Yesterday was one of those photo marathon afternoons that could have lasted until this very moment. Stories of stories followed each photo that I showed from my trip to Colombia.
Today’s story is inspired by yesterday’s photo flashback for hammocks can be found basically anywhere in Colombia. Almost every chapter of my trip includes photos of hammocks: selfies in hammocks, ocean view from a hammock, eating fruit salad in a hammock… I learned how to sleep in a hammock, get in and out of one elegantly. How many hours did I spent in Colombian hammocks? I don’t know, I never counted the hours. Time generally didn’t matter, but I knew that some time in my life with the right place and space I would install a hammock in my home as well.
For me personally the hammock is a perfect place to relax, to hang loose, to let go of things to worry about or exactly worry about them while having the hammock silently rock you to a place of total peace. Daydream in a hammock, power nap in one, read a book or listen to music – it all feels even better in a hammock than on a sofa. Maybe it’s because of the fabric, that becomes some kind of shelter, hugging you head to toe, and depending on its size and design, even covers you like a blanket.
Excursion – a little hammock history:
Any idea where and when hammocks were first found? According to my brief online research, hammocks are originally from Latin and Central America. About 1,000 years ago the Mayas supposedly were the first ones to harness a fishing net for sleeping purpose and tie it between two tree trunks high enough to protect fishermen from snakes for example. When Columbus discovered the Americas, he also discovered this thing called „hamaca“ – Spanish for hammock. And when he returned to Europe, he taught about it here as well. Later in the 16th/17th century, sailors used canvas as sleeping hammocks on boats for they were convenient and space saving. For similar reasons, hammocks were even found in prisons in the 18th/19th century, but were soon removed as prisoners learned how to use the rings to hang a hammock as weapons against the prison guards.
Today, hammocks are found all over the world, in various designs and made from various fabrics . The most common and generally recommended one is cotton.
When my trip took me to La Guajira – a peninsula in northern Colombia I learned about the Wayúu community. These indigenous people are known for their colorful hammock knitting: Wayuu hammocks are very distinct and a traditional handicraft sold all over the country. Note that to the Wayúu people knitting is much more than a cultural activity and a legacy from their ancestors. It is a way to express feelings about their life concept by means of creativity, intelligence, and wisdom. You will mostly find motifs of geometrical figures. They represent the natural elements that surround Wayúu life.
What I liked most of the Wayúu hammocks were the long side flaps that could be used as a blanket. Waking up in a Wayúu hammock one morning with the ocean just a few steps away is another very strong memory from my trip to Colombia.
When it was time for me to pack up my stuff and return to Germany buying a hammock seemed just a stupid idea. I told myself that it would take up too much space in my backpack. And where would I hang it in my apartment (at that time I was living in a shared apartment and only had a small room) anyways? So I flew back home without a hammock but with so much awwww in my heart, and this idea…someday, somewhere, I’ll have a hammock in my home.
It’s December now. The pictures from my trip on my drive and in my head and heart are as vibrant as the moments were when they were taken. Maybe even more so, because I’m typing these lines lying in my very own, very green-yellow-blue striped woven hammock, in my new home.
Brilliant ideas need to be brought to life!