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  • A Beach for the Adventurous

    My first morning on Isla Palenque, she seemed shy (or that could have been me). I set out on a day of solo exploration – just me and the island – with a beach walk to a jungle bluff at the East end of Playa Palenque. Normally, the beach wouldn’t be my starting point… I’ve never considered myself a “beach person.” And by that I mean that I don’t fly across the world to lie in a lounge chair with my eyes closed.

    Playa Palenque changed my perception of the “beach vacation.” Perhaps it’s because there’s not another person in sight, or because it backs up to a fascinating mirage of green jungle, or because it’s flanked by towering volcanic bluffs – but Playa Palenque has me rapidly shedding my preconceived notions of beaches, as well as my shyness: this is a beach worthy of exploration. My feet find their way to stretches of sand as fine as if it came from an hourglass, and accordingly the common meaning of time spills out onto the beach to be shaped by the tides and colored by the sunsets.

    My journeys around the world have taught me that travel is not a spectator sport, and I’ve learned to choose destinations where I am not held back by a piece of yellow tape or corralled into a tourist queue. This island is perfect; there are no sidelines, and when I hit the bluff at the end of the beach, I start climbing without a moment’s hesitation.

    Atop the bluff, I stand among the roots of a tree that must be over a hundred years old: an ecosystem in and of itself, covered in flowering plants and vines, its branches home to frogs, birds, and butterflies. Up here I feel a sensation I haven’t felt since my childhood’s summer days spent marching through the woods, feeling reality melt fluidly into the fantastical lands found in bedtime storybooks.

    As children, we’re allowed the luxury of experiencing the world raw and unedited, with all 5 senses. I think this is to help us understand important things about our world very quickly, relying on the tactile to teach us what it would take much longer to explain in words.

    Playa Palenque, Panama beachSome people drift away from their curiosity as they age. It happens to the best of us: the pressures of adult life sometimes crowd out the wonder we knew as children. But through travel to extraordinary destinations that invite us to explore by touching, listening, tasting, absorbing as much as we can, in as many different ways as we can – we are reawakened to the vibrancy and texture of our world, and emerge from the experience with as many novel insights as an inquisitive child at the end of an adventure-filled day. Fortunately, undiscovered places still exist where the natural landscape rewards curiosity and engages your inner child. I find myself in one of these places right now, on Isla Palenque.

    I can’t wait for tomorrow, to see what this alluring island has in store. From Playa Palenque’s exhilarating welcome, it’s going to be an incredible month.

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    Post by Mike Corey

    Meet our 2012 Isla Palenque Island Intern, Mike Corey: a 26-year-old world traveler with a background in biology and a serious yen for the wildest creatures and experiences on the planet! Discover Isla Palenque from behind the lens of this intrepid adventurer!

    More posts by Mike Corey

    Leave a Comment


    3 Responses

    1. Rachel Rachel Kowalczyk says:

      Sassy Sandy: You always embrace your son’s differences with appreciation for the wonder and individuality they have afforded him. I think you might give his autism too much credit sometimes, though, when speaking of his uncommon imagination. Your comment just showed that he gets plenty of that from his mom. 🙂

      Thanks, as always, for sharing your insightful & inspiring thoughts on The Ambler.

    2. Mike Corey Mike Corey says:

      I agree completely. It seems like when we “Grow Up” and lose our curiosity… we’re not even that old. In high school it becomes “nerdy” (like you said) to be fascinated in the way our world works. I hate that. I’ve made it a goal to help people of all ages take the time to examine the world under their feet.

      Curiosity has helped in every part of my life. It makes you a life long learner, constantly growing and asking questions.

      I wish the same for you Sandy, stay curious.
      Thanks so much for your meaningful comment.

    3. Sandy says:

      I found the written commentary on this article particularly interesting for two reasons. The first being this. My husband often tells my son, “Don’t ever lose that curiosity.”

      My son is nine and full of curiosity. But as you said, we tend to lose it as adults, and that’s sad. Much of the world’s best innovation comes from curiosity. Yet, it is often looked upon as nerdy or goofy. In our case, I don’t think my son will lose it none too soon as he is on the autism spectrum. These kids are naturally curious. And the place your described would be a treasure trove of wonder for a kid like mine, made all the better by the lack of people judging him for being different.

      Personally, my ideal beach vacation is also one of exploration. I will rise before dawn and walk the coast lost in thoughts about how brave the early navigators must have been to sail the mighty oceans. Then reality will return when I stumble over a horseshoe crab that I long to take home and sneak into our aquarium. Instead, I settle for the fanciest Cape May shell I can find.

      So to you I say, I hope you never lose that curiosity.

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        [post_content] => My first morning on Isla Palenque, she seemed shy (or that could have been me). I set out on a day of solo exploration – just me and the island – with a beach walk to a jungle bluff at the East end of Playa Palenque. Normally, the beach wouldn’t be my starting point… I’ve never considered myself a “beach person.” And by that I mean that I don’t fly across the world to lie in a lounge chair with my eyes closed.
    
    
    
    Playa Palenque changed my perception of the “beach vacation.” Perhaps it’s because there’s not another person in sight, or because it backs up to a fascinating mirage of green jungle, or because it’s flanked by towering volcanic bluffs – but Playa Palenque has me rapidly shedding my preconceived notions of beaches, as well as my shyness: this is a beach worthy of exploration. My feet find their way to stretches of sand as fine as if it came from an hourglass, and accordingly the common meaning of time spills out onto the beach to be shaped by the tides and colored by the sunsets.
    
    My journeys around the world have taught me that travel is not a spectator sport, and I’ve learned to choose destinations where I am not held back by a piece of yellow tape or corralled into a tourist queue. This island is perfect; there are no sidelines, and when I hit the bluff at the end of the beach, I start climbing without a moment’s hesitation.
    
    Atop the bluff, I stand among the roots of a tree that must be over a hundred years old: an ecosystem in and of itself, covered in flowering plants and vines, its branches home to frogs, birds, and butterflies. Up here I feel a sensation I haven’t felt since my childhood’s summer days spent marching through the woods, feeling reality melt fluidly into the fantastical lands found in bedtime storybooks.
    
    As children, we’re allowed the luxury of experiencing the world raw and unedited, with all 5 senses. I think this is to help us understand important things about our world very quickly, relying on the tactile to teach us what it would take much longer to explain in words.
    
    Playa Palenque, Panama beachSome people drift away from their curiosity as they age. It happens to the best of us: the pressures of adult life sometimes crowd out the wonder we knew as children. But through travel to extraordinary destinations that invite us to explore by touching, listening, tasting, absorbing as much as we can, in as many different ways as we can – we are reawakened to the vibrancy and texture of our world, and emerge from the experience with as many novel insights as an inquisitive child at the end of an adventure-filled day. Fortunately, undiscovered places still exist where the natural landscape rewards curiosity and engages your inner child. I find myself in one of these places right now, on Isla Palenque.
    
    I can’t wait for tomorrow, to see what this alluring island has in store. From Playa Palenque’s exhilarating welcome, it’s going to be an incredible month.
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    [post_content] => My first morning on Isla Palenque, she seemed shy (or that could have been me). I set out on a day of solo exploration – just me and the island – with a beach walk to a jungle bluff at the East end of Playa Palenque. Normally, the beach wouldn’t be my starting point… I’ve never considered myself a “beach person.” And by that I mean that I don’t fly across the world to lie in a lounge chair with my eyes closed.



Playa Palenque changed my perception of the “beach vacation.” Perhaps it’s because there’s not another person in sight, or because it backs up to a fascinating mirage of green jungle, or because it’s flanked by towering volcanic bluffs – but Playa Palenque has me rapidly shedding my preconceived notions of beaches, as well as my shyness: this is a beach worthy of exploration. My feet find their way to stretches of sand as fine as if it came from an hourglass, and accordingly the common meaning of time spills out onto the beach to be shaped by the tides and colored by the sunsets.

My journeys around the world have taught me that travel is not a spectator sport, and I’ve learned to choose destinations where I am not held back by a piece of yellow tape or corralled into a tourist queue. This island is perfect; there are no sidelines, and when I hit the bluff at the end of the beach, I start climbing without a moment’s hesitation.

Atop the bluff, I stand among the roots of a tree that must be over a hundred years old: an ecosystem in and of itself, covered in flowering plants and vines, its branches home to frogs, birds, and butterflies. Up here I feel a sensation I haven’t felt since my childhood’s summer days spent marching through the woods, feeling reality melt fluidly into the fantastical lands found in bedtime storybooks.

As children, we’re allowed the luxury of experiencing the world raw and unedited, with all 5 senses. I think this is to help us understand important things about our world very quickly, relying on the tactile to teach us what it would take much longer to explain in words.

Playa Palenque, Panama beachSome people drift away from their curiosity as they age. It happens to the best of us: the pressures of adult life sometimes crowd out the wonder we knew as children. But through travel to extraordinary destinations that invite us to explore by touching, listening, tasting, absorbing as much as we can, in as many different ways as we can – we are reawakened to the vibrancy and texture of our world, and emerge from the experience with as many novel insights as an inquisitive child at the end of an adventure-filled day. Fortunately, undiscovered places still exist where the natural landscape rewards curiosity and engages your inner child. I find myself in one of these places right now, on Isla Palenque.

I can’t wait for tomorrow, to see what this alluring island has in store. From Playa Palenque’s exhilarating welcome, it’s going to be an incredible month.
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