Travel ignites my curiosity, spikes my creativity.
The world doesn't just slow down, it is suspended from daily rituals.
It becomes a platform for dreaming.
Hence all travel makes me happy, but this trip soared to superlative status.
It fired on all cylinders.
First of all, I had the best travel companions.
The extremely generous Madwhip and I are very compatible on the road.
Not only do we get to spend hours making up for lost face time,
but there's an ease to the way in which we explore new environments.
Even when GPS lead us astray, as it often did, we embraced the adventure and laughed it off.
Getting to know Swanderia better was a bonus.
It was a delight to experience her old soul wisdom and endless knowledge.
She is a gifted healer, dancer, and artist.
Nightly, we pulled from her deck of tarot cards and pondered their meanings,
ruminating on the year that was, the year that will be.
Spending time with these two amazing women would have been enough,
but our luxurious accommodations;
a large three bedroom house filled with art and high end furnishings,
kicked the trip up a notch.
Our leisurely mornings spilled into the afternoon
as we mastered the fancy espresso machine like confident barristas.
We lingered at the kitchen table, staving off hunger with eggs and avocados wrapped in tortillas.
We pulled decorative art and cook books from the shelves.
We obsessively photographed the sun's sharp shadows on the thick plaster walls
providing endless images for our Instagram feeds.
We tended to our bodies and souls with massages and healing sessions.
If Merida didn't warrant exploration we would never have left the house.
Our other stroke of luck was renting from a charming property owner, John Powell,
who intermittently texted us with tips on where to eat, or places to check out.
Some mornings he joined us around the kitchen table for an espresso.
Our second night he invited us to a spectacular party
where we mingled with an interesting international crowd.
It is here we met local artist Marcela Diaz
who later in the week gave us an extensive tour of her vast home and studio.
A second invitation was extended for New Years Eve,
a night that can be fraught with angst, home or away.
The hosts, Cesar and Mima Reyes are art collectors from Puerto Rico.
Their home was designed by a close friend and renown Cuban artist, Jorge Pardo.
An hour into the gathering, the electricity blew transforming the gardens and large colonial house
into a romantic, candle lit setting.
As the new year approached fireworks were lit on the street,
some bursting dangerously close to party guests.
At midnight, a roasted pig was served with ceviche, salads, and chocolate cake.
The slate has been scrubbed from a challenging 2015.
Magical Merida, an auspicious start to 2016!