There’s something about being disconnected from everything and anything that leaves you a little uneasy; and after that principal sense of uneasiness subsides, there’s something about being disconnected from everything and anything that leaves you in absolute, irreconcilable peace.
A year ago this same time, a five day camping trip composed of saltwater showers, compost bin toilets, and paper-thin sleeping bags would have had me running in the other directions; however, after a somewhat tumultuous and bittersweet freshman year of college, my mentality (about many things, in honesty) molded from ‘never in a million years’ into ‘well, why the hell not?’ Thus, my grandfather’s curious suggestion of a weeklong trip to Mona Island developed from a half-sarcastic dinner table discussion into a five hour boat ride off the coast of Mayaguez, completed about a week ago and retraced earlier this morning. My grandfather had been to Mona Island about fifteen times before (in his earlier years he was quite the spring chicken), and he was anxious to show at least one of his grandchildren this place which he believes to be absolutely magical. My father had been twice before, as well. Inclusively, everyone that was part of the 13-man troop had been to Mona at least twice, with the exception of my aunt and me--- and we really had no idea what we were in for.
During our five day trip, I had minimum contact with the outside world. Time was spent hiking, descending down caves, swimming in cobalt blue waters, counting hermit crabs and iguanas, feeding seagulls, brewing coffee, conversing around a scrappy picnic table… Time seemed to move more slowly in this strange little island. The second day, I had almost forgotten it was my birthday. My phone spent almost the entire trip in a corner of my tent, an interesting alternative from the classic pocket placement in my jeans. I timed my activities according to the sun: not only by its placement along the sky, but also by its strategic placement behind clouds that gave me enough time to move about without anticipating severe sun burns.
The first night, I’ll admit, I had a great trouble sleeping. I was so used to having my phone in my hand and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook until my eyes felt too heavy to keep open. The night set in, and all I could do was look up at a thin cloth roof that had water from rain seeping in from all sides. I was subconsciously forced into a rather introspective mood. It was almost overwhelming at first. After about two or three hours of quiet contemplation, about myself, about my life, about my friends and my family, and my past relationships, and my current relationships, and my hopes from future relationships, and my expectations, and my disappointments, and my flaws, and my fortes, and my grievances, and my regrets, and my pride, and my ego… I realized much about a lot, much about a lot that I had never taken the time to consider. It was interesting what a few hours of quiet and solitude could do to someone. When I managed to find peace after an overwhelming display of emotions, in a thin sleeping mat with an inflatable airplane pillow and no trace of bed sheet or bed spread, I slept better than I had in months.
The next three nights, I had never slept better or even slightly as undisturbed.