Okay, don’t get me wrong; I love Heron Island. It’s absolutely stunning here with waters streaked with teals and royal blues. Plus have I mentioned the sea turtles? Yeah, that’s not going to get old anytime soon.
But as great as it is to go on a night snorkel expedition hyperaware that a shark might appear at any second, I think I’m poorly equipped for island life. I love the Internet—Facebook, Twitter, Gmail . . . it’s all too great for me to ever permanently hole up on an island where twenty minutes of access costs three bucks. Plus, I’d go broke. Oh, and I’d have to take a two hour long ferry just to access a library. Thanks, but no thanks.
I’ve never been one of those “back to nature” people. I find it ridiculous to mourn for the good ol’ days that were never that good in the first place. Who really wants to give up having a flush toilet? For a short while, okay, not a problem. But that’s only because you are getting an “experience” that will “build character.”
Although when was I ever lacking in character? Common sense, perhaps. But character? I don’t think so.
I remember back in high school when I went on an eight-day school sponsored hiking trip. It was hell. My “buddy” had a crappy attitude so she dragged her feet and whined about everything. Her pack was too heavy, her feet were sore, her legs were tired even the trees were stupid. She made my Jewish grandmother look like a novice at complaining—not an easy task. But the worst was yet to come. While I was out purifying drinking water for the group, she was supposed to learn how to make a tent out of found objects and a tarp. Except this particular girl had nonexistent listening skills. So I returned with water to discover that everyone else knew how to create a shelter except my partner. Then it started to drizzle and everyone was too busy fixing their own tents to help me catch up. That’s when the rain kicked into high gear. I spent the night shivering uncontrollably, soaked to the point of pruning, while my “buddy” told me at great length about how hot Halle Berry looked in tight leather pants in Catwoman. Not a topic I had initiated or wanted to hear about, actually.
All of this, mind you was after my nosebleed and before my twenty-four hour solo “adventure” where I sat alone in the woods eating raw Top Ramen and trying to think like the transcendentalists. Mainly what came to mind was this: hmm . . . the trees sure look beautiful. Is that profound? Nope, not really. Horribly cliché, actually. Man, this sucks. Crap, I’m supposed to be meditating or connecting with nature or something. Ohm . . . ohm . . . ohmy god, when will this end!
I was so damn happy to get home it’s entirely possible that I cried. Opening the refrigerator was akin to a religious experience. Fresh salad has never tasted so good.
For the record: I do appreciate nature. Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. because you get to enjoy each season to the fullest before the next one kicks in. That’s probably why I find it bizarre the way that Australia stays in a perpetual summer. That might be slightly inaccurate, scientifically speaking. I could look it up but that seems like a waste of my Internet time. My point is that even when it rains, the overall temperature isn’t all that cold—nothing compared to Portland. Which, at times, is fantastic. Scuba diving in Washington in the winter . . . it leaves a lot to be desired.
So as a place to go for a relaxing week off, I highly recommend Heron Island—especially if you are short on character. Snorkeling with a shark should fix that pretty quickly. And it can be nice to get away from the Internet and just disappear. Although if you are like me, three days into it and you’ll find yourself willing to fork over any amount of cash to Brett the bartender in exchange for time online. Three dollars for twenty minutes suddenly sounds generous. I’m only slightly embarrassed to perpetuate the stereotype of the Internet obsessed American tourist. Mainly, I enjoy chatting with Brett and the other locals every time I inevitably return (in twenty minute increments) to extend my time. They mock but they also seem to think I’m a good kind of crazy, so I’ve got that going for me.
And what is everyone else on my program doing as I write this? Studying for the exam we have tomorrow that’s worth twenty-five percent of our grade. I have every intention of doing the same later. After I post this online, concentrate on my latest work in progress, go snorkeling and procrastinate. But, you know, I’ll get to it. Eventually.