my family and i just came home from a much needed vacation / suspension of reality / run away. while i am a self proclaimed comfort traveler, ironically when i do travel, it gives me ample time to think about everything that i’ve left behind. this trip was no different, and while there are many thoughts on cruises, food, middle america, this blog will focus on the things i’ve learned about traveling from my parents.
1. MIGHT AS WELL
on the last vacation we took, i was telling my parents how awesome it was to travel with them because they paid for everything and i didn’t have to constantly budget. in response, my dad said, “I don’t vacation on a budget.” WOW. must be nice. but then i thought about it. the “might as well” idea goes beyond money, its a mentality. its about feeling limitless. its about doing the things you couldn’t do at home, and feeling empowered to do it now.
traveling is about experiencing life in a new place. each place we choose to travel is vibrant, moving, exploring unleashed – so might as well right? might as well order the lobster. might as well press the gas on the jet ski. might as well be open to new things. this might as well mentality has opened doors, adventures, and has created the most random moments on my vacations.
my favorite might as well moment on this vacation? playing with fionna, the dolphin 🙂
2. DO NOT be afraid of AUTHENTICITY
this one is hard. my parents love everything “authentic” .. from traveling to eating out, they hardly ever indulge in touristy things but venture out into local life and search for authentic food, art, and people. i remember one time in nassau, bahamas they wanted authentic food & so the taxi driver dropped us off in a local outdoor food court. when we walked in, 3 asians deep, everything in the restaurant stopped and they slowly, cautiously, all turned to look at us. i looked at my parents and said, “are we staying?” and my dad, with every bit of confidence, looked up and asked for a table for 3. it was the best food we ate in the bahamas.
i realized on this trip, that my adventurous spirit comes from my parents. they have taught me to explore, to be unafraid of asking questions, and to search for new stories. i also realized, that after the kidnapping, fear has dominated that spirit. on this trip, we booked tickets through a local to ride jetskis in a nearby beach. as we rode the rickety truck, i could see the fear and uncertainty lining my families faces. i felt the same anxiety, but at that moment i decided to not let my fear win. i decided that terrorism, past pains, and haipe would not take the power from that day just because i was going into uncharted territory.
in the end, although it was a stressful day – something greater was accomplished. we pushed through the fear and took one step towards the freedom that is our foundation.
3. DO NOT go to HARRIS RANCH & order a SALAD
don’t you hate it when you go on vacation and your homie wants to go to mcdonalds? or fridays? or starbucks? this tip can be highly connected to the first two, but plain and simple – do your research and eat & see what the place you’re visiting is known for. my dad is notorious for asking the waiter whats the specialty and trying whatever is given to him. try it. & remember, “its not right or wrong – it’s just different!”
i’m a-type so i like to plan my vacations to the t .. i’ll do the research and make my excel spreadsheets ..but, surprisingly enough, not because i’m a control freak. its because i dont want to miss anything. i dont want tickets to get sold out. i dont want to not try that one restaurant i MUST try. so i put in my work….and not to be mention, it builds great anticipation for ultimate food domination.
4. BE NICE & talk to those who SERVE YOU
this should be an overall life practice. the people in this world who have been chosen to make life easier for you are people too. it’s not uncommon for my parents to start a conversation with a server and end the conversation in tears and encouragement. my parents are adamant about learning people’s stories, families, and life lessons that are hidden in their smiles & ability to remember our irritatingly detailed orders. so take the time to really ask how they’re doing, where they’re from, what they recommend & earn some serious karma points.
on this trip, this tip not only pushed me to be more friendly, but it has given me stories of what the cruise life is like (drama and passenger stories included ha), stories from home – being that most of the crew was from the Philippines, and many many connections i did not expect. talking to those who helped us, gave us insight on what to order, extra helpings of lobster & drinks (nom nom nom), good music (yee!), and new friends who looked out for us through the trip… thank you ❤
5. THE TIME IS NOW.
the closer. as i write this from our small 3 bedroom house (with 6 people living in it). i am thankful my parents prioritized traveling/experience over material stability. maybe we dont have a huge house or nice cars, but i can not put a price on memories of mayan ruins with my family, my dad taking me on a chocolate train tour in switzerland, my moms fear of the eiffel tour, or beaches and massages in boracay.
honestly, traveling with my dad in a wheelchair was hard. it was a reality check of his health and also a realization that there is a timeline. that maybe today is the day to start crossing things off that life to do list.. not tomorrow.. not when life is “stable”..but now. many people tell me they will wait until they retire .. or wait until they buy that new car ..but what if that day never comes? the world is waiting for you .. dont sleep on it.
i guess in the end, your definition of success & true living will determine how you’ll prioritize your life. for my family it is clear. education, family time, and enjoying life … three simple lessons i’ve learned and will definitely be passing on.