There is a dock that juts over the turquoise water of Redfish Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. On summer nights children jump off the dock and families stroll the length, eating ice cream. At the end of the dock my wife and I came upon a group of less- abled men working their way onto the dock and into their wheelchairs. They were coming in from a day of adaptive water skiing. I asked one of the men sitting in his chair if he had a good day? "Every day is good," he said. " but this was a great day!"
That simple exchange was profound and has always stuck with me. Creating great days and storing their memories deep in our temporal lobe are, one could argue, the ultimate raison d'etre.
These days, these great days that shine with the timerity to stand at the top of the hippocampus heap of memories. What is it about these days of our lives that stand out? For me, they almost always take place while traveling or on vacation. They have a distinct formula and pour out on their own without too much curation.
The formula usually?
1. Dunk in villa plunge pool.
2. Orange juice, maybe a Tylenol.
3. Beach run- if my wife makes me.
4. Egg sandwich with kraft select and habenero sauce.
5. Bakery for second breakfast- possibly eclair or chocolate croissant.
6. Hike to a beach.
7. Read a great book.
8. Tacos for lunch.
9. Second beach.
10. Travel Scrabble by the pool with beers.
11. Negroni while getting ready.
12. Dinner close to the beach.
13. local chocolate like kinder duplo with rum by the pool.
14. Bed with local news.
Riding bikes on La Digue island, Seychelles
I have a headache and my mouth feels cottony as we wind the too narrow roads of Praslin island to the ferry. The ferry to La Digue is quick, passing granite and green islands until La Digue becomes larger than the horizon and we arrive. We disembark in La Passe onto a wide concrete dock with a number of bike rental outfits that are happy to rent their wares. We do the quick paperwork and are off.
We bicycle south past island ladies and smiling children to L'Union Estate Farm where we pay a small entrance fee to continue on to the famous Anse Source d'Argent Beach with its cinematic giant granite boulders. It had been a dream of mine for years to visit and it did not dissapoint. Most people stop there. We continue on to what are, I think, even better, more deserted beaches.
The sky suddently turns gun metal gray and large warm raindrops fall in torrents. We stop under a tin roof to notice a makeshift fruit and smoothy business. Simon's fruit shop. We ask for a fruit salad to wait out the rain and it is the most delicious fruit salad I have ever had.
The sun comes out again and we bike narrow dark roads under a canopy of almond and teak trees and cartoonish jungle, up over a steep hill then down to Grand Anse. We park our bikes and walk out to white sand and Red boulders surrounding still aqua water. We make big eyes at each other, to say- woa.
We hike up and over a headland to Petite Anse and then up and over another sweaty, jungled bluff and down to Anse Cocos. There were no people, just a white beach in a curve like I have never seen before and didn't know existed.
We bike back to La Passe, sweating and by now, blistered and chaffed from the combination of sand, sea, hiking and biking. I am hungry and tired, mostly chaffed. We stop into Le Repaire Boutique hotel and restaurant. We shuffle to the back garden and sit, asking for bubbly water, a bottle of sauvignon blanc and a margarita pizza. I ate it all. It was phenominal. We sat in this garden setting looking at each other and recounting our day biking around, possibly the worlds most picturesque island. I asked my beautiful wife, "was this the best day of our life?" She replied, "I don't know how it gets better?"