It’s those little human moments that stick with you forever, the random acts of kindness.”
During my travels I’ve met phenomenal humans. Contradictory to what the media tells us, most people are good and I’ve run across many of them, and traveling is what has allowed me to experience this. While staying in San Juan we met one of Emily’s childhood friend for lunch. It didn’t matter that they had lost touch for about a decade. They picked up like time hadn’t passed at all. It was cool watching a friendship being rekindled from so many years ago in South Dakota where they both grew up. But, Emily and Laura weren’t the only ones gaining friendship. Laura’s husband and son joined us for lunch. During long trips you meet a lot of people and most the time you have short conversations, but this meeting was different as it felt like we were meeting friends like we do back home.
Laura and her husband own Aqua Fitness Puerto Rico located in Condado. It’s a core training studio that combines exercises and water sports, providing a unique approach to wellness. They offer kayaking, paddle boarding, paddle yoga, aqua shock, real ryder and much more. Emily and I love an adventure so they generously offered to take us kayaking in the Condado Lagoon.
During lunch we planned our kayaking adventure. We chose to go during early morning and it was a great idea because the temperature in Puerto Rico gets high later in the day. When we arrived Julio greeted us in front of the studio. I chose to kayak while Emily went with the paddle board. Julio gave us safety instructions and explained wind and current patterns we might experience. He was extremely knowledgeable about the area, weather, and water sports. He made us feel very comfortable and informed. We were ready to get our feet wet.
The studio is basically off the Condado Lagoon. This was Julio’s first time with a customer who’s paralyzed. Kayaking or water sports in general have never been scary to me. Most of the time, the thrill comes from trying to accomplish something new and I could tell Julio enjoys that thrill as well. Even with Aqua Fitness being so close to the lagoon it doesn’t have a fixed dock. This created our first challenge. A small rock ledge sits between the lagoon and the sidewalk. Julio brought a rubber mat to lay over the small barrier. I transferred onto it and slowly turned my body facing the lagoon. A removable air dock was floating next to the wall. I slowly lowered myself to it and scooted across to my kayak.
Julio and his guide held the dock and kayak still so I could shuffle in without falling into the water. I was ready to start a water adventure. Emily hopped on the paddle board next.
Julio took my chair to the studio and met us on the water. He was also paddle boarding like Emily. He guided us along the shoreline giving us pointer all while being an amazing tour guide. I loved learning about the history of the lagoon, what was swimming in the lagoon under us and of course about him.
I like to travel because I want to be exposed to other cultures and ways of life. People are interesting, inspiring, and mostly indigenous.
After showing us around the lagoon Julio told us he was going to head in but we could stay on the lagoon as long as we wanted. As much as we appreciated our time with him we were excited to be the only vessels on the lagoon. We spotted schools of fish and other brightly colored marine life. Trying to give each other kisses without falling into the water was fun. Emily and I have kayaked in the past and during that trip the kayak flipped tossing both of us into the water. The debate regarding who’s at fault for flipping the kayak is ongoing. You and I know it was her but she still claims it was me. Luckily, we both left the lagoon dry.
If you’re in Puerto Rico you must book a kayaking trip with Julio or sign up for Laura's paddle yoga class. Believe me when I say you don’t want to miss out!
Our developing appetites got the best of us while we walked back to our hotel. Ashford Ave. in Condado has everything you need including amazing food. We stopped to eat breakfast at Punk Burger. The staff thought I was crazy when I ordered the Punk Zombie cocktail. I guess a sugar rimed glass of 151 Rum, pineapple, OJ, Lime juice, and blue curacao isn’t a normal drink to order at 10AM. I had successfully adventured and then celebrated with a cocktail all before noon. As a grownup I chose how to reward myself so… I awarded myself a nap.
The rest of our day was spent unscripted. I’ve lived a go with the flow mentality for many years and its led me down some awesome roads. I haven’t been able to live like this 100% of the time. Sometimes planning is mandatory. Our second to our last day in Puerto Rico was special and planned.
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