4 DAYS OF UNHURRIED LIVING IN PHOTOS: Learning to Discern What is Important and What is Not

Sometimes, we need to slow down to discover the meaning of life anew. It is in unhurried moments that we learn to discern what is important and what is not.

Seven years ago, I traveled to the island of Boracay in the Philippines to unwind. It was an unaccompanied 4-day-trip. No time limit. No one was in control. No pressure on the next island agenda. No mobile phone. No laptop. No social media. It was a time to disconnect – to unplug from the culture of haste and savor slow living.

What I imagined to be a downtime trip turned out to be days of soul care, self-awareness, and island nuggets of wisdom captured in photos.

Sometimes, we need DELAYS to remind us that some things in life are out of our control.

Terminal 3. Gate 143. Crowded airport. Air traffic. 2 hours of flight delay. No seats were available in the waiting room. 

Never did it cross my mind that the moment the plane was delayed for two hours was the starting point of God teaching me about slowing down.

Life in the metropolis is certainly fast-paced. Productivity is tantamount to a myriad task each day and week. We are engrossed with the overload of schedules and deadlines. We want everything accomplished in minutes and we hate delays. Life is, invariably, in a hurry.

Sometimes, we need delays to teach us to slow down. The only time it happens is when things seem to get out of our control like flight delays.

“Hello, this is your Captain speaking. Welcome aboard. We apologize for the short delay. We are now ready for departure. Thank you for your patience. We are expecting a smooth ride. The en-route weather is clear skies. Please sit back and enjoy your flight.”

women-afresh-boracay

Flight from Manila to Kalibo: 1 hour and 15 minutes

I took the long flight going to Boracay via Kalibo to experience the thrill of land travel. Slow down. I was not in a hurry. I wanted to experience something new – an unhurried life.

Rain. Zigzag roads. Distant lights. Soothing jazz playlist. The evening bus trip felt like a genre of travel-adventure film and I was the main character among the cast of foreigners, waiting for some kind of a dramatic action moment. LOL. 

Bus travel from Kalibo to Caticlan: 2 hours

It was past seven in the evening when I reached Caticlan Jetty Port. A hotel assistant warmly welcomed and assisted me, took care of my island boat ticket and belongings. 

It was a dark boat ride that I could barely see the ocean. But I enjoyed every minute of it as the boat went up and down in splashing waves. 

After a 7-min boat ride, a hotel van took me to a 20-minute drive to Diniwid Beach where the hotel is located. It is a giant rock away from the long White Beach, the busiest and most crowded station on the island of Boracay.

It was a tiring day of flight delays, evening bus, and boat ride. But the hotel staff, the soothing welcome drink, shell necklace, delicious meal, warm lights, comfortable queen-size bed, and the coziness of the place somehow all took my tiredness away. What a day.

Sometimes, we need to DISCONNECT to reconnect with what’s more essential in life.

The evolution of technology has dramatically shaped our lifestyle. While it has provided us easy access to information, innovation in many fields, global connection, and many more, too much exposure to it also isolates us from what’s essential. 

Several studies reveal that overuse of social media and devices affects our mental health in subtle ways. Sleep disruption, short attention span, physical inactivity, anxiety, and depression are just some of the signs that link to technology addiction. Wise management is the key to avoid these pitfalls.

One of my goals in the solo Boracay trip was to disconnect from technology for a while. It was a time to tune out from the culture of noise and tune in to the peaceful sounds of nature. No time limit. No one was in control. No pressure on the next island agenda. No mobile phone. No laptop. No social media.

Sometimes, to be alone is an essential part of being. It is a moment to engage within – to identify feelings of consolation and desolation. It is a call to our depths – to connect with our Creator. 

“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in secret, You will make wisdom known to me.”Psalm 51:6, NASB 

Sometimes, a reflective retreat is not just trying to accomplish something spiritual with a program to follow. Sometimes it means to disconnect from all these things to fully savor an island time with Him – like He is your island, your beach, your breakfast, your travel, your air, your breath, your life.

Sometimes, we need to slow down to DISCOVER the beauty of life anew.

“Tell Me, what do you see?” In one of my beach walks with God, He led me to a glimpse of the mysteries that the island of Boracay unveils. 

Turquoise blue waters. Pebbles and shells. Pristine white sand. Calm waves. Giant tree shade. Sandcastle. Palm trees. Footprints on the sand. Sailboats. Beach horizon. Natural rock formation. Breathtaking sunset. Tranquility.

There is beauty hidden in the small details of life that we tend to overlook. Slowing down enabled me to see the beauty of life anew – to savor the moment and to treasure the present. 

This is life. This is God’s gift. If we take time to pause and delight in the “childlike wonders” of life, we are renewed from within. 

Four days on the Island of Boracay taught me the importance of unhurried living, of what is important, and what is not. In a culture of haste and noise, sometimes all we need is time devoted to slowing down. 

Practice unhurried living. Disconnect from your gadget. Take a break from social media. Look at the sky. Water the plants. Smell the flowers. Take a walk. Watch a bird fly. Sit and watch the sunset. Count the stars. Repeat. Life is worth living. 

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