There’s an image in the photo album on my phone that I find myself coming back to often. I took it from a white sand beach on an island in Kuna Yala, Panama. The diminutive isle is so small I’m not even sure it has a name. Maybe it doesn’t need one. It’s ringed by coral reef on three sides and, on the other, the sand stretches out about 30 yards into relatively shallow water until it drops off to over 100 feet and then more.

With anchors set from the bow and stern, Yahtzee gently bobbed and swayed in the wind just offshore. Watching Jill, Porter and Magnus swim in the gin clear water, I snapped a series of pictures of them playing and laughing while forming a floating star. A month later, this is the one I keep returning to. I love it because the moment brought a smile to my face then —and it still does every time I look at it.

Though every day and every place isn’t flawless, this was one of those that made us repeatedly say, “Wow, look at where we are. Look at this place!” Signs of the real world were here too, though. All types of plastic, from empty water bottles to wayward flip flops, littered the little island’s high tide line, which was, and always is, unfortunate to see. But it’s also a reminder that nothing is perfect, even in this incredible nook of the planet where warm breezes blow, fish swim in impossibly clear water, and locals ply the waters in dugout canoes.

And when we sailed away from this slice of paradise the following morning, it was with a sense of fulfillment that the simple times like these will shine brightest in our memories.

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