I looked out around me and in all directions was a sea. No, not water, a sea of rock for as far as my eyes could reach. It was eerie. A vast spread of orangish brown surrounded us, with no way to tell direction aside from the fresh tire tracks in the dirt. Who knew something advertised as a “must see attraction” would lead us to the closest I’ve been to the middle of nowhere.
It was fascinatingly vast and I remember the place vividly, but if you asked me how to get there I wouldn’t be able to tell you. We were on a family spring break trip to Aruba. It was our second time on the island and as breathtaking and relaxing as the beaches are, we were looking for a change of pace. We had received a plethora of brochures advertising different attractions upon check in to our hotel. We decided to take the red Jeep Wrangler on an excursion to find the Natural Bridge and the Natural Pools. These sights were advertised as major tourist attractions and caught our attention. We embarked on or hunt to find the Natural Bridge first, which turned out to not be much of a hunt at all. Well marked signs and a map of the island led us easily to this astounding architecture created by erosion. We naturally assumed that finding the pools would be just as effortless. However, it turned out to be the opposite. We instead found ourselves climbing steep inclines and nearly hitting a stray chicken and some goats.
We made it to back on flat ground and to our left were thousands of rocks. They were placed in various stacks between the beach and the road. It was an intriguing sight; hundreds of stacks scattered along the coast. We got out of the Jeep to observe more closely, each added our own contribution to the phenomenon by adding a stack, and then continued on.
The terrain became rugged and hilly again as we followed our unreliable map and small broken signs that appeared inconsistently along the roadside. The hunt for the pools eventually led us to ruins built into the side of a hill. We again exited the Jeep to explore. The ruins were astonishing; we wondered why they had not been an attraction advertised on one of the many brochures. We walked through the ruins, explored, took pictures, and eventually continued on. As we rounded the corner at the peak of a steep hill, we arrived at the most astounding place yet. If I was to visualize physically being on top of the world, this view is exactly what I’d see. The 360 degree views stretched for miles. All my sense of location, space, and depth were lost. Nobody in my family spoke, we were in awe as we looked out over the entire island. As magnificent as the beaches are, this far exceeded them. Once we finished gazing in amazement at this abyss of rock and sand, we headed back to the hotel.
So we didn’t find the pools, but I did find a lesson. Journeys are not always about the destination, they are about what happens along the way. Although we didn’t reach the pools, we saw many amazing sights, and I had a great time with my family. I apply this lesson in my life by not getting caught up in the finale, but enjoying the journey I am taking to get there.
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