Updated: Jan 12
Pack Light, Be Light // Global Authentic Yoga & Mindful Travel Experiences
Blog Entry 001 // by Rae Bu Luck @Namastrae @InnerHighYoga
Upon leaving my first sunrise yoga class with my spouse, just hours from arriving in Puerto Rico, my outlook on life was recharged, my energy balanced, my heart gained hope and my stress level completely dropped to zero. I thought to myself “I’m feeling more open, talking to everyone, introducing myself and listening to their dreams while sharing my vision."
I felt relaxed, moving moment to moment, and the visible symptoms of stress-based auto-immune disorders had nearly vanished completely by the fourth day on the island. I rediscovered that my body was and is powerfully linked with the universe and is blessed with the tremendous ability to heal itself. After 9 nights only, 10 days, with no pills or creams just island healing, I was feeling total relief in my being, and it showed on my physical form. Stress ailments were healing due to my environment change, focus on my breath, the luxury of space to simply BE.
Secondly, I noticed that that little negative voice that makes unwarranted comments was gone and the prominent voice of inner wisdom was instead the one sending & receiving messages and omens from the past and future, from right now; to be experienced right now! The buddhi is the "inner voice of wisdom" or faculty of intuitive discernment or direct spiritual awareness in Buddhism & Hinduism belief systems.
Ancient beliefs aside, these omens and messages and signals were guiding me to go softly and consistently on my path of my personal legend and personal legacy.
Each moment experienced IS the path to the future, because it exists NOW. Just as the wake does not drive the ship, so your past is not the determiner of your future. The present moment is all there is and therefore is all powerful. Linking this energy with the radiant, beating, relentless, spiritual powers of the hot equatorial sun, I am renewed.
Saying things many have said and doing things many have done but in my own way. In the expression of Rae Bu. I feel more connected to the language of the world, of the earth and of our connected souls, and of our collective consciousness, sensing and trusting, intuiting and manifesting. How incredible it is to BE. And to have a home. But how incredible it is to know the world is one's home and all is one's family.
These sentiments shared with you, are the biggest gain from my travel to Puerto Rico and sentiments that bear repeating in pre & post-covid times, in this country and others.
Below is a list of 20 fully digestible tid-bits from my travel to this enchanted island of Puerto Rico and it's smaller sibling, Vieques.
SPANGLISH/ ESPAÑOL/ENGLISH :: Bilingual everything, every sign, and everyone. What I adored as a language learner, dare I say Linguist, is that everyone and everything helps you to learn Spanish if you study and put forth the effort. Conversely, if you’re a native Spanish speaker then this would work vise versa as well in P.R! Internationals/Locals/Gringos with whom I interacted all seemed to glow and buzz with a relaxed, friendly, energy. I had many a meaningful conversation at the hostels, guesthouses and airbnb in which I stayed, which boasted a range of ages from 18-55 without discrimination, as it should be!
2. NO BUGS!? Like where are the bugs? Of all of the islands or tropical places I’ve lived on or visited, bugs didn’t hold a dominant presence here. (Perhaps its something to do with the Navy experiments/bombings? Only just a thought...)Sincerely, I still checked the shower, bed, and shook out my clothes, but compared to Thailand, Bali, India etc, they weren’t lurking at every corner, dominating the kitchen area or “bugging” me. Jajaja!
3. GREAT “STARTER” TRIP for those who haven’t traveled very much internationally. Yes, it is more expensive than being an expat in SE Asia or Eastern Europe. But with some planning and proper decision making it is easy to budget with hostel/guesthouse/air bnb stays, grocery shopping or volunteering as an international traveler or U.S. Citizen.
4. NO WORK VISA NEEDED for U.S. citizens. Even though Puerto Rico very much feels like a foreign country, if you are a U.S. citizen you can legally work there! You could sell most of your stuff, pack up the curated best of it, and get a job in Puerto Rico...today. MANY places are hiring. Bi-linguals and Polyglot wanabees this could be the place to use and hone your skills. You may NOT have to pay federal income tax for work done in PR and there are also business tax deals for opening a business in PR, that YOU could look into.
5. OCEAN ACTIVITIES & VIBE Let’s face it, the sun, sand and surf are HEALING. They promote healing when respected and enjoyed in moderation. That salty water float. That morning sandy jog. The evening sunset & salutation. It’s all there and accessible everywhere you turn. Snorkel, swim, kite surf, surf, kayak, and experience the bio bay on the quiet Vieques, island to the main islands east side.
6. ISLA VIEQUES - The sleepy lil sibling of P.R.’s big island is Isla de Vieques. It's $2 by ferry or fly into the most shack like, tiny airport I’ve ever seen. Prices vary, but it’s about a 20-min ride through the air or a 60-min ride by boat. Pre-arranging and being flexible with the weather and your attitude is needed! Keep in mind, the more luggage you bring off the island, they more they may charge you. Use porferry.com for details and tickets. Culebra is another option for incredible snorkeling, but I didn’t go there and so thus I cannot write about this yet. Watch the weather because if the water is choppy, your ferry may be delayed. Bring the dramamine for fussy waters or sensitive stomachs. Off the island of Vieques, we swam tranquilly with tropical fish, string rays and a huge sea turtle. I strongly suggest spending the money to be driven around Vieques via a tour that includes snorkeling, day kayaking to a remote beach only accessible by water (see below), lunch, and by night a magical & eerie experience at the bioluminescent bay. We recommend Abe's snorkeling and bio-bay tours. Coincidentally, we unknowingly booked a tour, and happened to be "3 degrees of separation" from Abe himself. It's a small world and we are all linked!
7. PROGRESSIVE ASHTANGA YOGA - Puerto Rico - This studio is in the beachside Parque neighborhood. We landed and immediately took the first class of the day at 6am and followed it with a 10 minute walk to the nearest beach. My spouse and I took 5 classes here in May 2021 and were super impressed with the philosophies, kindness, instruction, atmosphere, location and technique. As lifelong yogis and certified yoga teachers, finding this place and having the privilege to be a student here was the sparkling gem of our trip! They offer all-levels of instruction in English & Spanish. They lead Vinyasa and Astanga classes that are transformational. Thank you, especially to David & Jesus, our teachers. We shall return.
8. NICE, INTERESTING CONVOS after A YEAR COUPED UP: We encountered and conversed with so many friendly people mostly from PR or the states but also met people from Guatemala, France, and Colombia. This was our first time interacting with folks post-covid and post-vaccine in such a close way. It felt refreshing and liberating to meet new people again and share stories, dreams, hopes, and techniques. Our host at our Air BnB was a kind, animal-loving, Puerto Rican who made us feel welcome and cared for throughout our stay! That's him below.
9. BEACH SWING MUCH?! I’ve always wondered if these were mythical creatures but alas, I’ve met the unicorn! A simple, no gimmicks, no lines, no cost, beach swing waiting to be used, hanging at the end of a short beach walk, in Esperanza, Vieques. Don’t abuse it, take turns, have fun! Thank you to whoever hung this up. You are a dream maker.
10. ALTERNATIVE WHEELS. Scooters, skateboards, golf carts, bicycles, electric “scooties,” or your own two feet! These are the ways to get around P.R. I am not able to speak about other people with other needs and their experiences, only my own, and I declare that alternative wheels or your feet are the way to see a place! Yes, cars are fab for long distances as well. But if you’re on a shorter or budget trip, budget long-stay or just budget lifestyle, you can get on with out car, bud. That said, the Puerto Rico big island and Vieques could use a sustainable bike rental & repair shop to help promote sustainable transportation and biking adventures for, well, FUN! Be safe if you're driving around Vieques on a golf cart, there are horses present. Next time, I will bring or rent a bicycle, and/or bring my skateboard. There are so many places to experience the islands on alternative wheels. Pack-light and keep yourself mobile. You’ll thank me later!
11. WORK-TRADE // I have used work-trade around the world as a tool for being able to gain experience, knowledge and skills while traveling on a budget. To feel part of a team, contribute one's energy, be integrated into the culture, and be able to travel for much cheaper. If you have a fantastic attitude and decent work ethic, you can do work-trade. These jobs are often less stressful than your full 40-hours per week paid gig, but run more like a 5-6 hours 4-5 days / week or some combo of a place to stay and meals. Some places offer free stays at sibling hostels, discounted tour, or “small money” tips for a job well done. I have done this to teach Yoga, English and Art, paint murals, create photography and offer Thai bodywork. In my experience, they always provide ample time off for travel and exploration. And the jobs have always been fulfilling and enjoyable. My spouse did work-trade as a cafe waiter, piano teacher, and some general farm and building labor. Whatever your skill set, you can probably find someway to contribute for a decent, likely unforgettable exchange. A few places that offer work-trade in Puerto Rico and Vieques are Mango Mansion, Casa Santurce and Lazy Hostel Vieques. Below is Aytan interacting with a resident kitten at Casa Santurce.