Sometimes it just happens. These moments where you find yourself completely absorbed by the present. Where everything just make sense – you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Some call it fate, others use the name coincidence. To me it´s simply magic.
After spending our first US nights in hotels with plastic American breakfast and impersonal rooms we finally get our own little Airbnb apartment. After not being able to cook anything of our own for a whole month it is fantastic to go shopping for groceries and then make a simple dinner for ourselves. The apartment is situated in a quiet residential area between Clearwater and Dunedin. Dunedin is a nice and more alternative option to the Florida we´ve seen so far. And, it has the best microbreweries in the state.
Our hostess is one of these amazing abundant Americans that has everything, and I mean everything, you can possible think of. She is also the play mama of the whole neighbourhood and all the kids come to her house to play with her two boys and help them use up all their different toys. Today there was about 20 kids running around in her property all at once. I can see why. She has a major trampoline, two basketball nets, an air hockey, a ping pong table, a water slide, baseball equipment, electric motorbikes and the list just goes on and on. Oh, yeah, she also has little baby chickens. The kids are completely euphoric. Especially Eddie, who has been nagging since he was three about wanting to have his own motorbike. Now he can at least take a ride on one together with us.
On Tuesday we celebrate Thomas birthday. Besides eating cakes with an abnormal load of frosting we decide to take the bikes to Dunedin and try one of their breweries. Our hostess lend us a bike trailer for the kids, and off we go. I have somewhat a bad conscious about not having bought a birthday present for Thomas (bad wife, I know), but since we´re together all the time I just haven´t found the moment to sneek away and get something for him. Something that by the way is small enough that we can carry it with us on the trip. But, sitting there on the bike it occurs to me. “Thomas, I know what I´m going to get you for your birthday”, “What?” he shouts at me from further down the road. “A drum!” I shout back. Ever since we were in Trinidad he has been talking about buying one to practice on during our trip and now that we have a rental car and don´t have to carry everything around all the time it is a good moment.
Dunedin brewery is a very laid back, typical casual American bar type of place that is definitely worth a visit if you like burgers and beer. The waiter answers “Awsome!” to everything you say and there´s a nice and cosy rustique feeling over the place. Before going in we meet a guy outside that tells us we´ve chosen the right night to come. “There will be music and lots of great vibes”, he tells us. “Cool” we are thinking stepping in to the bar. We will have some entertainment tonight as well. Oh my, we have no idea!
Just before eight people are starting to show up with drums. Not one, two or three people, but a lot. A guy comes up to us where we are sitting in the terrace and asks our kids if they want to have a go on his drum. He also informs us that there will be starting a drum jam session at the bar in just a few minutes. “Come look” he says. And so we do.
The sound and the sight that hits us as we walk into the bar is just thrilling. Everywhere we look we are surrounded by drummers and people carrying different types of rhythm instruments. They are firing away on their instruments with full energy and no pretention. A guy sometimes shifts from his drum to a flute and there´s a didgeridoo and another more oriental instrument that I don’t know the name of as well. They are all jamming together and we are standing in the middle of it. People are inviting us to join this crazy amazing gathering in whatever way we want. Dancing or having a go at somebody´s drum. And before you know it you have some kind of rhythm instrument in your hand. It is impossible not to get swept away with this energy. And I´m thinking about the words I was shouting to Thomas while we were rolling down the bike trail to Dunedin “I will get you a drum for your birthday!”.
I sure did, didn´t I.
As we slowly bike ourselves back to our little apartment I listen to the southern sounds around me and feel the light breeze of the night on my skin. And it occurs to me that it is these moments that just happens, totally unexpected, that are the best we have. Moments where you just let yourself engage, without thinking about what you need to do instead – the kids need to be in bed at 8 pm, you have an early start tomorrow, the house needs to be cleaned or whatever. All you need to do is to let yourself go.
Maybe that´s why I love traveling so much. It makes you open for these kind of possibilities. Following the unexpected, being flexible. But the real challenge is to pursue it when you are wrapped up in your daily life at home. With your routines and I-must-do-this-and-that mentality. It is worth practicing for sure.
All you need is time, a little bit of openness, and the magic will hit you.