I woke up in the back seat of a rental car. My hoodie/pillow was covered in drool from the sound sleep I somehow managed to fall into while a series of seat belt buckles dug into my hip. The sound of the sea seemed to have lulled me into a late morning awakening.
I found myself on a road that I had never seen before in the daylight. According to Google Maps and the sound of the ocean, I was in a development that overhung the ocean and, hopefully, a secret beach a few hundred meters below.
From the strange looks that the locals gave me while brushing my teeth outside my car, I decided I'd move my car to a little less conspicuous spot. I put the car in reverse and heard a loud popping sound. I had backed over a gigantic sharp rock and air was rapidly leaking out of my rental car's rear tire.
I knew if I didn't get to a tire shop soon, I'd cause noticeable damage to the rim of the car and face hundreds of dollars in fees, blowing my budget traveler's limited expenses while pushing the trip right into the 5-star hotel vacation category all for the luxurious experience of sleeping in a four-door sedan.
I raced back up the hill to town where I luckily found a tire shop almost immediately and it was open for business, which is rare as we were on an island and people didn't seem to get moving until around noon. We swapped the tires out for $50 and the mechanic got me driving back down the same tire popping road I came from within in an hour.
The ocean was still calling me loud and clear, you see... It had been all night...
I parked my rental car just a few meters shy from where I was originally parked, which was a bit embarrassing, but I quickly shook it off... I was on a mission, damnit! I packed my bag with some energy bars, water, a couple bananas, and a towel and hit the nearby trail that was closed due to landslides without looking back. The trail was a little overgrown with weeds but that just made the views all the more rugged, natural, and scenic.
When I made it to the bottom of the valley, I followed a dried up riverbed to a rocky beach adorned with fishing dens, caves and a little island off in the distance. It appeared to be an old fishing or surfing community that got shut down and boarded up by the local police. To me, it was a little slice of paradise and because of the difficulty to get to where I was, I knew I'd have the beach to myself that afternoon.
I sprawled out, explored the caves, took some pictures, relaxed, and allowed my thoughts to be replaced with silent appreciation.
The calling lived up to its trouble. The cave and the views made it all worthwhile and the rental car company was none the wiser.