We say it every time we travel.
We can totally make this dish at home!
We can decorate our backyard like this!
We need to remember to carve out time like this for each other at home!
And then we go home. We fall back into the same routine, get hit with the same everyday stress, figure out that finding fresh octopus and passion fruit for ceviche and tropical drinks is not a practical option from our local Publix. Life continues as we left off, and our vacation memories are put on a shelf.
As we shared our last lunch of our vacation to Tulum, Mexico, we acknowledged that fact.
Okay, so there’s no way we will be able to recreate this at home.
But then we acknowledge that that’s okay. That’s the reason why vacations exist. To get away from your everyday life, to appreciate a different place and culture, to bridge the gap between the foreign and familiar.
Still my husband threw out lofty ideas.
We can get a place down here! We could come down a few months a year and rent it out the rest of the time! It would be amazing!!
I love my husband and his big ideas. I love his grandeur and his spontaneous, contagious excitement. But I am the practical one. The one who keeps us down to earth. The yin to his yang. Sure, internally I’m a dreamer. But in reality, I am a humble creature who enjoys the safety of her comfort zone. I love small snippets of adventure, but I love the joy of coming home even more.
So I let him dream out loud, listening to his outlandish thoughts while I quietly smile and stare out at the ocean, knowing that tonight we will be home and the dreams will be hung back up, put away with the suitcases, maybe to be revisited later when they are one day repacked.
I’m not saying that you can’t have dreams, people. How unmotivating is that? I’m just saying when you get to a place in your life, when you are a family with kids and a home and pets and school and sports and all that circles around that lifestyle, you can’t just hit pause. Of course, I guess you could. But there will be some obvious obstacles and daunting tasks to get to that pause.
I think one of the best things about our trip down here were the people. Most notable, the people at our resort. Sure, we are paying customers; we are expected to be treated well I guess. But these people went above and beyond. They treated us like friends, almost like family. It made all the difference.
One of our friends was a bartender named Eduardo. We spent lots of time at the bar (it was a beach vacation with no kids, so of course), and got to know him pretty well. He is ten years younger than me. Single, a charming guy with big dreams. He wants to run his own beach bar one day. He also wants to travel.
Do it now! I tell him.
Before life gets serious. Ties you down. But be smart about it. Jason interjects with sound business advice. Make smart decisions. Save some money first. Don’t burn any bridges along the way.
I love how life is a series of decisions, sometimes circumstantial, sometimes intentional. There will be paths to take and paths to leave untraveled. Some paths are attempted but blocked along the way, and occasionally we are able to traverse them later. We can even revisit a path; we can stumble upon paths we thought were lost forever, only to find them wide open and ready for another chance. I love looking at my life right now, appreciating it for what it is, and admiring the tangled mess of roads that got me here.
Eduardo has many more miles to travel. I remember that me, ten years ago, fresh off of the I do’s and ready for this next chapter. Then like the blink of an eye, here it is. My husband, my precious two children, our sweet stinky dog, our dream home, our friends and family. A decade behind me, a new chapter before me.
I smile as I listen to Eduardo talk about his dreams. I smile because I know he will be okay, whatever path he ends up going down. When he gets there he will realize it, too. But it is a long journey. And there will be more roads ahead.
So who knows…maybe one day I’ll be writing from our thatch-hut villa on the Mexican coast, chopping up fresh fruit and grilling our catch of the day. Maybe one day we will be able to visit our friend Eduardo for some fish tacos at his new restaurant. Or maybe we won’t have the luxury of ever returning to this magical place, and fond memories will be all that we have.
Whatever the future holds, our path has been enlightened, thanks to this amazing trip. There are new avenues and ideas to explore. We have intersected and merged with others along their paths and been fortunate enough to join them for a few steps of their journey.
Traveling gives you the gift of experience, of a broader world-view, of lasting memories. You are a better person for it. Even if it’s not a vacation, there is always something to gain. It may terrify you, sadden you, or exhaust you, but travel will always impact you in some way. It will lead you to a richer, fuller life. You may end up feeling smaller out in this big world, but you will appreciate bigger.
Well, time to fly. Literally, I’m about to get back on the airplane to head home. And as always, I’m a jumbled mess of mixed emotions.
Oh, the fearful anticipation. Oh, the knowing that I will have to look those demons of fear in the face in a few short moments. Oh, the fact that the gift of travel is not without it’s moments of discomfort. Oh, the idea that in order to live our fullest lives we must also embrace the risks.
But oh, the living I have done.
And then there’s the dream. The dream that is about to come true, God-willing. Bigger than the dreams of travel and grandeur and possibility. Bigger than anything I could’ve ever dreamed up myself.
The dream that awaits at home.
Okay, so maybe minus the laundry. Laundry is never a part of anyone’s dream.
But I’ll still take it.