Salt Life

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” 
―    Pico Iyer

A few months ago, a close girlfriend of mine suggested we go visit her “happy place.” A place where the sun shines, the temps are warm and drinks are cold – Puerta Vallerta, Mexico.  I can’t say no to any of those things and a trip was much needed, so I happily agreed to be her travel partner in crime for the trip. 

Now, on day seven and a few short hours before we have to head to the airport, I sit next to the pool and drink my coffee. I can hear the waves of the ocean, the overly worked motors on the cars driving up these hills and the beauty of David Nail’s voice on my iPod (new CD of his rocks by the way). The sunshine peeks through the morning haze and the air feels cool against my bikini clad, seriously tanned skin. Heaven… I hope we didn’t let a moment pass us by where we took any of this for granted.

I was proud of only opening my work emails several times while I was here. I enjoyed turning things off and totally being in the moment I was in at that exact time.  I could hear everything clearer, I felt more connected to the people, I experienced everything deeper.  I engaged with the local people, tried out my rusty Spanish and navigated the world of pesos ($1,000 pesos – I’m rich!!!).  I had time at night to look at the stars, breathe in the salt air, and appreciate every breath.  

Totally disconnecting is always hard, because there are people you want to share the moments with at the end of each day.  The people you wish were oceanside with you, learning to body surf and buying candy from the vendor on the beach.  Technology allows us to keep connected to share the sunset, show off our tans and wish loved ones happy birthday and let them know we are thinking of them, although thousands of miles away. The nice thing is that we can turn it on and off when we need to. I can escape to the beach, alone with my thoughts and no distractions.  If I didn’t get to that email, it could wait. The world didn’t end without me being connected to it – which was refreshing and scary at the same time.

Vacation feels all too sweet and I want it to last forever. However, I know that wouldn’t feel as good. It feels amazing that I work hard all year to reward myself with a journey somewhere beautiful. Knowing that I can spend pesos on margaritas, crafts from the locals and authentic Mexican food is a good feeling. I appreciate the powerful beauty of the ocean, as that is something i don’t see in Cleveland. Being immersed in a culture where i don’t speak the language fluently or understand fully, makes me feel like a curious little kid again, full of questions and wonder.  Spending money on travel has made me richer, and is an investment I will continue to make throughout my life for sure.

Coming home puts everything in perspective. It helps me understand why there is a need to get away, but why I need to come  back. It helps me understand why I work so hard, why it’s important to live and love and appreciate the people that want you there.

I couldn’t have asked for a better week spent with a truly wonderful friend.  I am a lucky woman in this life, and this week was a great reminder of that.

Tanned up and digitally yours!

-Kelly

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