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  • A Seriously Green Commute: Hiking to Work on Isla Palenque

    Jungle hiking, commute to work, Isla Palenque, work on an island

    From top left to bottom right: leaving the beach on a sandy path / “nature’s staircase” of vines and roots help me up the bluff / the path curves around trees so none are cut down / this tree is about 8 feet across / tree stretching 100 feet to the top of the canopy / grove of palms / ferns carpeting the jungle floor / a grove of banana trees / glimpse through the trees for a view of the ocean / the supply barge pulls up / the trail widens into a future road / turning onto the gravel road to base camp

    The Daily Commute.

    If you take a short, traffic-free route to work, it may seem like precious little time between the comfort of your bed and the reality of your desktop. If you have a long and cluttered commute, it may be the damnedest hour of your day in which you give up on humanity, swear to move, quit your job, or sell your car. Whichever yours is, those three words rarely signal a walk in the park.

    As I made my way to the base camp work station on Isla Palenque this morning, it struck me how funny it is to go on a jungle hike to work — especially in light of recent campaigns to “green your commute” by carpooling or biking. As the pictures illustrate, I might just have the greenest commute of any marketing professional on Earth. Twice a day, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness as I take this path, and although it took a lot of familiarization before I was confidently trekking through Isla Palenque’s path system, it’s been so rewarding that I encourage everyone who visits the island to spend some time alone with the jungle, embracing the solitude and discovery that can be found through unhurried exploration.

    The first time I walked the route alone, I stopped every five minutes at a sound. What was that? My heart racing, eyes scanning one hundred vertical feet of space between my feet and the tops of the trees in order to source one barely-audible crinkle. But what you’ll quickly learn about the jungle is that the longer you hold still, the more invisible-to-you creatures will resume their activities before they heard a large mammal coming down the path. The leafy carpet of the jungle comes alive in a chorus of scuttles and darts, from which I’m able to pinpoint a lizard with neon yellow stripes, a russet-colored iguana trying to blend. A bird overhead makes a call that sounds like a child yelping with joy. And further back off the path, something with more weight than a bird or lizard makes its way…

    …that’s when I run, jumping over tree roots and nearly having a heart attack when Cappuccino, the youngest and most curious island pup, appears out of nowhere with his bright blue eyes ablaze.

    A few paces later, a bright yellow leaf spirals down and hits me on the head, and I scream and dance around as if attacked by a colony of bees. Cappu’ gives me an all-knowing look that says “weirdo” and sets off, probably to go have a barking contest with some sleepy howler monkeys. Realizing it was just a leaf, I laugh at myself, and finally relax my pace and my mind.

    Now that I’ve managed to chill out, the jungle works its magic on me and I’m flooded with wonder. The sensation is part deja-vu – the first time I saw Palenque’s jungle and was bowled over with enchantment — and part coming home – like how you can look at something you love so many times, but forget to really see it until a realization brings you fresh eyes and a deeper appreciation.

    When you go it alone, everything sharpens. The layers of trees stretching up to the cerulean sky. The patches of sunlight forming abstract patterns on the suddenly ever-so-red dirt trail. The burning in my calves – how could I have ever not noticed that the whole island dives towards and rises from the sea? The smell of a bloom wafting over from, oh, right up there – a tree full of delicate lavender blossoms comes into focus. Or that sudden realization of… wind? Waves? Wind? No, it’s the rush of the ocean, for sure.

    Every day is different on the same path, which is why it always seems more of an adventure than a commute.

    Can I claim that I have the greatest commute on earth? I’d love to hear stories of your favorite daily route.

    On the image above: I considered trying to take a video, but a 15-minute clip of me tripping over roots and swinging the camera around to show off cool trees wouldn’t really do it justice. So I snapped these images in order of appearance on my way this morning, and tried to arrange them in a way that illustrated the various sights along the way.
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    Post by Emily Kinskey

    When Emily’s not dreaming up her next journey, she’s brainstorming creative ways to get other people to travel as a member of Amble’s marketing...MORE

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    3 Responses

    1. Thanks, Kristen and Rachel. Funny story that I left out of the blog post: I am also a bike commuter back in Chicago, I just adore riding my blue road bike all around for the same reason you do — I often feel a sense of calm and adventure that helps me love my city all over again, in a way you just can’t in the same dingy train car everyday. Not to mention the healthy benefits for myself and my city. So I thought, hey, I should ride a bike on Isla Palenque too, right? Well, I’ve never mountain biked before, and lets just say my feet weren’t even touching the pedals as I flew downhill over rocks and vines screaming my head off until I eventually toppled over. I’m determined to try again, when the bruises on my body/ego heal, but for now, I’ll stick with walking to work, like Rachel! The plus side — you can focus more on what’s around you instead of the mechanics of biking.

    2. Rachel Rachel Kowalczyk says:

      Mine is as green as it gets (a 25-minute walk from my house to Amble’s corporate HQ), but springtime in Chicago means my commute blooms in more colors than just green. Tulips galore! Nothing beats your jungle hike to work, though, Emily. I hope to hear from our readers about their own EPIC COMMUTES!

    3. Kristen says:

      This is beautifully written. I felt as if I was there with you. I too, had de-ja-vu reading this, because when I am in a jungle/forest, I feel curious, overwhelmed and joyful. I feel calm, yet on my toes with every sound I hear. Not because I am frightened but because the jungle/forest sounds are almost unfamiliar, since most of the time, I hear the sounds of bustling traffic and people screaming in the city. The sounds of the jungle/forest excites and intrigue me, and make me feel at home. I wish my commute was as wonderful as yours right now. I do ride my bike throughout the city rather than take public transit or drive. Riding my bike makes me feel refreshed and allows me to find hidden gems around the city that I wouldn’t see if I was on a streetcar or subway. It’s also great for the environment and my own health (minus the city fumes, yukk).

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    The Daily Commute.
    
    If you take a short, traffic-free route to work, it may seem like precious little time between the comfort of your bed and the reality of your desktop. If you have a long and cluttered commute, it may be the damnedest hour of your day in which you give up on humanity, swear to move, quit your job, or sell your car. Whichever yours is, those three words rarely signal a walk in the park.
    
    As I made my way to the base camp work station on Isla Palenque this morning, it struck me how funny it is to go on a jungle hike to work -- especially in light of recent campaigns to “green your commute" by carpooling or biking. As the pictures illustrate, I might just have the greenest commute of any marketing professional on Earth. Twice a day, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness as I take this path, and although it took a lot of familiarization before I was confidently trekking through Isla Palenque’s path system, it’s been so rewarding that I encourage everyone who visits the island to spend some time alone with the jungle, embracing the solitude and discovery that can be found through unhurried exploration.
    
    The first time I walked the route alone, I stopped every five minutes at a sound. What was that? My heart racing, eyes scanning one hundred vertical feet of space between my feet and the tops of the trees in order to source one barely-audible crinkle. But what you’ll quickly learn about the jungle is that the longer you hold still, the more invisible-to-you creatures will resume their activities before they heard a large mammal coming down the path. The leafy carpet of the jungle comes alive in a chorus of scuttles and darts, from which I’m able to pinpoint a lizard with neon yellow stripes, a russet-colored iguana trying to blend. A bird overhead makes a call that sounds like a child yelping with joy. And further back off the path, something with more weight than a bird or lizard makes its way…
    
    ...that’s when I run, jumping over tree roots and nearly having a heart attack when Cappuccino, the youngest and most curious island pup, appears out of nowhere with his bright blue eyes ablaze.
    
    A few paces later, a bright yellow leaf spirals down and hits me on the head, and I scream and dance around as if attacked by a colony of bees. Cappu’ gives me an all-knowing look that says “weirdo” and sets off, probably to go have a barking contest with some sleepy howler monkeys. Realizing it was just a leaf, I laugh at myself, and finally relax my pace and my mind.
    
    Now that I’ve managed to chill out, the jungle works its magic on me and I’m flooded with wonder. The sensation is part deja-vu – the first time I saw Palenque’s jungle and was bowled over with enchantment -- and part coming home – like how you can look at something you love so many times, but forget to really see it until a realization brings you fresh eyes and a deeper appreciation.
    
    When you go it alone, everything sharpens. The layers of trees stretching up to the cerulean sky. The patches of sunlight forming abstract patterns on the suddenly ever-so-red dirt trail. The burning in my calves – how could I have ever not noticed that the whole island dives towards and rises from the sea? The smell of a bloom wafting over from, oh, right up there – a tree full of delicate lavender blossoms comes into focus. Or that sudden realization of… wind? Waves? Wind? No, it’s the rush of the ocean, for sure.
    
    Every day is different on the same path, which is why it always seems more of an adventure than a commute.
    
    Can I claim that I have the greatest commute on earth? I’d love to hear stories of your favorite daily route.
    
    On the image above: I considered trying to take a video, but a 15-minute clip of me tripping over roots and swinging the camera around to show off cool trees wouldn’t really do it justice. So I snapped these images in order of appearance on my way this morning, and tried to arrange them in a way that illustrated the various sights along the way.
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_16985" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="From top left to bottom right: leaving the beach on a sandy path / “nature’s staircase” of vines and roots help me up the bluff / the path curves around trees so none are cut down / this tree is about 8 feet across / tree stretching 100 feet to the top of the canopy / grove of palms / ferns carpeting the jungle floor / a grove of banana trees / glimpse through the trees for a view of the ocean / the supply barge pulls up / the trail widens into a future road / turning onto the gravel road to base camp"]Jungle hiking, commute to work, Isla Palenque, work on an island[/caption]

The Daily Commute.

If you take a short, traffic-free route to work, it may seem like precious little time between the comfort of your bed and the reality of your desktop. If you have a long and cluttered commute, it may be the damnedest hour of your day in which you give up on humanity, swear to move, quit your job, or sell your car. Whichever yours is, those three words rarely signal a walk in the park.

As I made my way to the base camp work station on Isla Palenque this morning, it struck me how funny it is to go on a jungle hike to work -- especially in light of recent campaigns to “green your commute" by carpooling or biking. As the pictures illustrate, I might just have the greenest commute of any marketing professional on Earth. Twice a day, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness as I take this path, and although it took a lot of familiarization before I was confidently trekking through Isla Palenque’s path system, it’s been so rewarding that I encourage everyone who visits the island to spend some time alone with the jungle, embracing the solitude and discovery that can be found through unhurried exploration.

The first time I walked the route alone, I stopped every five minutes at a sound. What was that? My heart racing, eyes scanning one hundred vertical feet of space between my feet and the tops of the trees in order to source one barely-audible crinkle. But what you’ll quickly learn about the jungle is that the longer you hold still, the more invisible-to-you creatures will resume their activities before they heard a large mammal coming down the path. The leafy carpet of the jungle comes alive in a chorus of scuttles and darts, from which I’m able to pinpoint a lizard with neon yellow stripes, a russet-colored iguana trying to blend. A bird overhead makes a call that sounds like a child yelping with joy. And further back off the path, something with more weight than a bird or lizard makes its way…

...that’s when I run, jumping over tree roots and nearly having a heart attack when Cappuccino, the youngest and most curious island pup, appears out of nowhere with his bright blue eyes ablaze.

A few paces later, a bright yellow leaf spirals down and hits me on the head, and I scream and dance around as if attacked by a colony of bees. Cappu’ gives me an all-knowing look that says “weirdo” and sets off, probably to go have a barking contest with some sleepy howler monkeys. Realizing it was just a leaf, I laugh at myself, and finally relax my pace and my mind.

Now that I’ve managed to chill out, the jungle works its magic on me and I’m flooded with wonder. The sensation is part deja-vu – the first time I saw Palenque’s jungle and was bowled over with enchantment -- and part coming home – like how you can look at something you love so many times, but forget to really see it until a realization brings you fresh eyes and a deeper appreciation.

When you go it alone, everything sharpens. The layers of trees stretching up to the cerulean sky. The patches of sunlight forming abstract patterns on the suddenly ever-so-red dirt trail. The burning in my calves – how could I have ever not noticed that the whole island dives towards and rises from the sea? The smell of a bloom wafting over from, oh, right up there – a tree full of delicate lavender blossoms comes into focus. Or that sudden realization of… wind? Waves? Wind? No, it’s the rush of the ocean, for sure.

Every day is different on the same path, which is why it always seems more of an adventure than a commute.

Can I claim that I have the greatest commute on earth? I’d love to hear stories of your favorite daily route.
On the image above: I considered trying to take a video, but a 15-minute clip of me tripping over roots and swinging the camera around to show off cool trees wouldn’t really do it justice. So I snapped these images in order of appearance on my way this morning, and tried to arrange them in a way that illustrated the various sights along the way.
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