Monday, March 04, 2013

Much needed vacation

Eleven days ago I left Michigan during a winter weather advisory and jetted off to Florida for vacation. After spending two days there and attending a graphic design conference I went on an exciting adventure aboard the Carnival Legend cruise ship. Along the way I stopped in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan Island, and Grand Cayman Islands. After disembarking from the ship, I spent another couple days in the Tampa and Clearwater Beach area before making the trek back home to freezing Michigan. It was the perfect dream vacation. 

Many people were amazed that I took this big trip all by myself and that I wasn't afraid to travel alone to a foreign country. But I suppose when you're single and just need to unwind and get away from all the stress of life, traveling alone isn't that big of a deal. I'm glad I went alone. It gave me time to find my balance again. Sometimes (all the time?) I work too hard and over schedule my life a bit too much with school and freelancing too.

The picture below is me in a hammock on Passion Island - a private island owned by the cruise companies in Cozumel, Mexico. I had gotten a sunburn the day before onboard the ship, so I found a place in the shade to relax... after spending the day in this spot, I want a hammock in my bedroom at home! I also enjoyed the most amazing massage on the beach during this excursion. 

After returning to Cozumel from the island, I spent sometime shopping and browsing the tourist traps. Of course I had to buy some Mexican vanilla for all those who requested a bottle (that's you, Mom!). And picked up a few other souvenirs while I was there. 

The next day we made a stop in Belize and I boarded a bus at the port for a trip across the country to see the Xauntunich Myan Ruins. OMG! The ruins were pretty amazing. The picture below is from the top of the large castle at this site looking down on the lesser "homes" in the settlement. 

Even though the ruins were pretty amazing, I actually was more impressed (awed?) by the two hour bus ride that took us across the country. We ended up within 1/2 mile of the Guatemalan boarder. The tour guide on the bus talked the entire time and told us all about various cities or villages we passed through and educated us about the culture of the Belizian people. It's a very poor country and they rely heavily on tourist to boost the local economy. I was fascinated by all the little Internet Cafe`s that dotted the villages... the one pictured below is one of the fancier ones.

This was an amazing vacation. I feel rested and ready to face whatever is next on my agenda. It's also given me time to step back and remember that I have to take better care of myself and stop working so hard. Taking time to unplug and unwind is just as important as ticking all the tasks off the list. And being in the sun is making me anxious for Michigan's summer sunshine even more...

Until next time,

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