A couple of weeks before my recent vacation to Mexico, I grew anxious. Not about crime, the effect of travel on my MS or about my travel partners, but from the guilt of taking a trip itself. This was the worst kind of remorse: mother’s guilt, wife guilt, etc. Guilt because my husband was working away while I am trouncing off to Mexico, guilt because my daughter has had a challenging pregnancy and I was worried that the baby was going to come early and my daughter needed her mommy. Guilt because my sister was watching the dog and was on house duty which meant she was tied down to staying home. Guilty because I was worried my MS wouldn’t handle the heat well and I’d have to spend the whole time in bed. In the back of my head, I knew something was going to come up and I would need to cancel my trip or somehow I would ruin the trip for everyone – after all, I am needed at home and I have MS so the bad stuff is bound to happen. But, thankfully nothing got in the way of our trip!
I packed and unpacked a hundred times for 5 days in Mexico and 3 days in Colorado, which by the way have very different climates in October. As take off approached, my husband told me to go on my trip and not worry about anything at all, just to be in the moment and to treasure the new memories I would make with my friends (he’s probably ready for some new “material” when I am telling him old memories). He told me that I deserved this and he was proud of me for going on this trip. I don’t think I ever tell him how much impact his words have on me and what a difference his words can make to both my attitude and my outlook. I am so lucky to have his support and love. My kids were the same, they told me that I need to do this trip, to enjoy and to soak up every minute. And because of these amazing people, when I got back, I had no regrets, not even one. None, zipolla, nodda, none. In fact, we were already planning #girlstrip2019 before we completed #girlstrip2018, my family may have created a monster lol! But Yay for Girl Power! Watch out Nashville!
Like I said, I’ve never gone on a girls only trip, but I love these gals so I was confident that we were going to make memories that will last a lifetime, and I was right! We started the trip off a couple of days early as we were all travelling from Denver but nobody actually lives there anymore, so as we slowly started to filter in to Colorado the excitement started to build (I wanted to see my step mom who still lives down there so it was a good excuse to start our trip early don’t you think? That and a 5 am flight out of Denver. Off we go! None of us had travelled a significant distance with our tribe before and especially not to Mexico so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. I’m going to say that I was pleasantly surprised from the very beginning of our trip.
To start with, the airport in Cancun has had a major overhaul and is absolutely beautiful! They have a great area for Q & A and the staff were super helpful getting us to our shuttle showing us how to avoid the scammers! In our cozy little shuttle was another couple heading to the same resort (C & C) and we hit it off right away. They were celebrating their 5th anniversary and we were celebrating 40+ years of friendship, what’s not to be excited about?!
We arrived at the Hideaway at Royalton around noon and were ushered into a lovely separate room where all of our registration info was waiting (Thank you Apple Vacations)! We were offered a beverage and a snack and were told our rooms were ready and our luggage would be delivered immediately! It was then that I decided I could get used to this!
We got to our rooms and changed into our swimming suits, found the buffet and kicked the vacay off with a toast – a toast to us and the fun we were going to have over the next 5 days! Our room was beautiful and exactly as advertised! There was entertainment daily at all of the pools (although we stuck to our adults only pool on purpose) both day and night so if you wanted to find music to dance to or games to play, you could find it! We, however were done by 8:30 each night after all day in the sun. You know, it’s hard work relaxing! Unfortunately, the ocean was a bit dirty (I believe due to the Hurricane that hit Puerto Vallarta when we arrived) and there was a lot of seaweed but we still enjoyed the white sandy beach as often as we could – well, as long as we weren’t missing the action at the pool!
Now to the Spa! OMG, it was a dream come true! We were actually able to have the Sunday special on Friday which was an 80 minute massage + a facial. To start our experience, we were taken through their Hydropath area. Now, I have been to world class spa’s and the Hideaway at Royalton Riviera was the best spa experience I have ever had, hands down. The Hydropath was both relaxing and invigorating. After our hour there, we were shown to our treatment room. I’m telling you, the massage I had was the one of the best massages I’ve ever had + the facial was the topping on the cake! If you go to the Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun, do yourself a favour and go for a spa treatment, you won’t regret it!
Did we miss our families? Of course. We spent a ton of time talking about them and FaceTiming or Snap Chatting with the grandkids. And while I could go on and on about the new shoes I bought before we left, I won’t. What I will do is put this sweet little picture up to remind me and whomever will read this (L) that these little babies are mine and I will let you borrow them should you need a nice pair of shoes for a special night, but………you have to come to my house to get them.
After I had some time to digest my trip, I decided that it was awesome, I should share a few of the unexpected benefits I found while travelling with these beauties that I have been friends with for over 40 years.
Going on a trip with friends should not be just talked about. It should be lived and experienced – Having your friends with you make you confident that you can take on almost anything because they are your tribe and tribes stick together through thick and thin. Except for the time I had to go to the bathroom and I came back to them taking pictures of the 3 of themselves and they were hashtagging #besttriotripever, because then they are just jerks, but I still love them and will travel anywhere with them again!
I can just be myself – from learning Selfies 101, to acting up in the lobby or in the room before heading out for dinner – my friends can bring out the real and wildly inappropriate side of me sometimes. With my friends, I know I can always be me.
You can laugh at yourself or each other until you are either crying or peeing your pants – and nobody judges you, because they are doing the same thing.
It is an adventure from the moment you meet up – Our adventure didn’t begin when we got to our destination, it began when we met up 2 days early and the adventure didn’t stop until we were each on our way home to our own cozy beds! There was wicked fits of laughter, shopping, getting lost while looking for the hotel, and of course the 3 am wake up call to get to the airport on time, it’s all part of the journey.
If you have really good friends, you have a signal or sign – we have a signal for when you start to tell the same story that they have heard a thousand times before. Instead of wasting precious time on a retold story, it is stopped before it gets started and we move on to a new conversation. Get yourself a sign plus the added bonus is that people think you are a little crazy when you give the sign in a crowded room (or pool for us).
You learn from each other – Whatever our difference are, we all can learn a thing or two from each other, or sometimes it can be just a gentle reminder that falls into your lap. My friends are so different yet so alike and I learn something new every time we are together. On this particular trip, I learned that while it’s ok to want to help everyone, it’s not always possible to be all things to everyone and there is no shame in that. I was also reminded to just sit back and let the music and the commotion of my surroundings take over sometimes. There are times when you don’t have to be doing anything, but just “be….in the moment”.
You’ll be honest each other – Your friends will tell you that the white dress looks amazing but the blue and orange one make you look like Blanche from The Golden Girls so take that s&*t off.
You will learn the art of selfies – Find a selfie Queen and take her with you, we were lucky that we have the original Queen of Selfies in our tribe! – #livingyourbestlife
You have a million inside jokes – You’ve been through any hilarious moments and mishap throughout the years and most of these evolve into jokes that only you will understand…..and you will be adding new material for those jokes.
It’ll give you stories to tell….and lean on for years to come – From the goofy pictures, the inside jokes and the whole vacation experience itself. When you can laugh about each other’s crankiness for early flights, not enough room for your legs, and hair that doesn’t cooperate, then you know you can take any of these experiences and turn it into amazing memories that we can talk about forever.
You can do as little or as much together as you like – We have a napper or 2 in our group and I need down time due to my MS and I’m not afraid to disappoint them if I need a little rest. We each respect when the others need that time and we are excited when they return from their siesta!
You know you are safe because someone is always looking out for you – Enough said!
It’s never awkward – Nothing is worse than spending a long period of time with someone you don’t know well because if you are like me, i feel like I always have to be talking and doing something to occupy time. With my friends, it doesn’t matter. We could be having a conversation one minute then just hanging out in silence the next (let’s be real, there isn’t a lot of silence, but if there WAS, it wouldn’t be awkward).
They can help you do things you can’t – If, like me, you have some physical challenges, then having your friends around to carry your bags can come in handy lol. Just kidding, but hey, I can not change a tire and there are days when, if I didn’t have my phone on me I wouldn’t know my own phone number let alone anyone else’s but I can keep sh&^ organized and can take charge to get things done. Some (2) of my friends are easily distracted and their job is to order the drinks, while the other 2 of us get stuff done (like get the key to our rooms). Knowing each others strengths or weaknesses helps to take some of the stress out of travelling because we all know our job.
The bottom line is don’t be afraid to travel with your tribe! And laugh, laugh a lot – there is nothing like a good ole belly laugh to brighten even the darkest of days!
Now on to an amazing recipe. My husband said he tasted some Pickle Soup at work and was raving about how great it was so you know me, I like a challenge so I got in the kitchen to give it a try! I like pickles and I like soup, so why not? I’m happy to say that it turned out great so now you can try it too! Please note; we are eating KETO and this is NOT Keto approved however, I tried to make it as close to Keto friendly as possible. I think I succeeded fairly well (approximately 13 carbs per servings, perfect in maintenance mode.)
Creamy Pickle Soup
This tangy soup is so yummy, you will want to make it a staple in your fall soup lineup!
Recipe Adapted from: kitchme.com
- 6 cup vegetable stock, or chicken or beef stock
- 4 large dill pickles, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup pickle juice, from the pickle jar
- 2 1⁄2 cup potato, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp flour (can use Xantham Gum if wanting to stay closer to Keto)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- Fresh dill, chopped
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan or soup pot with cover, combine stock, pickles, pickle liquid & potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered, over low heat until potatoes start to get soft (about 10 minutes)
- Combine flour and cream, add to broth, bring to a boil and remove from heat
- Combine egg and butter and stir into broth
- Return pot to the stove and add sour cream heat through without boiling. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese and or dill.
Until Next Time!