Faceless in Paradise: a UF Sea Kayaking Trip to the Bahamas

Aug 16 / CATEGORY: Outdoors

I never thought I’d take an aqua-dump, but there I was in the Spring of 2018 squatting waist deep in the tropical blue waters of the Bahamas. A little backstory, TRiP facilitated a week-long sea kayaking trip to the Exuma Cays, and I was lucky enough to be one of the leaders to plan it. While you could hear a great story from any of the 9 of us that went, there was something interesting I experienced that I really want to share.

In our lives, our face is everywhere we look. We see it in the mirror when we get dressed in the morning. We see it when we brush our teeth. We see it at the gym, in our snapchats, the reflection in a glass door. Our face is everywhere. As a result, how we look and how we don’t look is at the forefront of our minds all day, every day.

We are surrounded by people we don’t know. Even in a college town, you can’t go to the grocery store without seeing a hundred strangers. We live in a world of anonymity and as a result we’re lost in a sea of faces.

Now imagine a week where you’re with the same adventurers, day in and day out. The only mirrors are miles away and your phone battery isn’t going to last. Something pretty cool started to happen. People became faceless. I don’t mean literally, but I started to look at people and not think about what they looked like, but who they were. I didn’t think about the sunscreen caked in our hairlines or the dirty stains on our shirts. We were just people on the sea, having an adventure. I felt like I was looking at 8 other raw humans and it was special. We all let go of work, school and our responsibilities back home and just embraced our endeavor.

It was quite a surprise when I got back and saw myself in the mirror, a weathered dirty person smiling back at me. I felt that surprise for the entire next week. Every time I saw my reflection, there wasn’t really a big connection between who I was and what I saw… and I liked it. A week is just long enough to really forget your face. I call it the Week in the Woods Effect.

Thanks for hearing my story. If this resonates with you, try losing yourself in a tropical sea and become faceless in paradise.

-Edward Deumens, a Lead Guide for TRiP