Monday, June 6, 2016

Our Mexican Holiday

"Vacations are more than vacations, and that island is more than an island.  Vacations are the act of grabbing minutes and hours and days with both hands, stealing against the inevitably of time."

-Shauna Niequist

If I could use a quote to sum up our short week away to the Mexican Riviera last week, it would be this one.  I love traveling and feel this big sense of exhilaration with the thought of how vast our world is and how it all just sits there in its glory, waiting to be explored.  I get a rush exploring new places, the hidden jems in our own backyard and faraway places that make you feel as though you've entered a different time, a different culture, a different world.  Beau and I differ a little in our ideal vacation.  I crave new experiences, new places, and a little bit of hustle and bustle, while Beau's idea of a vacation is no agenda, good food, and a drink in his hand, preferably from an all-inclusive resort.  This was one of the many reasons I had been dragging my feet for months every time Beau attempted to talk me into Mexico.  While a week away to paradise never sounds like a bad idea, all those excuses we get so good at justifying rolled off the tongue every time he brought it up.  The let's-save-the-money, who-will-take-our-kids, it's-not-the-best-time, maybe-we-should-wait-until excuses rolled off my tongue every time until finally one night I gave into his demands.  And three weeks later, we arrived to this. 

What a hard sell it was. :)

There's never a good time to travel when you have kids, jobs, and lives that are full of demands and schedules.  But I'm slowly learning that anytime is a good time to throw out what's expected and get your hair wet a little.  In the aquamarine saltwater in the Gulf of Mexico or by a swim-up bar, preferably.  I want to look back on our family and remember all the little moments of holding our babies, adventuring with them at home, and all the joys and stresses of those toddler years, but I also want to look back and see all the times we invested in our marriage, too.  Whether that's date nights, cribbage games and glasses of wine after the kids go to bed, and little trips away to both new and familiar places that allow us to recharge and reconnect.  Those are investments we'll never regret.  Thankfully, our parents shared our kids for a few days, giving us the chance to get away, and giving me the reassurance that they would be well-loved while we were gone. 

While I'm typically one to crave new places, the familiarity of revisiting El Dorado Royale in the Riviera Maya, the resort we honeymooned at nine years ago, proved to be just what we needed this week.  There was a comfort in knowing what to expect, especially when it involved this gorgeous property tucked away in a Mayan jungle off the gorgeous blue Gulf coast.  I would recommend this resort to anyone looking for impeccable service, mouth-watering food, and complete and utter relaxation.  Every detail is impeccable and gorgeous.  From the lush green foilage and coconut trees, the bright blue pools and ocean waters, the brown bamboo and palapa huts, and the crisp white linens that line the signature cabana beds, everything is a picture here.  The staff make you feel like you are royalty, the dining options are diverse and seriously delicious, and comfort and care exist in every pocket of this place.  Everything was familiar to us this time around, the smells of the room, the hammocks on the patio, the room service menu, and even some of the menu items at our favorite restaurants, bringing an added sense of comfort to our week.  We said it would be fun to return to our very first taste of all-inclusive living to see if it still matched up to our expectations and by the end of the week, we both felt it only surpassed them.

Gosh it was good to get away.  We were the best version of a couple there, all week, relaxed and connected and without agenda or a schedule.  We shut off our data on our phones as soon as we boarded our flight to Cancun and had no Facebook, no email, and no blog.  Just books, each other, and a lot of trips to the swim-up bar for mango margaritas and mudslides.  We had conversations that unfolded lazily over long five-course dinners and small plates of tuna tartare, fresh ceviche, truffle oil mac and cheese, and shared bites and stories that made us laugh.  We got up early for sunrises on the beach, took afternoon naps in our poolside cabana, ordered room service on our patio before getting ready for dinner, and stopped for martinis before bed.    


Favorite moments included our dinner at D'talia, that truffle bisque that was so good we both licked the bowl, our favorite waiter, Leonardo, and the flaming chocolate cake we had for dessert.  Our early morning walk on the beach, picking coral for the kids and finding an intact clam shell that now sits on a shelf in our bathroomOur day on the beach, finding ourselves in the middle of the ocean surrounded by a school of Nemos that swam against our legs waiting for our leftover bread from lunch.  Our two and a half hour dinner at Santa Fe Grille, multiple courses served family style and yet another sweet and wonderful waiter who brought us tequila for dessert.  And our last night, swooning over every one of the five courses cooked in front of us at Fuentes for their live culinary theatre.  The foodies loved this one. 


Vacations are more than vacations and time is precious.  I don't want to wait until the right time, when the kids are the right age, or our savings' account is where we want it to be, or when my body is ready for that bikini again, when I could be singing to Piano Man on the pier under a sea of stars, standing in the ocean surrounded by fish, or drinking out of a coconut with my love.  Amen!


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