There’s A Place In… is a new series where I’ll be asking fellow travellers to share a place that has stood out from their travels. This week’s post comes from one of my favourite travel bloggers out there – Colleen of Colleen Brynn Travels. She is witty, honest, and one heck of a writer, and today she is sharing with us a little piece of Easter Island. Enjoy!
Where did you go?
Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island.
How did you learn about this place?
Do you know where Easter Island is?
It’s a place we’ve all heard of, but it’s amazing how the physical location of such a renowned place can be a mystery to so many people.
I admit I did not know where to find the tiny little island on a map when I first thought of visiting it. During the summer of 2009, I had been working a somewhat uninspiring office job. To stimulate my senses a little while in my grey cubicle, I set my iGoogle browser to display images of the top places one must visit in a lifetime. Many photos were of places I had already visited: Red Square in Moscow, Russia, the Coliseum in Rome, Italy, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, the beaches of Busan in South Korea. Many photos were of places I longed to see: Tanzania, India, Japan, Brasil, Peru.
With my last semester of university coming that fall, I began to toy with the idea of treating myself to a trip. I had decided on South America, and these images at work taunted me daily with all the places I could possibly go. It was then that I noticed the images of Easter Island over and over (and over) again.
And that’s when I thought: Why not?
That’s how I decided to go to Easter Island.
What makes it stand out from other places?
To say that Easter Island was amazing would be a gross understatement; Easter Island changed my life. I had been feeling all sorts of things after my university graduation: dissatisfaction in my chosen degree, deep worry for my inexplicably failing three year relationship, and general discomfort from being trapped in my own skin.
As it always goes with any trip, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I landed on the tiny speck of land in the middle of the ocean. I ended up arriving at a place of personal healing where I met people who shook me back into my skin, who made me feel like myself again, who reminded me why I love travelling, meeting new people and living life as I do. These people gave me energy I have never felt before and haven’t felt since.
When I visited the island, I made sure to visit all the sites: Orongo, Rano Kau, Tongariki, Rano Raraku, Anakena… but in the end, it was the people who made my visit to Easter Island unforgettable.
If you ever go to Easter Island, go with an open heart and a smile on your face. The people will only welcome you into their lives. You will be invited to explore caves and share apples and dance and sing and swim with turtles and ride horses. They will make you laugh, they will make you think, they will make you wish you were staying longer. A friend I met on the island changed her flight several times in order to stay a total of 10 weeks.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the island and all the people I met there. I’m lucky that I’m still in contact with many of these people, lucky to call them friends almost 3 years later. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about returning. I spent 9 nights there in 2010. When I go back, I will make sure I have several weeks to spare, to sit with friends at the side of the ocean, Pisco Sour in hand, watching the surfers and the setting sun.
How can we get there?
Flights to Easter Island arrive from Tahiti or Santiago de Chile, and I flew from Santiago with LAN Chile. There are also cruises that stop at the island, but I would not recommend this if you are serious about visiting Easter Island. It is a place that requires lingering and calmness of spirit in order to absorb as much as possible. Do not make the mistake of thinking that since it’s a small island, you can see it in a matter of days. Take at least a week.
When I was getting a lift to the airport at the end of my stay (after seriously contemplating cancelling my flight as my friend had done), I shed a single tear in silence, and my driver asked me how I had liked my trip.
I answered her in Spanish that I was leaving my heart on the island.
Then, in a moment of clarity, she said the one thing that could make my sadness feel better.
“Bueno, así será más fácil para regresar”
Like that, it will be easier to return.