If there had been one, I would have won the award for the most insect bites on our trip to Cuba. It’s an award I am familar with from a variety of other life experiences. This time, I won because of my scarcity mentality: the belief that I need to save things “for later” for a time when I might need them “more.”
Our trip to Cuba included several days of kayaking and a little snorkeling in additon to the “people to people” touring (which was also great, don’t get me wrong). The tour company sent us a long packing list, which included bug spray. I brought a “natural” bug cream we got in Puerto Vallarta last winter and two DEET towellettes that were leftover from some other trip. The day we kayaked in the mangroves of the Zapata National Park wetlands, we were to told to bring bug spray. Of course, I thought, I might need those DEET towellettes “later” and I only brought my natural bug cream onto the kayak. The mosquitoes were tiny, fierces and plentifal when were kayaking through the narrow channels among the mangroves. I had a long sleeved shirt on, with a hood, but legs were ripe for the biting, exposed in the kayak. I rubbed on the bug cream with vigor, but alas, that night, discovered I had more bites than I thought possible. And more than anyone else on the trip.
When has it ever worked to save someting for later, when you might need it more? Why do I keep thinking it will work? Perhaps a lesson of several days of painfully itching legs with disgusting oozing bites might help me to realize that the time is now — if you brought your DEET towellette, use it for Godsakes when someone says to bring bug spray on a paddle through a mangrove swamp. If you end up needing it again later in the trip, you will get bit then, saving you days of suffering. Trust me on this.