As I type this, I am freshly home from our first-ever cruise and my second and Daniel’s first visit to the gorgeous blue-green waters of the Caribbean. I am happy. I am content. I am de-stressed. I am tired. And I am feeling renewed and so happy to be sitting on my couch.
The down-time was so needed. In this day and age of super-connectivity it was such a relief to be completely and utterly removed from social media, email, smart phone use, and Internet browsing just for the heck of it. My phone was not only off, it was in two pieces. On purpose. I removed the battery for fear of international billing rates.
I was reminded on this trip how important it is to pack just enough. Things I didn’t need but thought I would: extra tank tops (none allowed in the dining rooms or cafeterias on board the ship), walkie talkies (we ended up doing everything together anyway, but if we hadn’t, they would have proved invaluable), and the travel pillows meant to wrap around your neck (they weren’t as comfy as I thought.) Things I should have packed more of but didn’t: extra t-shirts, underwear (we got rained on A LOT during our trip during hurricane season, so this got changed out a bunch), and a journal to keep track of the trip experiences as they happened. Things I brought just enough of: sundresses for dinner in the formal dining room, an umbrella (came in handy in Key West), workout clothing (yes, I’m that hardcore I actually used the on-board gym), and shoes. Ladies, it is actually possible to get by with 1 pair of dressy peep-toe strappy sandals, 2 pair black flip-flops (1 to wear while the other dries), running shoes, 1 pair of flats, 1 pair of leather sandals and a spare pair of colorful flip-flops. That’s all ya need!
We took a bunch of pictures, but we also just let ourselves enjoy the experiences without documenting them to the nth degree. I had to let go of guilt, as well, when we didn’t make use of every moment available to be on the various islands we visited. Our goal was to relax. If at any time we were exhausted, we rested, even if that meant “missing out” on an activity on board or additional time on the island. Honestly, one of my favorite “activities” was simply sitting on chair the seventh deck, by all the life boats, staring out at the ever-changing sea. Whether in sunshine, sunset, dusk, late night, or in the middle of a storm, it was all incredible to absorb. Particularly exhilarating was the time we sat outside during a storm and saw distant lighting all over the sea. It was like watching nature’s version of the 4th of July fireworks.
We stayed in a richer-than-our-blood hotel (a well worth-it splurge!) the day before our cruise, almost got run over by crazy Miami drivers, enjoyed the islands of the Bahamas and Key West, Florida; laughed so hard we cried from the comedy routine of a comedian on board the ship, sailed and snorkeled in a reef off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas; got sunburned, got stung by jelly fish in CocoCay, Bahamas; walked through hundreds of butterflies and ate Key Lime pie in Key West, and nearly went crazy in our lay-over hotel in the Miami Airport on the way home (24 hours in a nearly window-less white-walled room. Yikes!)
And it was all wonderful. Well, okay, except the jelly fish part. That stung like the dickens.
But other than that? All good. And now I’m home, with two more days to my weekend remaining (thank goodness for Labor Day!) and I couldn’t be happier to sit on this couch and veg and brainstorm for adventures to come.