I’ve heard people say that I’m well travelled. I disagree, but that’s not the point of this post at all. Or maybe it is. Hear me out. I enjoy traveling and getting to experience new cultures and new worlds. It’s just fascinating. On my last trip to Portugal, I had a fabulous time navigating the narrow cobblestone streets, but yet, I find myself thinking about the beach. I think about lounging all day, reading a book, or writing and doing absolutely nothing. Two very different prospects of travel. For the past few years, my husband and I have been doing the all-inclusive adults only chain of Sandals. It started with our honeymoon. I remember it clearly. Brad said to me, “we should come back here!”. I replied with “Here? Here as in another Sandals or here as in here, this place, this same resort.” He said, “This same resort.” I told him that there were so many other resorts to explore, so many other islands to explore, even in the Sandals chain. We could stick to the chain, I told him, but we should really try the others. That was 5 years ago.
Today I find myself waiting for a Sandals vacation. My mind will skip past fantastical vacations I’ve scheduled, waiting to return back to Sandals and back to the beach. Yet, I plan future non-beach vacations also. So many places to visit. I mean, countries. If you’ve visited parts of a country, should you return to other parts of the same country? Is that repeating? Or should I just try a different country because part of travel is about new and exciting? Is it about getting a notch on your belt?
As I get older and find myself wanting to be at the beach and as I discuss with my husband about the one Sandals resort we want to continue to keep returning to every year, I think about vacations and travel. I’ve heard people criticize me about going back to the Caribbean over and over. I’ve heard comments about why Sandals, over and over. I wonder if at 45 years, peer pressure is still getting to me or should I just do what I damn well please?
There is comfort in the familiar and yet there’s excitement in the new. I would say, familiar to me would be Sandals – a resort chain that has been tried and tested for us. Recently, we were at Puerto Vallarta at one of the Vidanta resorts – The Grand Bliss. It wasn’t all inclusive and while the resort was large and the room was fabulous, it was next to impossible to find a beach chair. Yes, we took long walks along the beach and we had a tamarindo daiquiri, which we hadn’t had at any other resort, but the resort was too large for my taste.
I return back home and get online to check the deals at a Sandals. Yet, there’s a part of me that wonders if I want to go back to a Viking river cruise. I think to myself that it was rush, rush, rush and a lot of bus travel but then again, we got to see a lot in a short time. Sure we didn’t have time to breathe or take it all in, but hey, it was a great way to get a sampling of the cities we visited. I can always argue that we love the hop on hop off bus tour in the cities we visit. Isn’t that a bus tour and isn’t that a slice of the city in a short time?
The other grand travel factor is of course the F word – finances. The places and trips that I have my eyes on, do not sit well with my wallet. So, it’s a factor of actually saving money, a little every month to be able to experience the unique, in a relaxing setting. The time factor is critical as well. I’m not retired yet. Far from it. Owning my own practice gives me the freedom to take time off as I choose, but it also limits me in that I don’t get paid when I take time off. So, there’s only so long I can be gone before the office needs me to make an income and take care of the little pesky things called bills.
I took a travel test a couple of months ago on Facebook. It recommended my top places to visit as Banff and Iceland! Maybe I won’t be walking along the beach there, but the hiking and canoeing can be quite relaxing. I remember canoeing in Alaska. We were on a small ship cruise (max 36 passengers) with Fantasy Cruises. The canoe was part of the trip and couple of days we were on the canoe and they pretty much let us canoe for as long as we wanted. So, we canoed for almost 2 hours watching the bald eagles above us. It wasn’t the beach, but it was peaceful and ultimately I think when it comes to travel, I just want my mind to clear and to connect with nature and forget the world that I’ve left behind briefly.
So, maybe it doesn’t have to always be the beach. Maybe, if finances allowed, time to rejuvenate my soul may just be my most valuable asset, wherever that might be, in whatever country that might be. It is a blessing to look at the mirror and live an honest life. A life of your choosing. Not one that is riddled by the comparisons that we frequently find ourselves fighting.
Wishing you all a well travelled and well experienced life of your dreams.
Best to you all,