Category Archives: Islands

summer in winter

Recently I’ve been debating with myself. When an idea makes me afraid I ask myself if it is actual fear of danger, as in mental or bodily harm. Or is it fear of being out of my comfort zone, fear of the unfamiliar. With our recent decision to sell our house and move abroad for a year I have definite moments of uneasiness. I’ve been asking myself what happens when you take a leap out of your comfort zone?

I find it often yields surprising results.

Nothing in your life will change without your willingness to sacrifice something first. Most often that sacrifice is our comfort. To achieve our goals and dreams it can be painful and uncomfortable. But that pain is just a stage that we pass through to promote our growth.

My father in law gave Derek some advice when he was starting out his career. He told him, “look at someone who has been doing what you’ve been doing, only they’ve been at it 10 years longer. Is that where you want to be? Do they have a better life? Are they doing the things you want to do?” You have to be critical about your situation. To ensure you end up where you ideally want to be.

I blame the fact that I was surrounded by nothing but the reflective surface of the ocean last week on this self- reflective mood.

We were cutting across the teal colors of the world.

Where water and sky bled into each other.

The water spray and the warm current’s arms rocking me gently into love.

Beside me- arms linked and head resting against his shoulder.

Heart racing in my chest

I reached for the sunset and

I had a thought that there is someone for all of us.

And he is that someone for me

I am acting on living.

No shame

Just loud singing to carry me into the next day

Cuba – Open for Business

What the surge of American tourists can expect as they are welcomed back to Cuba.
Old cars, cheap lobster, and living history.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

In Five Take Flight, we jump on any opportunity to travel. A few weeks back I overheard that a trip to Cuba was in the works… I invited myself. Next thing I know I am on a G150 flying the first flight direct from Salt Lake City to Havana. On the flight over I did a Cuba history Crash course, watching a few documentaries.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

First impressions, the runway had some bumps, and the General Aviation airport (terminal 5) was a ghost town. Ours was the only plane parked outside, and from the look of things, the airport staff had not seen much action that day. Only 2 of the 5 urinals in the bathroom had pipes…. but any holes in the amenities were filled by the kindness of the people. We felt safe and welcome.

Our hotel, the Melia Cohiba, is acclaimed by many to be the nicest in Havana. If you’re used to traveling to Hawaii or Mexico, you’ll be disappointed by what you find in terms of lodging in Cuba. You have to understand that, as of summer 2016, the tourist economy of Cuba has been limping along since the early 60’s. Room size, amenities, and Wifi suffer. If ours was the nicest, I’m guessing things get pretty raw.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

One welcomed side effect of the time capsule of Cuba are the cars. You see them everywhere… Gems of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Like a perpetual classic car show. As the surge of tourists hit Cuba this is likely to become even more pronounced, given the choice of riding in a classic pink convertible or a regular Taxi, which would you choose? Speeds are slow and traffic non existent. One highlight of the trip was our open air tour of Havana in one of these classics. A must-do.

But there are accidents, in fact I was in one! You can hear the story in the video above. But long story short, my taxi had ample time to stop but ran right into the back of another car. Sending me flying into the driver seat. Not knowing the traffic laws I choose to flee the scene after paying my agreed upon fare plus some extra.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

Food was awesome. Huge lobster for the equivalent of $10-15 USD. It was really hard to find ‘local’ places.. we tied but I don’t think we ever really found where your average Cubans eat.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

One trip unforgettable was the Cabaret show at the Tropicana. This is the Genesis of the spectacle you find in Las Vegas. I was pulled up not once but 3 times to dance with the performers. If you don’t want to dance… don’t sit on the aisle.

Final thoughts, Cuba is full of very interesting modern history. Not a trip to the museum kind of history… walking the streets of Havana you are actually seeing history and watching it unfold. Along with the cars, Cuba is rich in people, culture, and food.

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

You’ll find better beaches in Hawaii, but who wants to hear about your trip to Waikiki? One trip to Cuba and you’ll have stories for the grandkids… hopefully not about your Taxi accident!

– Derek Tillotson

Speical thanks to Sandie Tillotson!

 

Photo by Sean Diediker
Photo by Sean Diediker

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