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I have this absolute love of travel. Be it sitting on an airplane looking out of my window and watching the clouds, to sipping a drink in a new location where I know no one but me. I feel the return of all my senses as they awaken to the curiosity of change. All senses feel fully alive, alert and yet calm.

Imagine sitting at a dinner table listening to the chatter of a foreign language. You cannot understand a word so you are suddenly more aware of the lilt of each voice, you still understand when a joke is told or when the subject has become serious. Yet you do not have to respond in words. In those moments you can sense how a baby listens and learns. In those moments you can also fade out, letting the conversation float by as you hold no responsibility to answer. Then there are some gorgeous moments, when you meet some one you really want to understand you, and you must look deeply into each others eyes to communicate, you jump around and wave your arms in pantomime to tell the story of who you are or what you want. When comprehension strikes you both smile, widen your eyes and shake heads in accomplishment.

In my first travels to Greece I was shocked at all the yelling. On numerous occasions I broke down crying as some one would respond to me with arms flapping left and right about what I should or should not do. Arguments on the street seemed to be a daily occurrence. ( Trust me, a girl from Boston had not seen much of this). I can honestly say I do not remember having any training on this type of yelling. Yet I do now. If you cross me, I have learned how to defend my space and my rights. I can yell like the rest of them yet choose only the most necessary moments. It is a tool that taught me I have the power to defend myself. This lesson came to me in my late twenties. It came at just the right time in life, it pulled me forward into strength and asked me to acknowledge I had more power than the feminine ( which I had relied on heavily).

Touch is big in Greece, people lean in, lean on and sit close. Go to a beach and you may see nudity. Walk through the town and not only lovers walk arm in arm but friends as well. The human body is welcome and entering its space is natural. I think all of us experienced this joy of closeness early in life, and then one day were told “no more”. Did we create a loneliness through fear of touch? Greece is still teaching me a lesson on this one, and I welcome it and explore.

If the earth has chakras ,I have taken to thinking of Greece as a base chakra... asking me to not only feel my worth but to show it.

And yet there is the night sit under and fall in love with the aura around the moon and its shadow of white on the aegean sea telling you everything is just perfect and you are blessed. Relax.

The sky wonders and asks you...are you listening to your choices? You are free to choose your beliefs.

When I think of Italy I see gold light on buildings made with care, I see statues that love our body so much they have increased its size so you can sit in awe of our incredible form.

To sit down to a meal in Italy is a lesson in enjoying the art of receiving pleasure. There is no hurry, only time which is to be treasured. You are not to worry about eating too much, in fact you are encouraged to indulge. This is a respect to your desires and the creativity of the chef. Eventually, after sitting some time, savoring the tastes and the slow pace a sigh of contentment may escape you.

You may the word desire actually a positive word? When did I sense it might be negative? When had taking a long lunch become a 'guilty' pleasure? Should it not be a healthy pleasure?

Opening some grand old shutters in my room looking over a Roman piazza , I watch the pigeons and listen to there cooing. I see in the distance the shape of a statue and it asks me...are you listening to your choices? You are free to choose your beliefs.

Stepping into Costa Rica is stepping into softness. The earth is softer and more slippery. The air holds a wetness and the fruit is almost plush in its juiciness. People talk in slow motion and sit lazily on any surface that looks comfortable. The land is vivid in it's softness. Green and yellow, red and blue all make there way in front of you with a playfulness you thought fit only for a children's book. All life is welcome here. Monkeys howl and swing from tree to tree, dogs wag tails and play in the ocean, bird come and sit on your dinner plate, hummingbirds hover over your hammock as you swing slowly, large beetles sit on your sink side expecting to share your scraps. Welcome to the heart chakra. Remember, all are welcome and have equal rights of 'being'.

Nature is queen and she shows you such a variety of possibilities that exist if we except and care for all. I smile hello to the bird sitting on the back of my chair. He knows he is welcome. His senses are probably more defined than mine. The world seems bright and yet dreamy.

Wild storms do come..with loud cracks of thunder and lightening that designs the sky. Rain hits the tin roofs with a roar that blocks out all other sound. You must be patient and wait until you can begin again. Change happens. When the storm passes and you step out into that slippery mud, you may not move with grace but that is part of the fun. Learning to balance. Your hair will frizz, you will sweat and dirt will stick in any available spot ...and you will feel fully alive. Laugh that you are welcome here. Laugh that you are able to welcome all.

Lying on a beach in Costa Rica I watch a bird swoon down over the ocean and then glide back up and seem to float around in some slow, lazy and enjoyable dance. How did the sky get so high? Did birds fly that high at home? I used to talk to all animals and bugs as a child, I had yet to hear that any were dirty or an insect was a nuisance. Is that true? The curiosity of my thoughts makes me grin wide with joy. Where had I been? I was so happy in the world of childhood wonder.

And as a lizard sat observing me... we pondered on our choices.

©Lucy Hamel


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