Bookends: Shek O & The Caribbean

Feb 25, 2014 by










Photos From Shek O, Hong Kong

Every trip comes with its struggles, just as every day comes with its tribulations. While I was staying with my friend Jess in Shek O, I saw this magnet on her fridge:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

I stopped, read the words and thought about it for a while before I lifted my camera and snapped that picture. They were words I decided I wanted to remember. This approach to life is not a foreign concept to me, but this was worded so poignantly that I had to reassess how I thought about my days’ ends and how I quieted my mind before falling asleep. This passage starts as a kind reminder to not dwell on the events of the day. Blunders and absurdities have crept in. Not using words like mistakes or errors lighten the apparent gravity of when some things just don’t go to plan or as intended. And absurdities they often truly are! This is a reminder to not take life so seriously. Tomorrow is a new day, and even though one could argue that everything runs in together, turning the page and starting fresh every day is a nice way to look at things. Let’s give ourselves a break, shall we? Further to this, we are told that we are starting that fresh day with a high spirit and with serenity. While I’ve never called myself a morning person, I like the idea of rolling out of bed and even while feeling groggy have a calm heart. This is a command- an order- to be bright and enthusiastic. Let’s not hope, let’s do, let’s be. Finally, like a loved and cherished grandmother who won’t put up with any bullshit, we are told we won’t be weighed down by our old nonsense, for nonsense it is.

I began my trip last year in the Caribbean (the draw being the wedding of one of my best friends) and ended the journey in Shek O at Jessica’s place. It was an adventure bookended with friends, warm connections one can often be hungry for while traveling long term. Spotting that magnet on Jessica’s fridge was just the push I needed to accept my state of flux and my struggles to find balance. I have learned that while there isn’t always balance, there is a way to find moments of happiness every day, and while a path may not always be linear it is always possible to listen to the universe telling you where to go.

In my case, the universe has spoken loudly. I have listened and understood. The last time I heard that voice tell me where to go and what to do was in 2011 when I knew I was meant to go to Madrid. It is now that my friend Buchi chimes in and says, “You know, Colleen, you shouldn’t listen to all the voices in your head.” In my defence, I would say that this voice doesn’t pipe in enough for this to be a problem… but actually, I would very much appreciate it if this voice would make itself heard more often. Hello? 2011? It’s been almost 3 years.

Do you want to know where I’m going and what I’m doing? I so badly want to tell you but I am still shocked that this is happening to me that I almost can’t believe it. So I will say this. I am leaving Saturday. I will experience a minimum of 60C change in temperature. I will be going to a place I’ve never been to before. It is a place that I am prepared to be unprepared for…

And this is for sure: I have definitely tapped into something good.


To end on some of the good vibes and the wave of energy I’ve been riding lately (and will continue to ride in the coming months), here is a video I put together of my time in the Caribbean last year. Most of the footage was taken on Saba and St Martin. The underwater footage is courtesy of my friend Kevin (who doesn’t even have a blog for me to link up to) but I want to give credit where credit is due because he’s done such a wonderful, beautiful job.



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  1. Enjoyed the video. Ha, ha to Buchi’s quote! I have some “Buchi’s” for friends in my life too – thank goodness. I liked what you said here, “I have learned that while there isn’t always balance, there is a way to find moments of happiness every day, and while a path may not always be linear it is always possible to listen to the universe telling you where to go.” And to follow up…that we need to HEAR that, ya know? 60C difference?! That’s either Death Valley in the hot of summer or Antarctica! The suspense, Colleen! 🙂

    • Colleen

      Life just wouldn’t be the same without a Buchi or two around, would it?

  2. Ahhh the suspense is killing me! I’m making a guess based on the temperature clue and am curious to see whether I’m right. 🙂 I, too, love that quote. Yesterday was one of “those” days — when it seems like everything was going wrong for both Justin and myself. So last night we walked just a mile to a local Tex Mex dive and drowned our sorrows in cheese and Happy Hour margaritas. And this morning? Yesterday did seem like just a bunch of blunders and absurdities. Nothing worth letting ruin today. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Colleen

      Katie… I’m sorry to hear you had a tough go, but I’m glad you had the cheese and margaritas. If you ask me, those things are good always. Hugs xo

  3. That’s such a lovely quote Colleen. Definitely something I should be reminding myself of, especially of late! I can’t wait to read about your next adventures, good luck whatever they are!

  4. Best of luck with everything and glad to hear that good is “flowing out” for you. Game changers are always tough no matter the person or situation I feel.

    You have my curiosity so piqued as to where you’ll be heading to so I can’t wait to hear where it is.

    I did a drastic drop in temperatures recently-80s (F) in the Bahamas one weekend, the very next day returning home to Pittsburgh, low 20s and snow. Blech! 🙂

    • Colleen

      Thanks Julie – I like that you get it! I’m in a really good place now, and the temperature change has been welcome from the -30C (or colder) I came from!!

  5. Oooh – I am excited to see where you’ll be headed. A drastic change in temperature this time of year should be a sweet treat!

  6. Cain

    Wherever you’re going, I’m really jealous… even though I was in 30˚ weather under a week ago. I’m a wuss. I miss you and I can’t wait to see where the world takes you next so I can live vicariously through you!

  7. Emy

    I loved the video! I definitely love videos, they just are the best way in my opinion to remember things !:)
    Are you going somewhere cold?!:o I’m so impatient to know where you’re going and am so happy for you ! 🙂
    sending you good vibes!

    • Colleen

      I totally agree… I still have to put together videos from the rest of my trip, including Russia, which I know you will love! 🙂

  8. I’m so curious… WHERE ARE YOU GOING TELLLLL MEEEEE! And I love staying with old friends / seeing old friends in the middle of big trips. It’s the perfect salt and pepper to long solo trips with lots of… well, you-time.

    So excited for you to do whatever it is you’re doing! 🙂

    • Colleen

      Hey Sally… hope you are up to date now! 😀 hehe
      Hope you are doing great xo

  9. I was initially going to get all grumbly about you teasing us about exciting travel plans, but then I saw you spilled the beans on Instagram so I am in on the secret and am no longer disgruntled! I’m very excited to see how things evolve… it certainly seems like you have quite the adventure lined up!

    • Colleen

      Haha I love how involved we get in the blogs we follow. I appreciate your non disgruntled-ness and am very happy to have you along for this ride. It is going to be an interesting journey. Hugs x

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