I’ve loved every trip I’ve ever taken…even road-trips one town over…but most times I don’t have the desire to go back to the same spot twice. I’m always anxious to see new places. But something grabbed hold of us when we visited Vieques in March, and we weren’t quite ready to let it go. It felt almost like unfinished business. So Mr. SP and I decided to forgo our annual kid-free trip this year, in favor of returning to the rustic little island in Puerto Rico, as a family.
In all the years of traveling with Mr. Sugarplum, most of our trips
have been between four and seven nights. When we travel to Europe, we do
stay a little longer, just to make it worth the travel time, distance
and expense. But since this trip required four tickets, we booked the absolute cheapest days…which meant we’d be gone 11 days!
I was a little concerned if it would be too long…Vieques and our rental house is pretty far off the grid…no air-conditioning, no fast food, no street lights, no television. There are only two gas stations, and they run out regularly. There are a handful of tiny groceries, and the main source of fresh food is a weekly farmer’s market.
But it was absolute heaven on earth! Most vacations, by the time you start to relax and unwind, it’s almost time to head home. But with this many days, the laid-back pace became a way of life. We all easily adapted to the simple ways and fewer options. I learned a few things on this trip and thought it’d be fun to share them in lieu of my typical Trip Report. Don’t worry, it’s mostly shallow and trivial little nuggets. #whatelse
* I’m fine going 10 days without makeup, a hair dryer, curling or flat iron. In fact, I loved it. As long as I was wearing a hat and/or sunglasses. And avoided looking in the mirror.
* However, it’s not advised I go 10 days without tweezers. A fact I wasn’t aware of until we got home, due to that whole no-mirror policy.
* I can go 10 days with no TV, cable or movies, but I can only go 2
hours days without checking InstaGram. Max.
* Renting a house on vacation is kind of like being at home…you’re still doing laundry, washing dishes and feeding little people. Except your attitude about it is better.
* As much as I love fashion, it was so freeing to only have a handful of swimsuits and a couple of coverups to choose from each day. And you saw how I made one dress work for the rest of the time.
* And speaking of swimsuits, after about the 5th day, I stopped caring if my bathing suit top and bottom coordinated. As long as my lady bits were
mostly covered, all was good.
* There is nothing better than a tattered paperback, a hammock, and a cool trade wind. Well, maybe throw in a cold beer or glass of wine.
* I can also live without air-conditioning, as long as said trade winds are blowing. Once you’ve given up fashion and presentable hairdos, humidity doesn’t seem to hold the same negative power.
* I read several books, and really loved Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants.‘ I’m convinced she and I should be best friends. It was also a relief to know I’m still capable of reading books not sold exclusively in the smut department.
* As addicted to the Keurig and Nespresso machines as we’ve become, there was something meditative about the process of making french press coffee each morning. However, it’s not recommended that I drink more than 1 cup of the delectable Puerto Rican French Press coffee.
* My patience-level with the kids is directly related to the length of my to do list. The fewer things on my plate, the more patience I have with them. Also, when they have my undivided attention for a span of time, they are more likely to enjoy time alone, as well. #profound
* For me to actually do nothing, I have to remove all opportunities to do something. #busybody
* I will never again question Pamela Anderson’s acting abilities, because running with style and grace in to the ocean takes real skill. I never managed to do it without tripping and face-planting once the water was more than ankle-deep.
* Mr. SP will talk to anyone. For an extended period of time. I don’t know if it’s because he’s truly interested in others, or if he was just desperate for conversation with someone other than us.
* Puerto Ricans are the kindest, most universally-attractive people of any we’ve encountered on our travels.
* I’m not bothered by large cockroaches. As long as they are dead and laying feet-up.
* Nail polish can fade and bleach out. By the end of our trip, my pink nails looked like I’d added a top coat of Liquid Paper.
* To live a minimalistic, simple life on a rustic, rough-around-the-edges, Caribbean island, you still need a big pot of money.
* Ripe plantains grilled in butter are life-changing. And people are super-impressed when you serve them.
* If losing your top every time you body surf were an Olympic sport, I’d have the gold medal wrapped up.
* When I get to heaven, after rejoicing with Jesus and all the loved ones that arrived before me, I’m going to ask God why he created no-see-ums. And mosquitoes. And why they loved my son so much.
* Okay, so 10 days with no TV was a bit of an exaggeration. #Impronetoit Mr. SP and I caved on day 8 and huddled around the laptop after the kids went to bed, and marathon-watched The Killing on Netflix. Wowza, that’s a good show!
* My daughter is growing into one of the bravest people I know. And
that makes me so proud and excited for where that will take her, and
also scares the crap out of me.
* I had some kind of
preconceived notion that once our son turned 13, he’d turn into a surly,
disinterested teen overnight. Now I know I underestimated him. He is
thoughtful, engaged, and grateful. He also has a seriously nice head of
* I have such a profound sense of gratitude for this life and family I’ve been gifted, and feel absolute contentment and happiness to be right where I am, with these precious people.
Okay, so I got a little sappy at the end of the list…but that’s what 11-days of unplugging will do for you. I’m working on keeping some of those lessons with me now that we’re back, and creating a less hectic life for us year-round, not just on vacation. Did you have any epiphanies…real or trivial..about yourself or your family this Summer? Do you think you could leave civilization behind for 11 days?
For more details and travel tips for traveling to Vieques and Puerto Rico, check out these posts: