I love maps. I grew playing this game where I’d spin this old globe my mom and I had found in some glorified dump, and let my finger tip graze the gliding cylinder until it stopped. Where my finger landed was some exotic location I would imagine my adult self traveling to. It was like geographic fortune telling. Sometimes I would force it stop on the places I thought were the most unlikely to ever explore, like Asia, Egypt, or a chain of islands off the coast of Africa.
I’ve known Daila for a while now. I know she’s from the Canary Islands. I know they are all exotic, and Spanish, and cool, and everything because people like Daila come from them. But when she invited me to visit her home turf to chill by the beach, tour around and celebrate Carnival, the traditional festival they have on the Island every year, I was embarrassed (and typically American) to admit I couldn’t point these islands out on a map.
I found it was pretty exciting buying a plane ticket to a place that I couldn’t quite locate. I mean I’d see it on a map, but still have this lingering feeling of whaaa?!? Where???! And I think as much as I tried to understand where the Canary Islands lay, they continued to seem surreal. I flew over Spain, passed Morocco and tried to orient myself deciding what country I could possible be hovering over now. The physicality of the situation was comforting as Gran Canaria Island came into view and I saw we would be landing on a giant volcanic chunk of the Sahara Desert that had likely broken off from the African Continent and drifted out to sea multiple million years ago. Nice.
I’ve been pushing for a beach trip for years now and as I soiréed the following few days in the style a traveler can only do under the care and supervision of a local, I realized why Joe had so adamantly refused to let me stray from the mountains. Life on the playa was enough to make me change sports in an instance. Surfing, boogy-boarding, wind-surfing and drinking beverages by the beach were obvious trades for climbing almost immediately. Lesson learned, I could totally be a beach person.
I shot video most of the time we wandered Gran Canaria, but here are a few shots I grab from the beautiful island.