July 15, 2014

Most of this year I felt really fatigued. Early in the year I had a lot of projects with deadlines + worked at the office for too many nights until 11pm.

I’m sure you know the feeling … heading toward burn out. I love what I do so much that sometimes I sacrifice my wellness. So when we planned the trainings in Bermuda back to back with an event in Maryland, we needed to stay an extra day in Bermuda.

What? A whole entire free day? Yes! Wheeee … !

So Lisa (owner of our sister company, Wei of Chocolate) + I rented motorbikes. I had ridden them quite a lot when I was in college in Spain, but only on the backs of friends’ bikes who lived outside of Barcelona. I’d never actually driven one!

So we got the download on how to drive them – and got used to driving on the left side of the road. “Whatever you do, stay to the left!” was burned into my brain.

The bikes only get up to about 40 km/hour (25 mph) – you just hug the left side and the cars + other motorbikes pass you if they want to go faster.

There’s something so magical about driving around the island. It’s hot + humid, and you cool down as the wind passes you on the bike. The roads are nestled by jungles, forests, + flowering bushes, including the ‘perfume flower’ which sweetens the air in soft aromatic clouds.

At every turn + bend on the winding roads, there’s something beautiful, whether it’s trees, flowers, colorful houses or stretches of sandy beaches with sparkling blue water.

It takes a blissful 45 minutes to get from one side of the island to the other. What a thrill! And the best way to get around. As we reached the Eastern side of the island, we followed a recommendation from the Ria at the spa (gorgeous sparkly girl from Scotland who knows all the off-the-beaten-trail secret spots), we ventured into an underground cave.

We put on our swimming suits + gingerly stepped into the cave opening, waiting a few seconds to let our eyes adjust to the darkness. I could see a light further down the stairway outlined with with a makeshift rope railing. I stepped carefully down about fifteen large steps into a wide expanse about 30 feet tall, the ceiling dripping with pointy limestone rocks. There were a few lights - enough to light up the cave, + the turquoise pool of water in the bottom. It was quiet, with only the dripping of the mineral-rich water from the points of the stalactites (long, pointy dripstones on the ceiling) into the water + onto the stalagmites (rounded mini mountains on the ground). The pool was about ten feet deep. After looking around I climbed into the water - wow! Totally shocking the effect on the body. The water was cold - not icy, but cold enough to take your breath away. After a minute of treading water it felt supremely nourishing + totally exhilarating.

Afterwards I took a stroll by their beach + found a quiet pagoda. I was surprised to look down at the water + see hundreds of synchronized, silvery fish swimming peacefully in formation! And then I found a really cool rainbow lizard.

After a snack, we hopped on the bikes + drove back. On our way back we veered off the main road into a grove of banyan trees. Exquisite in form, the branches of the Banyan tree send roots down to the ground - their baby roots are skinny red strings hanging from the forest ceiling, until they grow larger and get their grasp into the dirt, forming part of the strong root system.

What a magical place! Dusk was setting and the frogs were beginning to sing in the banyan tree forest - almost beautifully deafening. The trail wound around a grassy field + a forest - we drove through on our motorbikes - then it opened up to a totally deserted beach all to ourselves! We grabbed our suits out of the compartments in our motorbikes, changed in the leafy ficus bushes + had a mini picnic on the beach.

As the sun set, the enormous rolling clouds shifted from orange to pink to purple. We walked along the beach until the sun went under the horizon and the full moon rose - then we jumped back on the bikes and rode home at night. We pulled off the road several times on the way back home to admire the reflection of the full moon on the water. I often get asked, “What do you do for fun?” and because I work so much (and love my work so much), I’m often perplexed by the question ... does walking the dogs count? How about meditation? Well, now I have at least a couple new answers: riding motorbikes in Bermuda, swimming in turquoise pools in underground caves, exploring banyan tree forests + sunset picnics on gorgeous deserted beaches. I can’t remember the last time I felt so free.

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Love + flower petals,

katie hess flower alchemist