Travels, Day 16: Ngapali Beach Bliss

Intention: ENJOY!

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that “joy” doesn’t always fall high on my priority list. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important, but more that setting aside time just to — what, experience pleasure?! — is often hard for me to justify. So many other things feel more pressing; amidst a schedule in which I’m most often on the move and “doing work” in some way or another (professional or personal), joy seems like something that is an indulgence, rather than a necessity.

But I’d like to challenge this concept. Frankly, it feels a little protestant to me, to value “getting things done” more than “enjoying the process.” Because what, really, is this life about, if not for finding experiences and people that bring us closer to our bliss?! I personally know that establishing a daily rhythm that invites moments of unabashed delight, happiness, exuberance — or even just simple a simple expression of joy — allows for me to show up for all parts of the world with more life force. Letting myself truly experience gratification fills me up and recharges me.

So today, I dare you: let yourself reach for something, for no reason other than it bringing you pleasure! Enjoy an indulgent taste, a goofy guffaw, the smell of a flower, a good TV show, a snuggle with a beloved. Explore an edge of hedonism that serves your soul.

Travel Highlights:

  1. Morning yoga on the beach, and a pre-breakfast dip in the beatific Indian Ocean!
  2. Finally craving “Western foods,” and indulging accordingly at our breakfast buffet. (Hash browns and scrambled eggs with ketchup DEFINITELY never tasted so good.)
  3. A luxuriously long mid-morning walk down to the very end of the beach!
  4. Over lunch, being surprised by our waitress bringing us out three stunningly fresh raw fish (on a silver tray, still sparkling with sea water!) to choose from — and then enjoying our selection, steamed and spiced to perfection, just minutes later. (Today’s selections: red snapper, barracuda, sea bass).
  5. $7 massages on the beach, to the backdrop of the sound of rolling waves, with slivers of sun winking through the trees onto my face and bare belly.
  6. Another amazing afternoon swim: mom and I swam back and forth together, frolicking in the waves, not wanting to leave the water.
  7. An astonishing scene, not far down the beach: a boat being burned, greedy flames licking high into the sky where the sun was setting above. The burning boat was surrounded by shirtless Burmese boys attempted wheelies on motorbikes, and crows making a mad ruckus; mom and I read about absurd drug fiascos in her comedic American book. The stark contrast of many worlds colliding was revelatory.

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