Do you want to instantly feel, look, and be perceived as 5-7 years younger?
I have the answer and solution to the aforementioned question….
Since I began my trek almost two months ago, I have easily shaved 5 years off my age (on average) – YIPEE! Now… I have never really been an ageist – it’s just a number after all. But having most people think you are 5 years younger than you actually are feels pretty damn good! “WHHHHHHHHHHHAT you are 30?? NO WAY!” Why yes….yes I am.
I’m not certain whether it’s my newly sun kissed skin, my never ending smile, or my overall happy and free spirited demeanor — but time after time when people guess my age it’s usually in the 24-26 range. I’LL TAKE IT (I’ll be 31 August 30th) 😉
My time here on the island of Tenerife has been equal parts of adventure and relaxation. So far this trip has gifted me the luxury of having TIME. Time to think. Time to create. Time to relax. Time to sleep. Time to hike. Time to explore. Time to connect. Time to just be.
I’m starting to realize that much of WHAT I am doing is a matter of a mindset than being in a particular location (however being on a Spanish island is quite the catalyst for self growth and being blissfully fulfilled). Stay tuned for an upcoming video where I am going to share with you my TOP 5 Actions Your Can Take NOW to prepare for long term travel (but will also be focused on feeling connected with this beautiful world no matter where you are!) <— ok now i’m committed. I had to share as a way to hold myself accountable!
Read below for some highlights and photos from my 4th week on the island!
Day 48 – June 4 (22)
Expenses – 18 Euro (bus fare to Puerto de la Cruz, beer, snack)
I took the bus in the afternoon to walk around Puerto de la Cruz, which is a bit south from where I am staying in Valle Guerra. This was my farthest solo bus excursion to date so I was super proud of myself for not getting TOO lost! The bus system here is semi-reliable but NONE…. and I mean NONE… of the bus stops are marked as to which one is which. AND since I don’t really read or speak Spanish I’m limited in regards to being able to ask where I need to get off. I just use my “WING IT” method, hope for the best, and cross my fingers I run into someone that can speak a little English and give me some sense of direction. Once I was in town, I walked around the historic part and the old fisherman’s village… I was a little hungry so I grabbed a drink and snack and ate it on top of El Penon – a volcanic rock which was a product of the eruptions in 1430 and named after a month who would climb to the top of the rock to say his prayers. It had nice views of the coast and I had one of those HOLY SHIT I’M IN SPAIN moments!!. I then walked along the coast to Player Jardin where I can across a “rock field” with rock towers. Naturally I had to feed my obsession with rocks and build one myself. I continued wandering throughout the town and found a park type of area with a bunch of stairs… the further you climbed the stairs the views opened up so I figured it was a good spot to shoot a video (see previous post). I had to catch the bus home — ended up jumping on the wrong line and getting transported further out than I wanted to to catch my connecting bus back to Valle Guerra. No harm done… it just meant MORE time on the bus – lovely :-).
Day 49 – June 5 (23)
Expenses – 2 Euro
Went to La Barranquera and spent the whole day on the beach reading and relaxing. I climbed over some rocks on the beach and perched myself up on one of the volcanic formations that had a flat area. It was right at the waters edges, sun shining… with my book in my hand- AHHHH this is the life. Fast forward 15 minutes and my idea of laying on a BLACK rock formation turned out to be a sweaty one. I was dripping sweat from behind my knees… I think my elbows were sweating if that is even possible! I was too lazy to move so I just took the heat 🙂 As I was heading back I went to the boating area where you can swim a bit. Given I was disgustingly sweaty I decided to take a dip, relax, and pick up some more sea glass. I found a little beer stand and decided to get myself a cold one before heading back to the hostel. As I sat there sipping my beer in the hot Spanish sun, a kitty came over and started rubbing up against my legs and being super cute and friendly. I saw a young Spanish man walk past… and a few minutes later he approached me… handed me a beer (said nothing)… then smiled and walked away. NICE!! I managed to do the slight uphill climb back to the hostel and relaxed by the pool for a bit before heading to my friend Alejandro’s for dinner. We snacked on camarones (little shrimp), and had burgers for dinner (an “American” meal). Delish!
Day 50 – June 6 (24)
Expenses – 6 Euro (wine and snacks for beach party)
Worked in the morning then laid by the pool. In the evening I went to a beach party with Alejandro & Johanna to meet some other people from couchsurfing. As we were waiting for the person who invited us (Juan), I overheard some people talking and thought “That accent sounds American!” I saw a group of young men and when one looked at me I asked if they were from America and he said yes — these were the first Americans I’ve come across on the island! They were from New Jersey and going to a merchant marine type of school in NYC. They were on a ship doing an internship for the summer and had come ashore to party. AND PARTY they did – I could quickly tell they were highly intoxicated…. and HIGHLY obnoxious. The one even said “We are the most American people you can meet” — ummmm I wouldn’t go around bragging about that buddy considering you were quite rude and disrespectful to my local friends. I thought it was common sense to not act like an asshole when you are a guest in someone’s country… I guess these idiots missed that day in school.
ANYWHO – we linked up with Juan and his friend Romain and found the party. It was a large group of people from all over the world. My lesson for the evening was from my German roommate who I saw mixing cola and beer together — whaaaaaaat? She explained that girls do that in Germany to make the bitter beer taste better. Being the curious person I am I had to try it out — it’s actually a GENIUS idea – it was quite tasty!
Day 51 – June 7 (25)
Expenses – 5 Euro (snack and beer after beach)
Relaxed in the morning, laid by the pool, then went to a local surf beach with Juan, Romain, and Johanna – the boys bodyboarded and surfed and the girls relaxed. Saw my first nude people casually strolling the beach (I love and admire how free and open people are here – it makes sense. WHY shouldn’t we just be naked? It’s natural!). When Romain came out of the water he had gashed his foot pretty good so we headed back to the car so he could bandage it up (he ended up needing stitches). I don’t know how he did it but he still wore his flip flop (which went right across the cut)… and walked/climbed over the rocks and cliff to get back up to the car. Ouchies! We went to Bajamar for beers and snacks after and watched the ridiculous waves! They were crashing against the concrete wall creating huuuuuuuuge sprays and splashes of water – they were definitely the biggest waves I’ve seen in my life… I couldn’t stop watching them it was so beautiful!
Day 52 – June 8 (26)
Expenses – 25 euro (15 for Bono bus car, 8 for dinner, 2 (bus fare, water, gum)
Worked in the morning then took the bus to La Laguna to meet Juan…he so kindly offered to show me around and also teach me Spanish (I WILL learn… no matter how much it hurts my brain haha!) We took the bus to Tabaibi which is a coastal town a bit south of Santa Cruz. Even though the water felt frigid against my hot skin, I went swimming, snorkeling, and free diving (attempted free diving for me given I went down about 10-15 feet and felt like my ears were going to explode!). After a few hours at the beach we went back to La Laguna to eat dinner (papa frittas and a crepe at this quirky cafe) and learn Spanish.
Day 53 – June 9 (27)
Expenses – 8 (Books and food)
Worked in the morning, laid by the pool, then met Juan at Café 7 for a Spanish lesson. On the way out of the cafe is a used book store and I bought two English books for 3 Euro! WHOWHOOOOOOO! I used to primarily read non-fiction when I lived in the states. I saw reading as learning so I typically was reading something business, health, or self help related. The last novel I read was the 50 Shades of Grey series (which I’m not ashamed to admit that I actually quite liked them hehe). Now that I’m finding myself with time on my hands and limited access to books written in English… I’ve been reading more novels. Give me a book and a sunny beach and I’m SET :-). After the Spanish lesson we walked around La Laguna and ate “the best burger in La Laguna” at this little restaurant. Lucky for me I bike and walk a TON – because my diet has not been the best! I’ve had more bread and potatoes in the past four weeks than I have had in the past YEAR in the USA. Hunger is hunger and sometimes I just have to go for it. For the most part I have been able to have a similar diet of veggies, fruits, and of course loads of water. However, typical canarian dishes tend to be a bit heavy (french fries with toppings, sandwiches, meats, tons of breads). After we ate it was time for me to catch the bus… as I was walking up to the station… the bus was pulling away TWO minutes early. MEH. Therefore I had to wait another 40 minutes for the next one (it was 10:30 at night!). I will never EVER take having a car for granted! I love not having the expense of a car payment, insurance, and gas… but its at the expense of my feet (which look gross right now. I don’t know how I’ve done it but most of my walking has been in flip flops I purchased at Primark for 1 Euro. NOT the best walking shoe but I’ve managed!!! I would be embarrassed to go get a pedicure right now… like I would want to give myself an at home one before I would allow someone else to see them)…. hey… at least they are evidence to me having some AWESOME adventures!
View from the living room at Lagarto Backpackers in Valle Guerra – views of Teide!
Day 54 – June 10 (28)
Expenses – 2 Euro (wine)
Since I had the full day off I decided to head out on some adventures that were a bit farther away from the hostel. I’m finally comfortable and confident enough with the bus system to navigate my way around the island (mostly the northern part). Juan had invited me to join him in Santa Cruz so we walked around a bit before heading to one of his “secret spots”. The first stop was lunch at a secret indian restaurant where you walk up to the door, press a button, get buzzed in then take the elevator to the 7th floor. There is no menu…you simply sit and they just serve you heaps of delicious food all while having awesome views of the city!! It’s 8 Euro for all you can eat. With a belly full of food I needed to walk around a bit – YET I still managed to eat some awesome strawberry gelato at “the best place in town”.
What better thing to do after indulging yourself in delicious treats and feeling like a fatty?? Strip down to your bathing suit of course… sexy – NOT! We took the bus to Las Gaviotas which is a black sand beach a little north of Las Teresitas (the “fake” white sand beach)…the bus drops you off and then its about a 15 minute walk downhill to get to the beach. I did my best to relax on the beach given there were nude people all around! You know your day is complete when you see a man running naked. I was almost tempted to join in but decided to just go topless. Baby steps. Baby steps. It was time to head back up the cliff to catch the bus… but instead we hitchhiked back to Santa Cruz with a kind lady. I wouldn’t have done this my myself since I would have no way of telling the person where I want to go — BUT since I was with a local I figured whyyyyy not – free ride! And I like FREE! We wandered around Santa Cruz then took the bus to La Laguna and did a Spanish lesson before heading to Café 7 for the couch surfing meeting.
I had been planning on exploring Candelaria at some point in my trip and since Juan had to head there in the morning to get a new sailing licence he invited me to stay at his family’s home in Santa Cruz (where he lives with his mom and 2 sisters). It would save be about 3+ hours of traveling (going back and forth from the hostel) so heck yea! We left the cafe in La Laguna to catch the bus and there was a light drizzle so I proceeded to slip and slide my way on the slick sidewalks (most of the walkways here are made with tiles that apparently get VERY slippery when wet!). Once on the bus Juan turned to me as we neared his stop and said that the one neighborhood we had to walk through wasn’t the best and “If I tell you to run – RUN!” – UMMMMM SAY WHAT??? He said it was just the first 50 meters… and since my American brain doesn’t really quantify in meters I was quickly trying to figure out how long that was. So there I was in a foreign country, wearing cheap flip flops, and being told I may have to sprint away from some bad guys. He said he had twice incidents where someone attempted to rob him but he got away.
Now in hindsight it was all a bit dramatic. We rounded the corner and no one was on the street and we managed to get back to his house safe and sound. THANK GOD! My gut was telling me I wasn’t in danger so I managed not to freak the F out. All was good. Just another day in the life of a backpacker.
Random door to the secret restaurant….view from the table…Juan & I…view from the bus ride… the park in Santa Cruz!