Grounded at home, wanderlust photographer and Teva Explorer Tara Rock has a new appreciation for the great outdoors of her own backyard and community. Words and Photos by Tara Rock.
Wow you guys. Just wow. Did you ever think this would happen in our lifetime? A virus sweeping across the world, taking people’s lives, destroying economies, shutting down everyday life, and keeping us apart? Many of us live such comfortable, privileged lives that it’s kinda been a slap in the face, hasn’t it?
What a great opportunity to learn, reflect, and grow.
Tara wears the Original Universal Upcycle made out of remnant fabric from seasons past.
We’ve been taking precautions and mandates seriously because I think it’s important to support your community even if that means staying at home and doing nothing. I haven’t socialized or had real-life face time with anyone else but my immediate family for almost two weeks. Thank God for technology and social media, right? Our house has also evolved into a jungle gym, work out studio, lei-making station, meditation space, sewing center, and everything in-between.
Tara and Otis get fresh air on a bike ride through their rural neighborhood on the Big Island of Hawaii while practicing social distancing.
At times, I feel frustrated. When we go on our daily bike ride (our “outdoor/exercise” time) and get a small glimpse of what the outside world is doing, it can be discouraging. Why are people still gathering, shaking hands, and hanging out? We can be saving lives just by staying put. It seems so simple but so hard for some people to do.
We live less than two minutes from our local surf break, and even though we would usually stop, jump in the water or play in the sand, we turn around and bike straight home. Some people don’t have the same idea. The other day we biked down to find a very crowded parking lot and a packed beach. But I don’t want to sit on my “greater good” high horse or get upset anymore. I just hope people will realize their impact and spend more time at home, even if they aren’t already.
Tara wears the Original Universal Upcycle, featuring mix-and-match style strap patterns.
I’ve had to get creative with our days, especially with an energetic toddler in the house. Most days, he tears it apart and I feel productive when I clean it all up after he goes to bed. I’ve been wanting to feel more connected to the outside, so even though it was raining, I picked ti leaves [a tropical palm-like plant with long, slender leaves] and flowers from our yard and made a lei. It felt good to get creative and use my hands (other than typing on a computer or my phone). And since we aren’t going down to the beach anymore I’ve been filling up the kiddie pool and letting Otis go “swimming.” It’s actually not that bad and kind of cathartic to sit in a body of water, even if it’s just a kiddie pool in our backyard.
“I’ve been wanting to feel more connected to the outside, so even though it was raining, I picked ti leaves [a tropical palm-like plant with long, slender leaves] and flowers from our yard and made a lei.”
Spending so much time indoors has made me realize humans are truly meant to be outside and with each other. I think that’s what the spirit of Teva is. It’s not only about the outdoors, but it’s also human too. Right?
I think this weird time could also be a huge blessing. Personally, I don’t need to be getting on a plane any time soon. (I’ve surprised myself by thinking that. I always get a little island fever after a few weeks at home). But for some reason I’ve embraced this season of uncertainty. I think the heaviness of this pandemic—the death tolls, being inside so much, changing our daily lives as we know it, the uncertainty of when it will all end—has leveled my expectations of travel.
Traveling feels like the ultimate luxury and it has made me rethink how I move and experience the world. This is a great opportunity to understand where I am from (I live on the same island where I grew up) and embrace my community. I want to help and contribute more than ever.
“Since we aren’t going down to the beach anymore I’ve been filling up the kiddie pool and letting Otis go ‘swimming.’”
There’s so much in my own backyard to discover (Not literally though. The kiddie pool is gonna get old real quick and I wanna go surfing again). But maybe we can all appreciate more time spent at home, in our backyards, and with our loved ones if that means we’re doing our small part to help our community and environment. I mean, we are really doing something when we do nothing! Can you imagine how much we have been reducing our carbon emissions over the last few weeks?
There are amazing ways you can support your community other than staying home. I started sewing face masks for our local hospital (in the event that they run out of supplies) and delivering care packages to elderly and other at-risk people through a local general store. These are just a few examples of projects I’m part of—simply by reaching out to people in my community. I encourage you to use social media to get in touch with your community and find ways to use your time and energy for good while you are spending more time indoors—instead of letting your brain turn to mush and your body morphs into a slug. Because that was starting to happen to me. Anybody else? No? Just me?
These times of uncertainty have taught me to slow down and live in the moment. I am not in control and the best way I can cope with it is to contribute to the community any way that I can. It’s the only thing I can do to feel like I’m learning and growing. Sometimes I think the hardest thing to do is let go and just be. This is something I have been practicing before COVID-19, exercising more than ever during, and will continue to practice after this is behind us.
My New Year’s resolution was to “be the buddha” and I have been embracing this idea so tightly right now. I don’t know, it might change tomorrow and I might have a nervous breakdown. I’m taking it one day at a time.