck, Ashley Moradipour, and Nhuri Bashir  of Burnt House Productions.

Video Day 4Bermuda: Afternoon Tea, Gombey dancing, golfing and Romantic Sunsets #RBQuests 

Happy hugs from @FairmontSouthampton #RBQuests #Bermuda

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

 

Enjoying High Tea at Rosedon Hotel with Muriel #RBQuests #Bermuda

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Experiencing “The Warner Gombeys” with Willis #RBQuests #Bermuda

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

The signature 17th hole @tuckerspoint #RbQuests #Bermuda #golf

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Dinner and Dark & Stormy @TuckersPoint with #RBQuests #Bermuda @Orbitz

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on


DAY ONE:
Adventures in Bermuda: Arrival from Los Angeles and Day One at Elbow Beach
http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/los-angeles-bermuda-day-one-rbquests/

DAY TWO:
Bermuda Day Two: Shopping, Scooters, and Swizzle
http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/bermuda-day-two-shopping-scooters-swizzle/

DAY THREE:
Bermuda Day 3: Drones, Cliff jumping, and Spa Baths
http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/bermuda-day-3-rbquests-drones-cliff-jumping-spa-baths/

DAY FOUR:
Afternoon Tea, Gombey dancing, golfing and Romantic Sunsets #RBQuests
http://youtu.be/8Dc_FQpG4QU

DAY FIVE:
Pink sand, Bermuda shorts, Hidden Gems  & Waterlot
http://youtu.be/ION9LvwaFQ0

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Fairmont Bermuda Sunset

Bermuda Day 3 #RBQuests: Drones, Cliff Jumping & Spa Baths was AMAZING!

Thank you to the entire#RBQuests Orbitz Team! Especially Richard Bangs, Didrik Johnck, Nhuri Bashir and Andrew Kilpatrick of Burnt House Productions.

VIDEO DAY ONE: Adventures in Bermuda: Arrival from Los Angeles and Day One at Elbow Beach

VIDEO DAY TWOBermuda Day Two: Shopping, Scooters, and Swizzle

VIDEO DAY THREE Bermuda Day 3: Drones, Cliff jumping, and Spa Baths

Thanks for all the expert assistance from @nhuribashir & @burnthouseproductions #RBQuests at Smugglers Cave #Bermuda

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

@orbitz #RBQuests photo team: @deetrak @ashleymo_rad filming at Fort Hamilton 91 #Forts in #Bermuda A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Spa style @ElbowBeach “Rum Swizzle Treatment Experience” Who is getting in the bath? #RBQuests #Bermuda

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Notes about Nov 4:

Sunrise photos on the beach where I got photo bombed by a DJI Drone!

I love hooping in the sunshine on the beach with my toes in the sand.

Harry-O from Beeline Transport took us to Admiralty House for Cliff Jumping with Andrew Kilpatrick & Nhuri Bashir of Burnt House Productions. Did rick and Ashley also jumped. We all explored Smuggler’s Cave!

At FORT HAMILTON, I learned there are 91 forts that protect Bermuda.

The unique stepped limestone roofs collect rainwater. In Bermuda, there are no lakes, rivers or streams.

We ate lunch at Cafe 4

We returned to Elbow Beach Spa for the Rum Swizzle Specialty SpaTreatment: And there was filming in the bathtub!

Sunset photos at Ocean Club at Fairmont Southampton were stunning and we drank both a Dark&Stormy and an ocean blue Oceantini.

What a great day! I wonder what will happen tomorrow!

Lisa

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Warwick Long Bay BermudaBermuda Day Two was beyond my expectations!

Thank you to the entire #RBQuests Orbitz Team! Especially Richard Bangs, Didrik Johnck, Ashley Moradipour, Rachel Sawden, Nhuri Bashir

November 3, 2104 included: Dockyard Craft Market, Bonefish, Alexandra Mosher Designs, The English Sport Shop, Queen Street, David Rose Jewelry and the Swizzle Inn.

Good Morning @ElbowBeach! Sunrise #hooping in #Bermuda. Ready for an exciting day if exploring with #RBQuests.

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

VIDEO DAY ONE: Adventures in Bermuda: Arrival from Los Angeles and Day One at Elbow Beach VIDEO DAY TWOBermuda Day Two: Shopping, Scooters, and Swizzle

Starting our day in #Bermuda at Warwick Long Bay with #pinksand @RBQuests A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Exploring Dockyard #Bermuda #RBQuests Thanks @nhuribashir @rayraydatyoy A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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Bermuda Elbow BeachLos Angeles to Bermuda: Day One #RBQuests November 2, 2014

Thank you to Richard Bangs, Didrik Johnck and Orbitz for inviting me on this adventure in Bermuda! See our videos from Puerto Rico.

 

 

 

Leaving Los Angeles For #Bermuda! #RBQuests begins again

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

VIDEO: Adventures in Bermuda: Arrival from Los Angeles and Day One at Elbow Beach

Leaving #Boston for #Bermuda #RBQuests. What is your favorite thing about Flying? @nokia #nofilter

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Gary @elbowbeach #Bermuda showing me my stunning ocean view room. #RBQuests I<3 Bermuda! A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Drinking a rum swizzle made by Champagne Danny in the Library Lounge @elbowbeach #Bermuda #RbQuests Amazing!

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

My first day ever in #Bermuda! What do you think I should see? Started with @elbowbeach #RBQuests A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

N1Bermuda: Same Ocean, Different Shore

            Cruising down the wrong side of a foreign road, I searched for any indication of an approaching shoreline. Having spent the last three days peering over the top deck of a cruise ship, watching the massive boat slice through the Atlantic Ocean, I was eager to finally plunge into that welcoming water myself. With the thick tropical heat filtering into our oversized taxi, my family members aimed their cameras to the open windows, all hoping to capture the perfect image of the Bermuda scenery.

Palm trees, cloudless skies, and florescent houses provided an ideal backdrop for our journey down the narrow roads, as speeding cars barely scraped by us on the opposite side. As a native to the island, our taxi driver also acted as a tour guide along the way. From the most elite mansions to each quaint little cottage, he supplied information on nearly every type of building lining our path. Eventually, to my excitement, the surrounding houses grew sparser and the sandy coast came into view.

Having spent that same morning exploring Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital, with my family, I had already seen Horseshoe Bay, our destination, on nearly every postcard in every shop. I had marveled at the scenic photos, but when we finally arrived at our greatly anticipated retreat, I realized that a postcard was no competition for the real thing. No printed picture of the rose-colored sand could capture its cool satin texture like the touch of bare feet. With each sinking step, the salty ocean breeze nudged me toward the horizon, where the already crowded waters begged for more company.

Being accustomed to the frigid New England water back home, I braced myself for the chilling tide to wash over my ankles, only to be met with the same warmth as the summer air. Now I understood why so many people were able to just dive in with such ease—it was like entering a Jacuzzi with an unlimited capacity. I waded in to join everyone else, taking my place amongst the hundreds of beach-goers enjoying their day under the blazing August sun.

Floating in the clear turquoise water, the ocean and I became one body. The waves surged with a rhythmic pulse, matching my sighs of peaceful satisfaction. Cradling my body, the sea made me feel safe even in my most vulnerable state. The licks of water washed away the sand’s remnants, and the calming motion cleansed my mind of all thought. As the surf caressed the blushing shore, I drifted along with a quiet indulgence.

I had no concept of time, and it didn’t matter. Using only the changing shadows to keep track of time, I soon realized that the passing minutes had turned to hours. I never wanted to leave, and I noticed no one else did either. For as long as I stayed, the crowd never wavered. Kids were laughing, friends were throwing Frisbees, and families were having picnics under their giant umbrellas. They were free from worry, free from care, free from life’s stresses, and I had officially joined them.

About the Author: Nicole Gariepy: I am a student at Salem State University, currently pursuing a degree in English with a minor in dance. In addition to writing, I enjoy doing ballet, playing music, and spending time with family and friends. Find me on Facebook.

By Lee Abbamonte

Travel opens your eyes and your mind to a whole new world.

Travel enables you to see the world through other peoples eyes and from other points of view.

Travel increases your awareness of other cultures and people.

Travel makes you smarter.

Travel is the best education you can receive.

Travel enables you to speak intelligently on a variety of global topics.

Travel shows you how global policy effects different countries and different types of people.

Travel brings you to places you’ve only dreamed about seeing.

Travel shows you landscapes you never thought were possible.

Travel shows you what real beauty is.

Travel shows you that everything is beautiful in its own way.

Travel makes books and television come to life.

Travel makes adventures happen everyday.

Travel makes dreams come true.

Travel gives you a sense of enormous accomplishment.

Travel gives you something to look forward to to.

Travel gives you options.

Travel is a lifetime journey that is never the same twice.

Travel makes the big world small.

Travel humbles you.

Travel puts things into perspective.

Travel shows you what poor is.

Travel shows you how unfair this world can be.

Travel shows you people overcoming the longest odds to live their life to the fullest.

Travel shows you triumphs of the human spirit.

Travel teaches you how to say “Cheers” in 30 different languages.

Travel teaches you the International language of beer.

Travel teaches you to appreciate wine and the beauty of vineyards.

Travel teaches you to try new things.

Travel makes you yearn to do new things.

Travel teaches you the difference between a traveler and a tourist.

Travel teaches you to become a traveler and not just a tourist.

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world. I am a travel writer, travel expert, global adventurer and have appeared on NBC, CNN, ESPN, GBTV, Fox News, Jetset Social and have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Smart Money, Slate, OK! Magazine, Peter Greenberg radio and many others. I’ve visited 306 countries and am one of the world’s most-traveled people.

“I believe in globalization of everything including people. I believe that I am a citizen of Earth. I believe that people around the world are at their core, basically good and the same. I believe that more people should experience the world and the way traveling can open their eyes and minds to different and exciting things. I believe in just being myself. I believe in life.” – Lee Abbamonte