Bocas del Toro, Panamá

Imagine sitting with your legs crossed for a long period of time. At first it seems appropriate in the given social situation and you forget about it, engaged in whatever is holding your attention at the time. Slowly, you go numb. An unpleasant tingle begins to creep from your toes, to your foot, up your calf until a sudden pang of pain jolts you into motion.

I was numb.

After months of going through the same motions, the same routines, I was slowly slipping into a tormenting numbness. Work no longer seemed relevant and thus left me in a state of ennui, future plans hibernated and time passed rapidly without my caring or my acknowledgement. I was in what many volunteers call a “slump”, or a “funk”.

An administrative snafu gave myself and five other volunteers an opportunity to leave, and we jumped at the chance.

If I moved my head to one side or the other suddenly the wind would cause my hair to stab me in the eyes, yet I kept doing so to yell at my friends over the raucous motor of our boat. Clusters of small mangrove islands became scarce as we jetted out into open water. Large bulbous island sat perfectly still, their thick greenery  diving in effortless curves into the dark waves below. Colorful Caribbean style buildings abruptly leaped out of the ocean as we arrived to Isla Colon, the main island of Bocas del Toro.

Our days were spent as if we were visiting a dear family member. Every possible moment was spent in close proximity with the ocean, snorkeling, boating, SUPing, kayaking, etc.


There are scientific studies that show that we evolved from the sea. The diver’s effect. With a simple splash of water on your face, your heart rate drops significantly, preparing you for the dive into the obscure deep blue below. As we dove off the bow of our boat into cool water our hearts slowed in the innate recognition of a long forgotten origin. For minutes at a time we explored a different world brimming with shy citizens and foreign architecture. Rush to break the surface, serenity is briefly broken. Inhale the sharp air. Plunge down into the calm quiet of the water. Repeat.

As we walked, danced, sat and laughed throughout our days in Bocas del Toro, the quietude of the ocean resided in the background, softly reciting its never ending mantra. All of my nullified angst and numbness that was hovering just below the glassy surface slowly and passively drifted to the sandy bottoms beneath; I was numb no more.

Bocas del Toro, PanamaIsla Colon, PanamaBocas del Toro, PanamaBocas del Toro, Panama

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