To commemorate the anniversary of our SenseAdventure tour, we’ve invited several travel writers to share their experience and perceptions of this exclusive tour.
Guest post by Craig Zabransky from Stay Adventurous
I reached for the large brown crayon. Not sure how to put the experience into words I started to draw.
As we all opened our eyes after the Sense Adventure the guide asked us to share our thoughts on a blank comment card. And although we all experienced the same stimulation, we all reacted differently. Some of us enjoyed it, others did not.
At that moment, I noticed the reflection of the mangroves in the cenote. My first impulse – to jump right in – didn’t seem appropriate now that we came back to the material world. Or perhaps I knew of the future. The very fact that I’d take a swim in the cooling waters later in the evening after our Temazcal ritual. Either way, I just continued to draw.
I focused on the reflection. It seemed to perfectly align with the guide’s final instructions, “…open your eyes and see yourself, your reflection…” Ok. I handed in my art work, not sure what to make of the entire experience. All I knew was that I found myself. I discovered a gift, the present.
The Sense Adventure started slow for me, but once I completely let go, and let go completely I really traveled some distance. Not a distance measured in miles, but an internal distance. A distance that sometimes can be further than I’d like to think. A distance to find myself and connect.
When we started, I didn’t know what to expect. I read “sense adventure” on the itinerary and said “yes.” Seemed to fit my mantra. But I made a mistake. I took my camera. Foolish because once blindfolded I didn’t get any good pictures. (Tip: take nothing with you)
With the entire focus to remove sight and augment other senses you don’t need anything but yourself. That’s the big idea. Eventually an assistant took my camera and I started to let go some and not worry about its safety. But then with the use of water, I worried about my phone in my pocket. Another distraction I planted on myself. But I eventually decided to let go completely. (I could use a new iPhone anyway I thought)
Only then did I start to truly realize the power and the gift before me. When the journey switched from water to wind, we seemed to be asked to fly. And although, few words are spoken during the trip when the guide or assistant moved my arms I responded. And at this point I soared.
I truly and finally really let go of everything. Only then did I travel further inside. I started to really smell, feel, and touch. It changed. I changed. I reached “now.” I became present, it was truly a gift. Thank you (or Gracias)
Immediately afterwards, discussing the experience with fellow travelers, I learned people thought of it as everything from lentil torture to a journey into zen. Honestly, the discussions seemed no different than how people judge or rate any travel experience.
Then a few days later, I realized our journey only highlighted four of our five senses. Yes, the journey changes for each group. The guide reads the energy of the day, the people, and changes the experience accordingly. No two times will be the same but the destination is the same for every participant – that connection.
On my experience we missed – taste. I wonder if he knew what Chef Oscar had in store for us. From the chef’s table, to tequila tasting and crusano (grasshopper) we definitely enjoyed the sense of taste during our stay. It is hard not to at Hacienda Tres Rios.
But, I wonder what the guide thought of my drawing. I wonder if anyone else ever drew the cenote. I wonder what others wrote on those cards that day and any day. Looking back, I realize that is not what is important. What is – the fact I let go and became present during the experience. I connected.
Craig travels around the world to write tales of travel aimed to encourage and inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. And after calling Mexico home for over a year, it secured a special place in his heart. He continues to return often and often considers it his second home. You can find more of his travels on his Stay Adventurous site and follow him on his Twitter: @stayadventurous.