As I sit on the plane awaiting takeoff for my first vacation in nine years, I can’t help but question why I don’t travel more often. Everyone needs to hit the refresh button from time to time. Now that I work in the hospitality Industry, vacations should be a requirement at least once a year. If not for not but to explore, size up the competition and decompress from everyday stresses.
The word vacation was not woven heavily into to my vernacular growing up. It was instilled in us, intentionally or not, that you work, vacations aren’t truly necessary and are a luxury. My parents are hard working people, and vacations were not a priority. I think that stems from my parent’s upbringings, family priorities and not spending money on trips when they had a business to run and a family to support. Before opening the family restaurant, my father worked two to three jobs to put food on the table. Exploring things like skiing, camping, or weekend getaways were just not done in my house. Their priority was making sure they provided for us.
We did take a handful of family trips that I recall. When I was around four or five years old my family, all six of us, drove up the coast to San Francisco in my parents big, brown Cadillac. I don’t recall much. I do remember sitting on the backseat armrest because I was the smallest and youngest of the four. It was my seat. Perched up there I was the queen of the cadi. I also remember hearing Richard Harris singing Macarthur’s Park over and over again. Believe it or not, the original Dumbledore from Harry Potter could sing. Years later my father won a significant amount of money on a slot machine in Vegas, so we traveled to Italy to visit family. I met, what felt like, hundreds of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Our first dinner was unlike anything I experienced. Course after course and each one more delicious than the last. My fondest memory was meeting my Zio (Uncle) Mauro, my father’s older brother. The resemblance was uncanny except my father has much more hair. The only English words he knew were “okay, all right.” Such a sweet man with a vicious cheek pinch. R.I.P. Zio Mauro. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet him.
I do recall my parents taking a trip to Italy for a cousin’s wedding and my brother and father traveling there to celebrate the Feast of St. George –– an annual extravaganza in my father’s hometown of Cicerale equipped with a parade, all day/night celebration, music, and fireworks. My parents also did take occasional trips to Vegas and one or two weekends to San Diego. At that time, I believed San Diego was a place where people vacationed and no one lived there. Ironically I live there now. I also recall going to Vegas for my sister’s 21st birthday. I was too young to enjoy it. I do recall doing some major damage at Circus Circus however. Good times.
I travel for vacations and long weekends a bit more than the rest of my immediate family. I’ve been to Europe multiple times, Mexico, Canada, and around the U.S. There is still so much I want to see. I’m no jet-setter by any means, but I do see the value in taking vacations or mini breaks from time to time. My brother travels for work, and he seems to enjoy exploring other cities and sharing his finds from his travels. One of my sisters travels from time to time with her hubby and my other sister has but not as frequent.
But I regress. As the flight attendant goes through the safety measures, I am back in the moment. I get situated in my aisle seat, my fellow row mates and I say a quick introduction, and my vacation relaxation begins to sink in. I follow the rules (turning off my electronic devices, make sure my “comfy” seat is upright, and my tray table is up) because I’m a good girl. Just after the pilot says prepare for takeoff, call it what you will, growing up Catholic, I always say a quick “Our Father” and a little prayer that the flight and landing are safe and without complications. It’s a habit and I don’t care who knows it. Does anyone else have a pre-flying ritual? Mine starts a few days before the flight. I lay out my wardrobe a couple of days in advance – always more clothes than I need. Because, well, I’m a girl, and that is what we do. I clean my house the day before I go anywhere. I arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before my flight. Sometimes earlier depending on the state of our TSA folks. Load up the iPad with books or a movie. Or I may even bring a book with me. You know — those bounded paper things with words printed on it, in case you were wondering.
My trip was to Cabo and it was incredible. I stayed at my company’s property there (Sirena del Mar). It was set up to be a girls trip and ended up being just two of us. It didn’t matter to us. We both jumped at the chance to have a fun getaway. Plus my friend is a hoot and such a dear, dear friend. The staff was friendly and excellent. They immediately became extended family. I arrived first. I walked into the room to find a nice bottle of Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon sitting on the dining room table and a view of the ocean. The view and the welcome were overwhelming. The trip was already off to a good start. The sound of the waves crashing on the rocks immediately put me at ease. I was mesmerized by the colorful rice design of the arch with a welcome home message laid out on the master bed. Such a lovely touch. I immediately knew this was the vacation I needed. I also met some wonderful guests at the resort who, knowing I was an employee, kept the shop talk to a minimum which I appreciated.
We did venture out to the downtown area but stayed mainly close to the resort. Thanks to getting too much sun, we couldn’t explore as much as we had hoped. I underestimated just how strong the sun was down there. I thought my Italian skin could take it. Not so much. And by the way those spray on lotions, I won’t say which one, don’t work. I know better for next time. We had all we needed right there. The infinity pool with a swim-up bar, boot camp on the beach, snorkeling, outdoor spa, great restaurant, impromptu magic shows and great conversation. Cabbing anywhere will cost you about $18 and be careful of that first step; it’s a doozie (inside joke).
This vacation was a great way to refresh, reinvigorate and recharge. As I lounged on the deck reading my book (the bounded paper thingy), I began planning my trip back there next year. I originally had hoped I would have a special someone to share it with, but it wasn’t in the cards. Such is life. I am so very grateful my friend could join me because she is what you find in the dictionary when you look up the word “friend.” I’m also thankful to have such amazing friends in my life who want to travel and explore new places.
At an early age, the concept of vacationing was not something I thought people often did. I have learned over the years that big or small, a weekend getaway, a two or two plus week vacation or staycation are good for the soul. Take it from someone who sees travel as a luxury, traveling is worth every second and even if you don’t have that special someone to share it with, do it anyway!