We’re half way through our big summer road trip. We’ve just checked into an Airbnb in a little town that we know nothing about, other than that it’s roughly half way between where we’ve been and where we’re going. Suddenly, we become aware of a horrible smell.
It’s a kind of musty, unwashed smell – like a sink that hasn’t been cleaned for a while. Faint, but definitely present.
We spend a good ten minutes looking for the source of the smell. Everything in the Airbnb looks clean. It isn’t the drains. Even when we stick our noses out of the door to see if it’s coming from outside, we have no luck.
It’s a moment before we realise that the smell is coming from us… Or more precisely, coming from our clothes.
Oops. I guess a couple of weeks living on the road and not taking care of your backpack will do that to you.
My defence is this: that we didn’t smell nearly as bad as we thought we did. It was merely the laws of contrast. The problem was that everything else smelled so good.
The Airbnb was a little haven surrounded by trees. When the moisture rolled in off the Pacific Ocean, it cooled against the redwoods and cocooned us in a silent mist. Fresh flowers from the garden spilled into our little rooms, where they sat in pretty little vases, next to a ginormous bowl of locally sourced organic fruit. Even the soap smelled of freshly picked roses.
When we ventured into the town itself, it was to the Lighthouse Grill, home of delicious homemade burgers & even more delicious lavender & honey flavoured ice cream.
Next morning we headed to the Beachcomber Café (another recommendation from our Airbnb host, Karin). The amount of scrumptious cake we consumed, you’d never know we’d already been eating our way through America for the past couple of weeks. The smell of chocolate cake & coffee was enough to get anyone’s taste buds tingling.
There’s another factor to Trinidad. Not only does it have delicious food & a pretty Airbnb property, it has a very hippy mentality. Lots of people seem to do yoga. There’s a lot of organic food on the menus. It’s all about locally sourced sustainable goods, and a laid back lifestyle.
And it isn’t hard to see why. Beyond the multiple different delicious food options, there’s the setting. The trees I’ve already mentioned. What I haven’t really talked about is the beach.
We nearly skipped the beach, if you can believe it. Crazy, right? But it was because of that mist I talked about, where the moisture-filled sea air hits the redwoods and turns to mist. We thought, why go to a misty beach when there’s nothing to see and no sun?
Turns out we couldn’t have been more wrong.
We descended the winding steps, the beach largely hidden from view by trees and shrubs. Then there was a rickety log ladder embedded into the sand, which we had to clamber down the last couple of metres. Then the beach opened up before us.
The sand sloped gently away from us, broken only by the odd trickling stream carving its way from the forest. Here and there, rugged black rocks loomed from the mist, huge and eerie, like something Jurassic. Before us, the flat sea lay like a sheet of metal around more hulking black rocks. Just a little way out in the bay, a seal warmed itself on a rock, tail stuck in the air like a waving hand, it’s inquisitive face turned towards us.
As we wandered along the sand, a breeze blew in, and wavelets started lapping up against the sand and rocks. Out in the bay, the seal adjusted its position, as a seal pup swam up and tried to get purchase on another of the rocks. Being small, the pup only had a choice of the lower rocks, easier to heave itself onto.
We watched as it lay itself across the rock, looked over at its elder to check technique, then stuck its head and tail flippers optimistically in the air. For a few seconds, it stayed like that, achieving its goal – until a wave came and washed it off. Then the whole process would begin again.
I could have stayed and watched that seal pup for hours, but the road beckoned, and we had to be gone. There’s always a new place, a strange horizon. There’s always that distant call of the onward journey, and who are we not to answer?
Trinidad may have only been a brief 24 hour stop, but it will stick with me as one of the most beautiful, calming places of the entire trip. It was a place for feeling fulfilled, where doing could be replaced with being, and where time seemed trapped by the silencing mist and prehistoric landscape. It’s a place I’m sure I will go back to one day.