Traveling is the most thrilling, pain-staking and hilarious activity ever. Thrilling, because you never know where exactly you’ll end up, who you’ll meet or what you’ll be doing. Pain-staking because as fun and beautiful as it may be, deep down in your gut, you’re missing someone. And hilarious because it almost never ends up as planned.
So we got to the station around 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, ready to catch the first bus headed west. And we did. A great mammoth of a bus, fully equipped with air conditioning and cracked pleather seats. It was heaven on wheels. Five hours later it spit us out in Takoradi, a large, south-west coastal city, where we met two German girls that happened to be going to the same place as us: Busua Beach.
We shared a taxi and found our way to Black Star Surf Shop, the only surf shop in Ghana, which I’ve been following online for months before landing in Africa. Finally, I could put faces to the names and the pictures became reality. It’s a small, concrete building, painted bright blue with colorful, hand-painted fish dotting the walls. A large wooden deck extended from the shop doors and centered around a full, shady tree. And attached to wooden posts over the left-hand side of the deck? A hammock. It’s a beautiful thing.
Someone from the shop showed us to a place two buildings down, which we still don’t know the name of, that rented out rooms. Eight cedis a night. That’s about six dollars. A night. Divided by the two of us- four cedis a night. And that’s when my spring-break budget got cut in half.
The place was absolutely magical, made from bamboo or some other pieces of scrap, and all perched about 12 feet over the sand atop thick wooden planks. We walked up the stairs and opened the door to our room. Sunlight peaked through the cracks in the walls. A piece of cloth draped over the pop-out, homemade screens on the windows. Looking from our rear window- a rural village. From the front- the sea. At one point I think I literally pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
And it gets even better. No running water and a communal toilet, aka, a hole in the ground with a seat over it. Talk about the ultimate simple living.
It was almost a beach-resort town, but not quite. Because just ten steps away from the beach was a village. A place where there was no running water or electricity. A place that isn’t just a getaway, but home for local people. That village is someone’s reality. And it was a quaint little village, too. Goats, chickens and dogs ran amok.
Strangely, though, it all seemed so familiar. That’s the thing, it’s all starting to be normal. Seeing a woman carrying a bucket of plantain chips on her head doesn’t make me blink. Sometimes I just have to catch myself and send my mind back to two months ago. Not because I want to be in culture shock, but just because I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to take the time I have here for granted. I’m having experiences that not many people get to, and for that, I am forever grateful.
And so, that was it. From that moment on, it was my own little piece of personal heaven. Swimming and surfing by day, campfires and fresh, blinking stars by night. Deep talks with interesting and cultured people. Street food from local chop shops. Hammock naps. Beach runs. Crab hunting. Sea floating. Laughter. Life.
You know those moments, where life is so stinking amazing that you’re almost sad because you’re going to have to come down from that high sometime? That week was filled with those moments. Moments where I’ve never felt so alive. Moments of complete, soul-soothing peace. Moments where my heart was so full of joy, it felt like my chest wasn’t big enough to contain it.
I like to call that week the “Jack Johnson song week.” If you don’t know who Jack Johnson is, he’s a singer-songwriter who is known for writing soothing, beachy melodies about banana pancakes and constellations and sleeping under mango trees. But really, everything that happened I could turn into a Jack-Johnson-sound-alike song. Between the rain falling on the tin roof, sipping a beer under the African stars, or floating on my back in the cerulean waters, inspiration was plenty.
And I can’t get it all out in one, big blog. It just feels so unnatural and forced. So I’m going to write a series of blogs, because I believe there’s power in little moments. Stay tuned. 🙂