Come Sail away…to then return

©LuzJennifer Martinez

It might sound crazy because traveling is all the rage as of late, but I’ve never been an avid, enthusiastic traveler.

I’ve always seen travel as nothing more than an inconvenience due to the unanticipated stress it can cause when the main goal of it is to get away from stress and everything else in your everyday life that you need a break from.

But alas, guess who found herself extending her work trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last month to visit Miami on her own for two days?

Hi, my name is LuzJennifer and I like to push myself out of my comfort zone. Sometimes.

The main reason I did it? I was already in Florida for work to begin with, so why wouldn’t I extend the trip and TRY to have some fun?

I’m surprised to say that it wasn’t too bad. But I’m not compelled to become a globetrotter quite yet.

Of the many takeaways that I had during this trip, I would say the biggest is that travel is as good as the moments that you treasure during the trip, not the entire trip itself. And if you travel to escape to a perfect life, you will be disappointed.

No matter where you go and what you do, you are still you and all the worries and problems and insecurities you have at home will come with you. The key is see your trip as a collection of moments instead of as a whole experience, or else you’ll be compelled to brand it a bad one should a few things go not according to plan.

I sailed away in the hopes of at least getting to the beach for some sunshine, sand, and water (which is not possible on the East coast at this time due to gruff man winter). When the trip was over, I was content because I met that one goal, despite:

  • almost having to rebook my return flight due to inclimate weather
  • nearly losing my driver’s license at Miami International Airport
  • standing in line for the security check with a multitude of people all around me, like a smushed sardine in the tighest of cans
  • listening to my fellow passengers hack and cough at the gate while we waited to board the plane back home (yum, free COVID anyone?)
  • crash landing into the ground when we touched down on the East coast due to the landing gear coming down at the extremely last minute
  • waiting 45 minutes in a hot, crowded airport for my checked bag to come through the carousel with low blood sugar from lack of proper food (an in-flight biscuit and a can of ginger ale will not cut it, come on now)
  • waiting 30 minutes for the shuttle bus to take me to the train station to get me home
  • inching through horrendous traffic on the shuttle bus for another 45 minutes, with equally horrendous body aches from carrying some of my heavy baggage on my shoulders (the bus was full to the brim and there was no place to put the bags down for a while)
  • trying to stay awake during the hour-long train ride home

It took four and a half hours for me to finally open my front door from the time my plane landed, only to find that my cat had jumped through my living room ceiling tiles and trapped himself in the bathroom with the door closed. Based on the evidence left over in the bathtub, he may have been trapped for at least two-three days (sigh. poor kitty).

With everything that transpired during my return trip, was it all worth it to have just three and a half glorious hours of lazy bliss on the beach?

Yes (except for kitty getting trapped. That’s just messed up).

Why?

Despite those unpleasant challenges, there were other pleasant ones aside from the beach trip.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the large buttered, salted hot pretzel I devoured once I was at the train station the day of my return.
  • The morning I left Miami, I sat at a lovely outdoor cafe that was next door to my Airbnb with a hot vanilla latte and guava-filled croissants while writing in my journal.
  • And I got to try new restaurants and eat whatever and however I wanted to during the trip (some were good and some not so much).

It took me about 20 minutes to get to North Beach by Lyft from my Airbnb. It was around 1pm and when I got there, I was ready to just sit back and do absolutely nothing. And it was quite awesome.

I couldn’t stop walking along the water’s edge, the 75-degree water submerging my bare feet and lapping against my calves. There were a few rough waves that crashed against my thighs but they made me laugh as if I were being splashed with water by someone else.

When I wasn’t walking, I stood still, staring at the horizon. I was free to stare without feeling like anybody was staring at me and judging me for just staring at nothing. My eyes were submerged in the turquoise blue of the water, and I stood there, letting it take over. For the first time on the trip, I was fully relaxed.

Travel, like life, is made up of good and bad moments that give you pleasure and experience. There’s no way I would not celebrate that, no matter what.

And the best part? I had a story to tell you and was able to share it with my loved ones once I returned (ad nauseam, since that was all I could talk about for a week and a half).

So it wasn’t so bad. I survived the trip and wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to having any others in the near future. A travel aficionado in the making? We shall see.

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