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The Road to Dorado

Calla In Motion

The Road to Dorado

Lindsey Calla

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It's no surprise to me that the definition of a sanctuary is a place of refuge for safety; a nature reserve.  It's in nature that true peace exists and I'll follow the trade winds as far as necessary to find it.  It seems I'm not the first to discover Dorado Beach, a gorgeous little enclave only 45 minutes outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  A woman after my own heart named Clara once ran a citrus farm here with a house overlooking the ocean in the 1920's.  Old school #goals.  She was pals with Amelia Earhart and gave her a stay only a few days before her fateful disappearance.  There's that kind of magnetic energy here.   

Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart

The idea of an escape should be a type of indulgence that leaves you in a better place than you were when you arrived.  The type of indulgence that I love awakens the spirit and realigns my energy.  My stay here came at just the right time.  I had just flown to NYC then to London overnight for 48 hours where I worked on a really intense sports project.  When I got to the resort, a Ritz Carlton Reserve property, I took my first photo in the sand and pulled my quad getting back up (ugh, 30's).  Lucky for me, the tradition of healing, mainly with botanicals and essential oils, runs deep in Puerto Rico.  The resort even offers a treatment with an in-house ManoSantas that treats specific issues within your overall wellness with natural remedies. 

I love learning about the healing powers of botanicals.  The entrance to the spa houses so many bundles of eucalyptus, lavender, calendula and lemongrass that the smell overtakes the senses immediately.  They cascade over the side of hanging buckets and terracotta pots.  I took mental notes and vowed to cultivate a future apothecary in my home at some point in my life.  Again, #goals. Many of these botanicals reduce inflammation which was perfect for my injury.  During my massage the therapist recommend I ice my leg immediately by jumping in the 50 degree plunge pool in the aptly-named purification garden.  The garden was completely private and they supply imported sarongs from Bali that drape so luxuriously that I had to pick one up for myself on the way out.  Miniature pink pineapples grow within the spa, bringing the sensation that I hiked around the jungle and stumbled on a zen garden brimming with fruit, healing waters and botanicals.   

The rest of the resort is pure magic with more outdoor showers than I've seen in my lifetime.  There was one in my room open enough to feel one with nature and screened enough to shoo away any unwelcome viewers and others scattered around the pool encouraging frequent dips from ocean to pool, which I did, well, frequently.  In fact, I took the concept of water healing to a whole different level and I spent 80 percent of my time in either the ocean, the spa plunges or the pool.  After one day I woke up with zero leg pain.  

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been biking a ton from indoor cycling/spinning to outdoor cruising so I jumped on a gorgeous 11 mile nature trail that took me on the most beautiful route along the coast where the trade winds are the strongest on the island.  Throwing myself into biking might have been part of the reason why I had a quad injury to begin with but since it felt immensely better after a day I got a little excited to be back on the wheels.  

The idea of staying healthy while away helps me keep myself on track for unexpected projects.  Sometimes I get things so last minute that I need to be in top shape at the drop of an email and probably a flight.  Being here, I wanted to capture as much as possible to share but also to make sure I soaked up the breezy attitude and do things that will benefit my mind and body positively.  I take all of my travel photos myself, a type of wandering series of self-portraits that is more about a dire need to constantly create and share rather than a self-involved vanity project.  Although, I'm not quite sure what it looks like to those who actually see this happen in public but what happens in Dorado, stays in Dorado, I suppose.    

It was the little touches that also made the trip so memorable.  Every night I retired back to my ocean view room (every room has one here) to find a little gift from the staff.  A botanica candle, a cookbook from Jose Andres after devouring almost 8 courses of delicious gourmet local fare, and a silver Coqui to forever remind me of the sounds the frogs make, like ocean breeze rubbing up against a posse of wind chimes.  I have a collection of beautiful memories and little gifts from friends I've met along the way.  I'm not sure if it's that most other countries and cultures are far more tuned in and generous than Americans are or if good energy leads to positive experiences and gestures.  I think it's the latter and I'm happy to continue to travel the world to experience new places in the best, most positive light I can find. 

There's more to share but I'll leave it here.  Thanks for following along on the journey. 

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Book a trip to the Ritz Carlton Reserve, Dorado Beach here