Love, Wind and Misadventures in Vice City

The only thing that came to mind about Miami before I got here was the life of Tommy Vercetti — a fictional character whose thug life was romanticized back when my brother and I would play Grand Theft Auto Vice City. The pastel colored buildings recognizable from the 70’s, the Latin music bumping from car radios, and that gorgeous blue water — all of those images were as vivid as clear day.

Leaving the airport, I could feel the humid heat thick in the air that made my forehead sweat beneath my hat. It caused my skin to glow, which often made me a target for conversation. “¿De dónde eres?” “Soy de California, ¿y usted?” “¿Que te trae a Miami? … ¿En qué trabajas?” Putting myself in a position where I preferred to speak Spanish helped me gain karma points from the local cab drivers who all seemed to be from Cuba or Venezuela. Small talk came relatively easy, but it’s a learned skill as I often prefer to travel alone.

I came to Miami to chase the wind and sun, spend time with good people, and focus on my truth and artistic self-discovery in hopes of a second rendezvous with my special love interest.

James and I met on the beach on a beautiful island earlier in the year, and we were connected through a girlfriend who works in his industry. We were both traveling, and oddly enough after literally writing down all the qualities I was looking for in a partner, it’s like the universe brought us together as he plopped on over from the north shore as the sun rose one jet-lagged morning. We hit it off on a fairly steady note — beginning a romance with high amounts of flirting in and out of the water, laughter, dancing; which all eventually evolved into exchanged gifts, and the occasional check-in that perpetuates the initial stages of an unforeseen long-distance connection.

First few hours and nights in Miami, and I was surely in for a thrilling adventure.

I drop off my luggage in my room, build my board, and head out. My cab driver asks to join me. I told him I’ll be busy kiteboarding, but if he’s not working then sure he can go; why not? The sun is for everyone ⏤ the beach is for those who deserve it.

The wind is strong, 22 kts according to Mike’s shop I called whose report was from South Beach. I kite for 3 hours on my 7, and getting off the water left me feeling like I had all the air knocked out of me. It was as if I had lost all sensation in my body. Kiting for me was not about living for the past nor the future, but living in that very moment of concentrated intention. The only time that really matters is now ⏤ and when you keep your focus solely on the present you learn how to follow what makes you feel the most alive. A few locals nicknamed me “Pineapple” for wearing my yellow spring suit, or perhaps because I embody the spirit of aloha.

I head back to my room at Roam. I was feeling gutsy enough and I call my island boo for the first time. He is miraculously also in Florida but for work (aka professional kitesurfer). There’s something liberating about focusing on yourself and your path so much to the point that it begins to create space for the right person to align with where you are. We laughed about being in the same time zone again after both traveling Southeast Asia. “What are your plans tomorrow?” he asked. “I just got here. I’ll see what happens.”

15:14: Hey so the wind died here. I’m gonna drive out to meet ya, but it’s gonna have to be short and sweet since I gotta be in Tampa tomorrow morning. Should be in Miami by 7. My heart skipped a beat as I read that text.

I was dazzled by the lights as the sun was setting that day. It was the time the sky started turning purplish pink and the water still shined a bright cyan. James calls, “Hey, I’m walking up from the beach side on 25th. Where are you? I think I see you, wave your hand.” I immediately see him as I look over on the right, and got up to walk in his direction. That feeling of slowly walking towards one another felt like we were being drawn closer to each other by some magnetic pull. We were both smiling with unwavering eye contact ⏤ a fatal attraction of that dark brown meeting azure piercing one in. When we finally embraced, we had that real, long passionate kiss. It was that intense kind of kiss that made me think, “Damn, where have you been all my life?” Being wrapped up in each other felt like home, and it was an incredible reunion that made time and space completely nonexistent. Our connection was effusive ⏤ our eyes, lips and hearts locked in that same rhythm. Note to self: remember this moment. The most surreal ones are often the most ephemeral. We both wished we had more time.

Area 31.
“Are you tripping on acid?” A young man asked. “Not sure what drugs you’re on but I want to be on your level.” “I’m actually not on any drugs,” I reply. “I’m just dancing.” I tell him I have a boyfriend. His friends meet my friends. They are all New York bankers, go figure. There was a point my wing-woman and I were too inebriated but we all somehow managed to go to E11even, a night club that blurs the line between night and strip. Now I’ve been to several strip clubs in LA and Vegas (don’t ask why), but Miami raises the bar probably about 17 new levels. The fact that there was hired staff to keep the bills off the stages ⏤ and I mean they had to constantly sweep with a broom because these girls were working ⏤ was just mind blowing. I don’t remember leaving the club, but these bankers had a private driver who brought us to our next destination. We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time with that special invitation shortly awaiting. As we entered the property, I remember there was a rustic coy fish pond with a hundred fish, all bobbing around as they lit up the walkway that fell in between. It was at that exact moment I sort of tripped out and realized we were at a mansion. Alex, Ester and I end up throwing a wild pool party at the young man’s mansion on sunset island. He was a kind gentleman, and him and his friends opened up their place to a bunch of strangers and genuinely wanted us to make ourselves at home.

Trying to rewind the night in the morning all I could think about was James, and how waking up only made me care about being closer to him. The life of a nomad can be conducive to lacking that normalcy most people crave in relationships. Meeting someone while traveling just means you have to keep traveling to see them. To build memories and trust through the distance takes a lot of communication; a level of chemistry that surpasses physical attraction, utmost relatability, and a major willingness to be flexible. At this point, the ball is in James’ court as to whether or not he wants me to help build and create his fortress; that’s if he ever decides to slow down.

The mind will believe anything you tell it, so feed it faith. Feed it truth. And arm yourself with the best self-love. Because in this journey called life, we just have to keep going.

The beauty and delicacy of the human condition is that we are all flawed ⏤ and when you meet this person who shakes you to your elemental core and turns your entire world upside down, perhaps you begin to get a taste of what kind of life they previously had before you met them. We learn to be discerning of the priorities we reshuffle; how it’s not our task to make someone’s priority ours, or make our own options someone’s priority. It’s about finding all the barriers we’ve built within ourselves that are against finding our own personal fulfillment ⏤ and how we learn to understand the fragility of our connections that may or may not be permanent. The mind will believe anything you tell it, so feed it faith. Feed it truth. And arm yourself with the best self-love. Because in this journey called life, we just have to keep going.

Make this life a wonderful adventure.

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