Caye Caulker: Writing and Water Activities

“Slow down, why you walking so fast, man. Take it slow.” One of the locals said to me in a Caribbean accent. I smiled at him and nodded. I had no reply for him, I always walk like I have somewhere to go.

My day started with a 0300 wakeup call. After making a protein shake, getting dressed, and stripping off the bed, my dad was already asking me if I was ready to go. He was driving me to the airport. I replied I needed at least another 15 minutes. This was my third time leaving to a new distant land to go write a book in The Chapters of My Life Series. I had packed the night before, and for once, I’d been able to cut back on what I was taking with me. But, I still needed to grab the last of my things, before I could head out the door.

The flights to Belize City, from Boston, via Miami, unfolded without any issues. I arrived, and, as soon as I had my luggage, my long sleeve shirt was stripped off, down to a tank-top, and my sneakers switched out for sandals before I made my way to the local gate for my flight to Caye Caulker. It was beach time! It’d snowed during my short two weeks back to Massachusetts, so I was excited to get back to the beach.

I was the only passenger on the small propeller plane heading to Caye Caulker. I could’ve taken a water taxi, it would‘ve been cheaper, but also longer. Since I get sea sick, the 10 minute plane ride worked for me. I felt like a well-traveled millionaire taking a private plane to my own island! The water was a beautiful, clear blue, and welcoming me to my home for the next seven days.

On my solo flight to Caye Caulker
On my solo flight to Caye Caulker

I landed, exited the plane, and was asked if I needed a taxi. I wasn’t sure where my Airbnb cottage was located so I accepted the offer the attendant made of calling me a taxi. The island is only five miles long and a mile wide, at its widest point, so I was pretty sure I could’ve handled the walk, but how many times do you get to take a golf cart as a taxi? There are very few cars on Caye Caulker, transportation is either by golf cart, bicycle, or on foot.

Riding in my golf cart taxi
Riding in my golf cart taxi

I checked-in to my new home, traded everything I was wearing for a bathing suit and shorts, applied sun tan lotion, and went exploring—that’s when I was called out for walking too fast. I would later learn the moto of the island is in fact: Go Slow.

Go Slow!
Go Slow!

Caye Caulker is a simple place, with a few streets, and about a half mile ocean front strip with a few restaurants, bars, a coffee shop, and a few places advertising rooms for rent. There are no resorts to be found. One side of the island is for tourists, and the other side, for its residents. Although small, and designed for tourism, it didn’t feel touristy. There’s a healthy selection of companies from which to select snorkeling, or diving tours to a plethora of spots all advertising exciting sights and sea life.

Caye Caulker Front Street

Beach Strip
Beach Strip

Caye Caulker Water Taxi

I did a one day sailing and snorkeling tour with Raggamuffin tours. I hadn’t snorkeled since my time on Okinawa, a good 14 years ago. It was an excellent tour—took sea sickness pills, so I didn’t have any issues. We stopped in three different locations, and the guides took us around pointing out the sea creatures and different aspects of the thriving barrier reef. Most memorable was swimming with the nurse sharks, string rays, and seeing a green eel. We were treated to juicy pineapple and watermelon on the way to our initial stop, lunch after our first excursion, and delicious shrimp ceviche on our way back. I met and chatted it up with a couple from Quebec, and later a guy from Toronto. I encountered quite a few Canadians on this trip. It was a splendid day!

Caye Caulker Tour Company

Aside from my day out at sea, snorkeling, my time on Caye Caulker was spent in a routine of waking up early, exercising on the beach, having breakfast at the Caribbean Colors Art Café (loved both their egg whites omelets, which came with a nice serving of fruits, and yummy banana bread and their banana pancakes, which were light and fluffy), writing, followed by taking various breaks to enjoy some sort of water activity.

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I rented a sea kayak a few times. My first sea kayak experience was in Dubrovnik where I initially struggled, lagging behind the other couple on the tour with me. But eventually—I figured out how to paddle properly, something I remembered how to do. I surprised myself with how easily and familiar paddling felt once I got back in a kayak. I had kayaked one other time, at Lake Bled, in Slovenia.

Kayaking Caye Caulker

Up in the neutral position
Up in the neutral position

My Caye Caulker first was wind surfing. I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I also didn’t think the two hour lesson was going to wear me down, as much as it did. The sail was so much lighter than I expected it to be, meaning, it didn’t offer me the balance I was looking for. The balance, my instructor kept reminding me, is in leaning back and keeping my arms straight while comfortably keeping my hips forward. The position he wanted me in, was not one my body allowed me to achieve. I fell a lot and had to hop back on the board, re-establishing myself into the neutral position. I did manage to learn some of the basics like the neutral position, front and back turns, and I even sailed back and forth for a bit. If I lived by the beach, I’m pretty sure I would pick-up windsurfing as a regular addition to the activities I partook in.

The day came when it was time to go and I felt bummed out. I was a little behind on my word count, and definitely not ready to leave. It was with a heavy heart I looked back at the tiny island, surrounded by clear blue water, as I flew back to the mainland to pick-up my vehicle for the next leg of my adventure.

Inspiration by the Sea

Writing can be a healing, soothing, exciting and a fun thing to do.

However, writing can also be excruciatingly painful when the mind becomes an endless desert of nothingness. When inspired the words flow out in sweet cadences to form magical sentences, but the dry well and muted voice is always lurking near by.  This is why, the desire to seek places of inspiration runs deep in all writers.

I’ve been in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the last few days.

I didn’t come here for inspiration to write, but inspiration to write found me.

Given a choice between the mountains or the ocean; I’m twice as likely to choose the mountains however, this trip made me realize the ocean just might be a source of inspiration for me. There’s something about staring out to sea that opens my mind, relaxes me, and allows me to hear what I have to say. I suppose that’s what inspiration is after all – the ability to hear what one has to say.

This “self-discovery” made me happy about picking Lake Atitlan, Guatemala as my destination to go write my first (technically second) book. While not the ocean, I’ll be surrounded by water and also close to the mountains. I was looking for the best of both worlds during my search, and it seems I unknowingly set myself up for writing success. Of course, I won’t know for sure until I get there, and my theory is tested by having to produce a book in a few short months.

In the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of the cadences pouring out by typing them and taking short breaks to enjoy the view.

Sunset Dubrovnik
Sunset Dubrovnik, Croatia

Have To Do In Order To Become

I spent the weekend mostly being lazy, not doing much. I slept in, watched hours of t.v., wrote some blog posts, and finally washed my car, but all and all; I was super lazy this weekend. My thoughts were…well, not particularly in the right the place, but I let them be. I let everything just be, letting things be lead me to my unwritten stories.

I’ll never become a writer if I don’t write. The stories, characters and voices struggling to come out will remain trapped in my head. My other selves will live unrealized lives…as will I. I’m trapped, just like they are. Freedom is in the key strokes.

Writing.

What am I waiting for? If I don’t do, I will never be.

Writing.

What I’m I waiting for? If I don’t, I’ll never know.

Writing.

What I’m I waiting for? It will not stop calling me.

Writing.

What I’m I waiting for? It will keep haunting me.

Writing.

What I’m I waiting for? Answer me.

Will I?

Will I get it done this time? Will I complete my first work of fiction?

Let’s dissect a blog post I wrote back in 2012 appropriately titled “Write” to see what the past has to say on this matter.

“I have been praying and listening for guidance while working hard to maintain my sanity and sense of well being – and now I have received what God wants me to commit myself to do. Write.”

I was pretty certain God was calling me to write and even then, it was nothing new.

“Writing has always been a huge part of my life.  I’ve been journaling and blogging for years.”

“Whenever there has been a lull in my life, writing has always provided me with an outlet to work through it”

“Aside from thinking up businesses as a kid; I would think up story plots, characters and fantasize about being an author peacefully tucked away in a cabin in the middle of a beautiful forest or in cottage by the sea transposing words as the waves crashed unto the beach.”

“Prior to making the decision of joining the Marine Corps, my heart had been set on becoming an author but this dream was shut down by people who told me I would never make a living from it.”

There hasn’t been a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a writer. There also hasn’t been a time in my life when I thought making a living as a writer was a viable option. Neither statements have actually changed.

E-book to Nowhere

I completed the e-book I mentioned in that post. I was proud of myself and it felt like an accomplishment but it went nowhere, although I accompanied it with a radio show, webinars, workshops and speaking engagements.  In the end, The Loop of Confidence and the persona of the Confidence Builder died on the vine as well.  I ended up back in the Marine Corps with my thoughts focused on making the Foreign Service my next career move but turns out, I couldn’t even pass the Foreign Service Officer Test so for now, that career option is also dead.

Not Ideal but Perfect

Thankfully, the interest in the Foreign Service lives on and my research into it hasn’t been a waste because the heroine my book is a Foreign Service Officer. That’s right! I’m writing a book.

Since arriving in Germany, I’ve been stuck living in a hotel room which has had an odd side affect…it’s motivated me to write. As much as there is to see and do in Germany/Europe – a lot of my time on the weekends goes into writing, researching or reading.

My desire to write has once more demanded I give it my time and energy. It has established yet again it’s not something that will go away or be ignored. It’s faithfully proven to be a way to escape and to find solace when nothing else makes much sense. It’s once more become a source of motivation and inspiration.

Each time writing comes knocking at my door, I go down the road with it a little further. This time I’ve signed up for a course where I’ll be mentored for the next 8 months through the writing process.

I will open myself to sharing and being critiqued on my work. I will put in the work in not just writing but getting better at it. If writing is to become my craft and my art – it will require a lot more than what I’ve given to it in the past.

It might be time to stop chasing the ideal work/business/career I’d love and flourish in and accept a job that allows me to pursue my writing.

Staying in Germany/Europe

While writing had me playing with the idea of getting a job vice pursuing another entrepreneurial undertaking – something else dawn on me.  I’m enjoying myself here and exploring new aspects of myself so why leave? Only way to stay is to find a suitable job…the second road leading me for the first time in my life to seeking a job that is not the Marine Corps and not self-employment.

I’m unsure if any of this is part of God’s will at this point. It seems I’ve been off base in the past so I will pray on it and continue to seek His direction while I pursue this new course of action for my life.

Researched into Question

In 2013, I read well over 20 books, the first year in many years in which I made reading a priority again (buying a Kindle Fire made a big difference) and what a soul nourishing commitment it turned out to be.  I read for leisure, to learn, educate myself and to find greater clarity.  I also began to read for research purposes for the male character I’m developing for a book I’m writing.

Two books I would not have otherwise read had it not been for my research are: How God Makes Men: Ten Epic Stories. Ten Proven Principles. One Huge Promise for Your Life by Patrick Morley and Fathered by God by John Eldredge.

First let me say that in those two books, I fell deeply in love with men…not “men” as in humanity but men as in the flesh, bones and soul of men God created.  The masculine men God intended men to be as especially described in the masculine journey men are to undertake: in their Boyhood, Cowboy, Warrior, Lover, King and Sage stages in Fathered by God.

The ache to meet such a man who is seeking God and is embarked on the journey created for him as he grows in the image of his Creator is well…lets just say a girl can dream (meaning pray) for it constantly!!

And of course in my case, I can write him into a kind of reality…the point of venturing into this reading (research) in the first place. I wanted to find/capture the essence and true sense of manhood as created by God – not what society is now saying manhood ought to be/look like.

My love for Jesus is greater than any love for anything or anyone else.  When I think or hear His name “Jesus” my heart is filled with so much love, admiration, and gratitude.  His is my one true King however, many other men in the Bible also move me like the ten men described in Patrick’s book: Abraham, Joesph (I relate to him a lot), Moses, Gideon, David (no women would say no to having her own King David – faults and all), Solomon, Nehemiah, Job, Peter and Paul.

It’s funny how discovering the true perspective of manhood according to God made me both happy and sad. Happy of how beautiful God created it to be and sad of how rare it is in our society. Happy to know somewhere out there men are reading (and writing) these books and dedicating their lives to work on being what they were created to be. And again, wishful to meet said men.

What I didn’t Expect

What I didn’t expect was to relate so much to the ten men in Patrick’s book and the masculine journey outlined in John’s book.  Our humanity link men and women so of course, we share many life lessons and common trials and victories but women and men are quite different from each other in the Bible.

Admittedly, over the last couple of years in my walk with God as I have shed my stubbornness, ego, and pride and have allowed God to provide and be my strength; I have in fact found more of my femininity. I don’t believe up until now I could have been a good wife to the kind of man I desire.  I had too much to prove, too many wrong idealism, pain and walls up.  Gone are those, but here is still the path the Lord has me on.

I’m far from being on a quiet, passive, submissive or supporting type of road. Looking back on my life I can see when/where I went through my own “Cowboy” stage and can you say “Warrior” any louder than by being a Marine…my writing, reading and love for nature is where I express/experience my own “Lover” stage and the leadership roles I’ve been endowed with have/had me in a “King (Queen)” stage.

I certainly know there are many complexities to gender roles and there is no one size fits all…this is a delicate post to write and it’s really a post where I’m putting my thoughts/confusion out for the Lord to walk me through the answers.

It’s about fulfilling who He created ME to be and not answer this question for everyone since the answer is in fact unique to all of us. I can see where I have developed in me what I did not find in another when I didn’t know how to seek the Lord for it. I faced many trials on my own prior to allowing God in which again, had their impacts.  The wounds are healed but who they made me, remains. I grow to be more like Jesus everyday and He certainly embodies a masculine and feminine essence.

I don’t need answers today.  I find this type of discovery very exciting now because I know the Holy Spirit will work through me to give me the answers when the time is right. Both the questions and the answers are entitled to their proper time…God’s timing.