Island Time: 5 Days of Healing in Aruba

The trees in Aruba have a distinct shape because of the ocean winds.
The trees in Aruba have a distinct shape because of the ocean winds.

The bath water was turning cold. The Epsom salt, bay leaves and fennel didn’t make me feel like I was “releasing negative energies,” as my self-proclaimed psychic acquaintance had insisted. Instead, I felt like I was sitting in a bowl of soup that someone had forgotten.

My friends and I had experienced such a volume of bad luck and misfortune in the last year that I found myself asking aloud, multiple times, if we were cursed. What started as a joke had turned into a somewhat serious question. I asked a woman I had met who was an expert in the subject about my bad luck.

She advised me to take a bath with the mentioned ingredients and to close my eyes. I burned a candle for good measure. She told me that if we were actually cursed, as the water drained out I would feel lighter. I only felt foolish and chilled. Apparently it was just life, and when it rains sometimes it really does pour.

In the course of a year, my best friend, Sam, had been diagnosed and treated for cancer. Another friend of mine, Alyssa, had her seizures increase suddenly in frequency and severity. It felt like we should rent a room at the hospital.

Aruba is vibrant and full of energy.
Aruba is vibrant and full of energy.

I felt powerless. In the past year I had escaped an abusive relationship that caused me to suffer mentally and physically, and I had been burdened with the medical expenses. We needed a break, and things were feeling like if they piled any heavier, we might break.

When my friend Sam got a week off that overlapped with time off that I and our other friend, Alyssa, had, we jumped on the opportunity. If the world wouldn’t give us a break, we’d just make one for ourselves.

The three of us, along with our friend, Dylan, started planning our trip, dubbed our Squadcation. With hurricane season in full swing, our goal of sitting on a beach with each other and a drink in hand ended on Aruba.

Getting to Aruba                            

Aruba is a small Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela that is a popular stop for cruise ships. Many people hop off to stretch their legs, look around the shops and then get back on the ship. But there is so much more to Aruba, and you could easily spend weeks here.

We traveled from Austin, Texas to New York. We spent the night roaming the streets of NY, getting food, drinks and heading to Times Square. (By the way, Blossom du Jour had the best vegan food I’ve ever had, and O’ Brian’s Irish Pub is always a great late-night spot.)

From there, we had an easy four-hour flight from JFK to Oranjestad, Aruba on JetBlue.

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