Sailing on a gently swaying ship I sit with a smile on a bed just for me, looking through a sliding glass door that I can close to keep out the world. Granted, the world is nice here. I gaze through a lightly tinted floor to ceiling window at a textured royal blue ocean occasionally fringed with white as the rolls collide with boat hull or rocky outcropping, and a landscape of smoothly serrated lush green island that parades past unending. After only an hour atop the deck in the sun my shoulders carry the odd scent of sun-scorched flesh that tingles in the surprising coolness of the breezy shade.
We leapt in turns from the top deck of the boat at a height just enough to send a delicious spike of adrenaline flowing and plunged into the water submersing several body lengths below the surface, to re-immerge in laughter. Internally and externally rinsing the accustomed resigned monotony and grunge of long hours spent waiting and traveling. After a jolting cup of French-pressed caffeine, the collective realization and embracement of our new relaxed situation topped off with a gourmet lunch served outdoors beneath the sails, I retreat and slide my glass door shut, flopping onto the bed to let out the sigh that I’d been holding for days.
I had wanted to escape weeks ago. With four precious consecutive empty calendar days at my feet, I packed up my car with surfboard, skateboard, tent, firewood, books, notebook and pen, and started driving North, alone. Two hours in, my mission thwarted by a phone call from someone wanting something from me I felt obligated to give, I doubled back disappointed. Defeated. Denied. And the solo time my soul was craving vanished with no opportunity in sight for several whole calendar page flips.
The sudden unexpected situation in front of me is therefore even more delicately delicious than could be expected from a ten day surf-focused boat trip to the little explored Northern Fijian atolls with old and new friends. Having spent most of the last few months meeting and traveling with new people (mostly male), to embark on a journey with familiar interesting intelligent females is like a sweet dessert you didn’t realize you were craving until someone suggests you take a bite. The bonus surprise of a private room that I can escape to and relax is the chocolate sauce swirled on the plate.