“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” -Isak Dinesan
There’s something so soothing about the sea. Perhaps it’s those endless waves lapping on the shore…or the calm blue colors of varying depths. Either way, the sea is a place where many people find peace letting go of things. There are people who have scattered the cremated ashes of loved ones into the sea, with the ocean breeze carrying whispers of goodbye. There are messages in bottles–rolled up words being tossed gently in waves, looking for someone to discover the secrets and magic within.
I’ve been on the coast of Croatia for the past four days and am absolutely loving being by the sea. My only intention for this leg of my trip was to relax and let go of everything that has been weighing me down. For the past few weeks while traveling, I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been in a state of limbo. I’m here enjoying an amazing European summer, yet I’ve had pangs of guilt for not being at work full-time on the 9-5 daily grind of my former life. In the middle of countless happy moments of traveling, there are also periodic moments of panic and fear when I realize that the life I had before in San Francisco is no longer the life I’ll have when I return. I keep reminding myself that I voluntarily closed a chapter to begin anew, with new possibilities. I keep telling myself that I have to learn to let go and just be.
Today that finally happened–I let go.
I was swimming in the Adriatic Sea off a tiny little beach on the island of Brac, when the proverbial tides turned and I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. Just so you know, I used to be afraid of swimming in the open water because I never swam in the ocean growing up (the strong waves and cold waters in San Francisco were not meant for scrawny kids like me). It wasn’t until adulthood that actually took a dip in the ocean. Before, I could only bear to be a few feet from shore. However, over time I’ve learned to go further, tiny bit by tiny bit. There was this pivotal moment in the water today, when I realized that I wasn’t getting very far because I kept staring at shore. I was fixated on shore. My belongings were on shore. I came from shore. Nice, safe, comfortable, sandy shore. It was anchoring me and weighing me down.
So what did I do? I looked outwards toward the vastness of the sea and kept my gaze there as I swam. I looked at the boats sailing past. I looked at the mountains of the neighboring island. I looked at the hypnotic waves, coming toward me, beckoning me to let go. I kept swimming. It felt great. I felt so full of peace. I turned toward the shore and said out loud, “Goodbye shore. Goodbye old me.” Then I looked back out toward the horizon and breathed out a long sigh of relief. Somewhere in the Adriatic, coordinates unknown, I let go.
Now I feel much lighter. I didn’t even realize that I was carrying that heaviness with me until the sea swept it away. Tomorrow I leave Croatia and am a bit sad to part from this beautiful coast. Croatia has been so profoundly beautiful and kind to me. But, like everything else, I’ll just have to let go of it–at least for now.
Sharing with you snapshots from the Adriatic:
Sea you later.