I went to a beautiful island with a spoiled young woman this weekend.
We went to Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of Cancún. We were both hoping for a relaxing long weekend on a white sand beach, and we were also looking forward to spending some time meditating, practicing breath-work, and deepening our spiritual practices on the beach. (I find that when I do my spiritual practices on the beach, it deepens them - the energy of the ocean is sooooooooo powerful ).
What ended up happening was that Isla Mujeres was totally crowded with loud, sunburnt, drunk tourists. We didn't get the relaxing weekend that we wanted. Instead, we found endless beach clubs, huge yachts docked in the harbor blasting music, giant pools full of half naked people and aggressive vendors hawking all kinds of silly items that we didn't need.
My friend got upset. She yelled at a taxi driver, went to a crowded vegan restaurant where she asked for way too many substitutions, and kept asking people to do things for her in English, getting annoyed when they didn't understand. She also brought a giant suitcase full of clothes, immediately lost her giant suitcase, and had a huge freakout in front of a crowd of relaxed Mexicans.
I was disappointed too, but instead of getting upset I decided to just go with the flow. I ended up going to a beach club - I NEVER go to beach clubs! - and enjoyed a day of sipping coconuts, cooling off in the pool, and reading my book in a hammock.
I ended up meeting an amazing new friend there - we danced together, sparred and wrestled on the beach (I am obsessed
with wrestling and will wrestle anyone) and then enjoyed a delicious meal of fish tacos, which just so happened to be the BEST plate of fish tacos I've ever had in my LIFE! (and I eat a LOT of fish tacos living here in Playa)
The next day I had a whole new set of adventures - I made friends with a chicken who loved to eat tortillas, went on a snorkeling trip to an underwater museum, and saw a shark for the first time ever! Maybe I'll continue this story tomorrow, I'm getting a bit tired of writing.
The point is that this is how I travel - planning adventures, but also taking the time to go with the flow and enjoy whatever experiences come up. Always speaking the local language until the other person starts speaking English. Starting conversations with new people and asking them all about their lives. And always having an attitude of humble gratitude - I am an expat, a guest in this country, and I am SO lucky and happy to be here.
I didn't get the relaxing long sessions of meditation and deepening my spiritual practices that I wanted - but I had one of the biggest adventures I've had in years! And I learned a lot, too.
BTW my "friend" is someone who I met last week in a breath-work ceremony - I didn't know that she would be so high maintenance in such a relaxed country. I've never had a travel experience like this before, and going on trips with new friends is pretty common here in Mexico - but next time, I will vet my new travel buddies with a couple of questions to make sure that we are on the same page.
How do YOU like to travel?
Have you ever had a travel experience that didn't go as planned?
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