Home, and a Few Other Places

While I usually try to focus on one topic in these posts, this one will instead be broken out into smaller sections—little snippets, findings if you will, that I’ve unearthed along the way. Because that’s the way it has come to me. In snapshots. In little pockets of clarity.

In other words, this post is a bit of a mosaic, because that’s the way travel seems to work. That’s the way growing and learning seem to work. Piecemeal collections of moments and ideas and ponderings that you stitch together along the way. 

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The FOMO Chronicles: Why No Plan Is Sometimes the Best Plan

On an island that boasts of amazing hiking and canyoning and kayaking and cave swimming and honey and olive and wine fairs, it’s not too far off from the truth to say that I want to do all the activities. All the time.

But I got to thinking how funny it is. How you have something so planned out in your head, the way something should be, or how you should experience something. How much you want to do and how determined you are to pack it all in.

But it rarely turns out the way you expect it to. What you experience and how you experience it.

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Mallorca: The Land of "A Good Place to Eat a Sandwich"

After quite a few excursiones on the island so far, I've begun to acquire a very important skill: How to find a good sandwich spot.

I mean, let's be real. You can't just eat your sandwich in any old place. You have to find the "it" spot--that vista that you will think back on in three years and think, Wow, that was such an amazing hike.

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Pollença Farmer's Market Treasures

Every Sunday Pollença has a big farmers market, and as should come as no surprise, I've been waiting *all week* to go. So you can imagine that I went a little overboard on the produce purchases come Sunday. 

Farmers markets in Mallorca are a little different than they are back home. While in Santa Barbara all the produce is locally grown/made and 90% is organic, a lot of the produce here isn't local (you have to specifically ask which is and which isn't) and the whole "organic" movement really hasn't made it's way here yet. I've heard you can find organic fruits and vegetables, but I'm told you would have to travel to Palma or another larger city to find a store or market that sells it.

Regardless, you gotta work with what you have, so I bought all the fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and even meat and cheese that I could find.

My spread of farmers market goodies. So many possibilities...!

My spread of farmers market goodies. So many possibilities...!

Another aspect of the farmers market that I wasn't expecting - how much meat and cheese they sell (and since most of the meat is cured, it's all kept unrefrigerated). Any kind of cow or goat cheese you want - name it, they probably have it (and yes, this is as dangerous as it sounds). And while I've never been much of a huge meat-eater, it's hard to pass by the stand and not get anything, especially when they're passing out slices of perfectly salted and spiced ham or their specialty here - jamón sobrasada, a cured red sausage.

Meat and cheese assortment.

Meat and cheese assortment.

Slightly spicy peppers.

Slightly spicy peppers.

Veggies galore!

Veggies galore!

Olives on olives on olives...

Olives on olives on olives...

Another surprise (and I'm hoping someone reading this can shed some light on this...): I asked two women at two different dried fruit booths what the purple dried fruit in the picture below was, and they both answered pineapple. I asked if it was colored or natural, and they answered that it was natural and that it was a variety that was purple when it was young. I tried to research this mysterious purple pineapple online but unfortunately came up with nothing. I'm still curious as to whether this magical purple pineapple exists, so if any of you reading this have any insight, please click the "Contact" page and let us know!

Mysterious dried "purple pineapple."

Mysterious dried "purple pineapple."

After lugging my spoils of fresh produce back to the apartment, I naturally wanted to get started on some goodies in kitchen. Homemade vegan almond pesto, beet hummus, and vegan veggie lettuce wraps stuffed with hummus and millet recipes to come soon! Stay tuned... 

Swimming in Caves at Caló Des Moro

Today we drove to the other side of the island for a little salt and sand at one of Mallorca's most beautiful beaches, Caló Des Moro, near the city of Santanyí. We had to park on the bluffs above the beach, and there are trails that are surrounded by pine trees and thick green vegetation that took us down to the beach.

It is absolutely gorgeous.

The first glimpse of the ocean from the trail is an expanse of brilliant blues and some of the clearest water that I've ever seen. Cliffs tower on either side of the narrow stretch of water, and a few caves can be seen on either side. 

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The beach itself is very small and scattered with large rocks so it can get crowded easily (there is not much "sand space"). If you go, I would recommend getting there early to make sure you have a spot to lay your towels down and set up camp for the day.

The beach is pristine and mellow, making it a great place to swim or snorkel. There isn't much reef near the beach but the farther you venture out the more you'll find. There were a few people that climbed up the rocks on the left side of the water and were jumping off into the ocean (although I'm not sure how much the tide can change here/how shallow it can get).

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If you swim out about 100 yards on the right, there's a big cave that you can swim into. We swam in, and at the very back we climbed up on some low rocks and jumped off (the water was about three meters deep here). There is more reef in and around the cave which can make for a fun place to snorkel.


I also heard that the beach can get crowded during the height of tourist season in Mallorca, but since we are nearing the end of the season, there didn't seem to be too many people.

After we had our fair share of swimming, we decided to stop at the town of Portopetro, a very small port town to the East of Santanyí. The town is quiet and quaint, and while small, harbors some beautiful boats and some decent restaurants. We stopped at a place overlooking the water for a café con leche and chatted as the sun went down. It was a perfect way to end the day and a nice stopping point before the drive back up north. 

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These are the kinds of days that allow you to savor, rather than just see. The moments that make you think about how many beautiful gems there are out there and how many corners of the world that you have yet to see. And to think that in this moment in time, you somehow got to this place, to see this. You start to appreciate the timing of your life, regardless of whether it may seem right or not, and you begin to trust in the path that you've taken, regardless of how chaotic or directionless it may seem at times.

You begin to realize just how lucky you are to be right here, at this point in time. To see this beautiful beach and to feel how awesome life is. And you begin, poco a poco, to savor. To enjoy the adventure of each day. Live happy, live it up, and enjoy the little moments.

Crystal Clear Waters of Cala Sant Vicenç

Less than five miles away from my new apartment in Pollença is Cala Sant Vicenç, a small town consisting of three beautiful, calm beaches and white boutique resorts set on the surrounding cliffs. The water is crystal clear blue and the beaches are tucked away in small, protected coves (cala translated means cove).

While the reef doesn't vary too much, it can make for some fun snorkeling since there are some small fish, and the bay makes for a good swim with the water being as calm (and clear) as a pool. I swam out a ways and lay on my back, the sun beating down on me. It was nice, just laying out there in the sea, letting everything go in the sunshine. All the colors at San Vincenç are so vibrant, it's a good place to get back to center, to remind yourself to breathe. To take it all in, smile, and let it all get washed away by the water.

October is at the end of tourist season in Mallorca and I went midday on a Thursday, so there were not too many people. It turned out to be a quiet spot to read and lay in the sun and snack on some dates. As it got to around 4pm, after everyone got off of work, the beach got a bit more crowded but everyone cleared out pretty much by 6:30pm as the sun was setting.

While you can't see the sunset from the beach, it's a beautiful spot to sit as the shade comes over the water and the cliffs on either side of the bay are lit up in that setting-sun golden orange. Everything was quiet and there was hardly anyone on the beach.

Every once in a while you need to find your happy place and reset. Recharge. After a few weeks of being on the go from traveling, it was refreshing to get back to the ocean, to swim, and to refuel with some mellow "me" time. Sometimes something as simple as a swim in the ocean, reading in the sunshine, or making tea and sitting in the tub can reboot you for a whole week.

Take some time today or in the next few days to recharge. Find your happy place - your favorite beach, a great trail, the hammock in the backyard - and take some time for you. Breathe, smile, and let it all go.