Taylor Swift Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About
***UPDATE*** It has been brought to my attention by my good friend Leslie (huge country buff and friend to country singers everywhere), that the person I should be slamming in the title of this post is Miley Cyrus and NOT Taylor Swift. Since it’s a pain in the ass to change post titles once published and they’re all the same to me, I’m not going to change it. But since I love Leslie and don’t want to blame Taylor for Miley’s missteps, I will, for the record, stand corrected.
(But Taylor probably doesn’t know what she’s talking about either.)
I’ve been to a few beaches in my time.
It’s odd because as a teenager, I always thought I was more of a mountain girl. That might have something to do with the fact that I primarily grew up in Nebraska, and it wasn’t unusual to take family trips to the magnificent Rockies where my sister and I would don knee-length shorts and flannel shirts tied around our waists (hey, it was the 90’s grunge era, and if I’m not mistaken, the plaid shirt thing is currently making a comeback, suckas!), and we’d hike the scenic trails of Estes Park, marveling at pristine mountain lakes from pointy vistas, trying desperately to comprehend sheer size and distance based on the veritable layers of mountains that faded off into a purple haze on the horizon.
Fortunately, for the most part, the mountains still have that effect on me.
But nothing — and I mean nothing — has ever made me feel smaller than the ocean.
Except maybe that senior who called me ugly during my freshman year of high school.
But while oceans have swallowed ships the size of small cities and an entire mountain range that, if its base were above sea level, would boast peaks higher than the Himalayas, all that senior managed to swallow was a drop of my 15-year-old self-esteem, which, by comparison, was much smaller.
So, considering the fact that I haven’t yet been to outer space, the ocean reigns supreme on my list of awe-inspiring things in terms of sheer vastness.
In this life, I’ve been lucky enough to dig sand dollars from the warm gulf surf off the cost of Georgia; scuba dive the reefs near St. Lucia’s black sand beaches, feeling the stunning shock of sea gnats while gazing at the limitless colors of coral and fish; view the North Pacific, with its cliffs of rock rising out from its frigid depths, as it feasted on the remnants of hundreds of sand castles along its beaches; witness the power of waves that looked like building-tall scoops of ice cream sprinkled with runaway surfboards as they tested human courage on the beauty of Oahu’s North Shore; watch cruise ships dump inconceivable amounts of pollution into the shockingly blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico; buy trinkets sold by colorful hippies and artists while absorbing the vibrancy of the beach known as Venice; frantically flee strange, floating jellyfish in the bathtub-warm waters of the Caribbean while learning how to scream through a snorkel; accept a proposal for marriage on a beach composed entirely of shells on the east coast of Florida; and accidentally lose track of the top of my bathing suit in a wave working its way towards the famous shore of Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica.
Until I recently dipped my toes into the surprisingly June-cool waters of the Mediterranean, I was convinced I’d seen it all.
But that’s the beauty of the ocean.
No one has ever, ever seen it all.
You know that song that’s all, It’s not about what’s waiting on the other side… it’s the climb? I think it’s by Taylor Swift. Well. As you can see, she was dead wrong.
The climb, which we did on bicycles, sucked. But that thing that was waiting on the other side?
Pretty. Damn. Fantastic.
So. To answer the burning question I know everyone is wondering but is too afraid to ask:
Did I “lose” my top on the notorious nude beaches of Formentera?
Let’s just say that I never realized how utterly uncomfortable bikini tops are — until I experienced a world without one.
Photo by Becca Gard