There are moments that color your life, and there are moments that define it.
I believe wholeheartedly that fresh experiences propel me into life’s rapture–they remove me from my comfort zone, challenge me, and stay with me in the background of my day to day life. I can daydream of pick-up tennis on termite courts in Tanzania, carving through Cartagena’s fruit stalls sucking down lulu fruit and watching my mom wiz by on a motorbike with a super-sized smile in Vietnam. These are the moments I lean on when it’s drizzly and forty degrees in NYC and I need a little break.
But travel is not always an escape from the world. It can be a tool to connect with it more fully.
Thank you, Amanyara, for being my anti-escape. You stripped life to the (beautiful) bare minimum for a few days. My thoughts collapsed and I was left with the sparkling sea, intense sunshine, salty air, and my salt-of-the-earth friend Jenny.
Raw & Wild Rocky outcrops aside lapping turquoise waves, hermit crabs cruising sand paths, and sea grape, buttonwoods and sea ox-eye daisies flanking fire torches… as perfectly executed as Amanyara is, they still left the wildness. Forget perfectly manicured lawns and think raw seaside landscapes that command attention. I lost count of the number of hummingbirds that zoomed in and out of my day.
I feel raindrops. For a Vitamin D-deficient New Yorker who craves sunshine, the first drops of rain were accompanied with “Oh noooooooooooo.” I was floating around in the ocean when the drops hit. And then we realized–we are already wet! Look how beautiful the ocean looks as the drops splash into the water! Look at the way the mist hovers over the ocean. And as everyone rushed inside for shelter, we were the only people in sight. We soaked up every drop. I will never forget that rainstorm pounding down on us in those cant-be-real turquoise waters. And like that, we succumbed to the elements and connected to that moment and its unexpected grace.
Broken Open I am fascinated by the healing power of the water. Don’t underestimate splashing around in the sea to renew the soul! This trip goes without saying that Amanyara’s crystal-clear waves washed away our heavy layers and left us there wide open. There was nothing to focus on but the basics.
I replaced mindless TV with a sunset run and diving into the waters in my Nikes and everything else on me. I swapped my walk to work with pedaling around in our perfectly-named beach cruisers. I exchanged my usual cup of coffee that accompanies me to my computer with a heavenly latte and fresh island air. Happy to report that after one week of being back, I’ve kept up my runs and my lattes. And there was one more thing I brought back: the Turks & Caicos mascot, a conch shell. It had been stripped away by the waves to its bones. Pure, pink and so beautifully broken open.
Design Genius Amanyara takes your breath away and leaves you quiet. Malaysian-based architect Jean-Michel Gathy perfectly balanced contemporary with warm, minimalist with commanding. The property was flooded with light, imposing views, and no patterns or noise to distract from the bold blue sky and striking turquoise around every bend. My imagination raced as I drooled over every chair, every soaring doorway, and that 164-foot infinity-edged pool made of black volcanic rock. I wanted to pack it all up with me.
And then I looked up. My design obsession was fueled even further at Amanyara! A conical inspired ceiling was one of the most dramatic details of the trip, but could have so easily gone unnoticed. It made me think of biomimcry, a science that studies nature’s models and then uses these designs and processes to solve human problems. I first heard about biomimicry on a Ted Talk, and if I hadn’t found my dream job, I would be throwing myself into a career that rallied this concept far and wide.
Looking to nature never fails—billions of years of perfection are on her side after all. Velcro was inspired by the way burred seed pouches cling to animal fur. Natural air conditioning was created by copying termite dens’ cooling systems. We can’t outsmart Mother Nature, and we’re best to let her take the lead. I appreciate and look up to those who respect the patterns and wizardry in life’s details. Nothing compares to the genius of nature, and those that embrace it create such magic and wonder, whether in design or just themselves.
One Little Star I remember being around 8-years-old, walking along the Florida Keys with my mom, and hearing her say that there were more stars in the sky than pieces of sand. My mind was blown. That came up again recently at an Explorers Club event on the future of spaceflight, where I spoke with an astronaut about the humility that comes with seeing the curvature of the earth. As I dug my hands and feet into the sand and the grains poured through, I was reminded again of how tiny my life is compared to our universe, and how despite how monumental I think my universe is at times, I am just one little grain of sand, one little star, in a sea of them.
That’s a scary and comforting thought. No matter what happens, the sun still rises, the waves will crash into the shore, the redwoods still grow stronger and higher and more majestic, and life goes on. Amanyara reminded me of that–nature runs its course and I felt it running through me.
Amanyara, I wish I could make you an annual requirement, as should everyone! My friend Alexis reminds me of Isak Dinesen’s words: The cure for anything is salt water–sweat, tears, or the sea. That was certainly my anthem. Thank you Amanyara for keeping it simple and nudging us to connect wholeheartedly with all your beauty without doing a thing.
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