This is the moment. This is exactly why we always choose adventure! Rushing water captivated me, the soothing sound of the water crashing onto the small lagoon, the white waves rolling down the tiny waterfall. It was the moment I’d been anticipating for 4 years. Maybe it was Pinterest or a random Instagram photo that had attracted me to the cool waters of Charco Azul in Patillas, Puerto Rico. Finally we’d arrived.
The hike took about 15 minutes on a paved path that goes over a few small rivers. These nature hikes connect you with the earth, you breath in the air and are often reminded just how small you really are. Each bridge is an opportunity to sit and soak your feet into the cool stream, presuming the path is void of others; as it was during our visit.
I beelined to the waterfall with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning. Finally, finally, finally. Of the short list of adventures I aspired to have on this trip to Puerto Rico, Charco Azul was number one on the list. (I realize I’ve talked all about myself thus far, but as usual these are family adventures. The whole gang is with me, included my parents.)
As I’m climbing rocks, I’m very mindful of wet rocks and how fast the stream may be flowing. I place my feet cautiously into the rush of the stream while holding onto a rock wall, which the waterfall is flowing over. I’m hyper-cognizant of falling. Then I hear a scream, a deep howl and I turn to see Punky slipping on a rock as Cal reaches for her. Her weight, the sudden jerk of his arm and the slippery rock make for a bad combination. Cal falls and Mom lets out a series of blood curdling yelps. As Cal balances himself, he lifts Punky and then realizes a 6 inch gash has opened on his shin.
It’s a fact of life. Would this have occurred if we had stayed safely on the shore? Probably not. That’s not who we are, though. We aren’t living life safely on the shore. We’re doing our best to make the most of every opportunity, to take risks that result in rewards.
Always Choose Adventure
Punky didn’t cry after the waterfall incident, in fact she changed into her bathing suit and jumped into the water. She didn’t require a pep talk or coaching about not being afraid. It was a quick instance that wouldn’t define our day or the rest of our adventure. Days later, she went on to ride a horse by herself, climb down more jagged rocks into a hidden beach cove and snorkeled for the first time.
Instagram will have you believe that these adventures of ours are filled with beaches, museums and laughter. The truth is we trip, we fall, we run like crazy to make our flights. There are tears but sometimes there aren’t. We weigh the risks and choose to take every possible adventure that will reinforce the girls’ personal and even physical strengths.
We teach the girls through our travels to embrace every moment as an adventure; to not fear the unknown. They have experienced that sometimes you have to hike through a forest and climb some rocks to find the beauty of the world.
It is our aspiration that they grow into fearless women who understand there are no boundaries to the imagination, no corner that can’t be explored, that even in disappointment there is a lesson and most importantly, to always choose adventure.