Tag: travel without kids

View From My Top Bunk of A DC Hostel

Adventures & Travel Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

View From My Top Bunk of A DC Hostel

Just over two months ago, I made my way to Washington, D.C. on a train alone.

It always amazes me how life throws you bones. I won passes to a yoga conference in Arlington and I truly don’t even recall entering the raffle. The email appeared on an August day and it was just what I needed once October rolled around.

This fall proved to be one that I bumped up against my edges more times than I felt comfortable with. With two major transitions for my children (to Kindergarten and Preschool) coupled with Sean adding a part-time writing job that involved deadlines to his already full-time workload, I felt crumbly and crackly. Too many transitions for just a few short weeks. But we made it through!

Here’s what I can remember from my adventure…

When I’m out of the house and out of my norm (In this season of my life, I spend most of my time taking care of little children at home and working at home), I marvel at how many people I share this world with. SERIOUSLY how MANY people. I feel like I’m seeing with new eyes when I’m out and alone. A major reframe.

How have I missed all of this activity?

Observing people in motion, in a hurry, in a flurry…on their way.

I remember vividly feeling this way once I started working in the city again after my maternity leave – as if I’d been in the slow lane and somehow was propelled on a highway but I was in a wagon.

Where’s everybody going? I thought.

I live in a bubble of simplicity and all I long for is simplicity yet I don’t even realize that’s my life until I step into the complex web that is the world.

Here’s a note I wrote to sean from the trip:

Dear Sean,
I’m terribly sorry for being so selfish & so dramatic.
I really miss you guys. It’s excruciating to be away & has been all day but I’m sure this is healthy for all of us. I love you!

 

After my SEPTA/Amtrak adventure, I arrived in Washington’s Union Station and hopped the D.C. city bus to Adams Morgan. My dad never drove when we were kids, so it usually feels most natural to hop on a crowded city bus and settle in for the ride. I always think of it as the best tour in a new city – the windows are so BIG on the bus!

I was super nerdy and excited as I entered the High Road hostel with my yoga mat. Everyone was so youthful and hipster. I didn’t care how much I didn’t fit in! I checked in and headed out for dinner and beer with my journal and I adored every second. I love dining out alone and I always thought that was the best part of work travel.

I came back to the hostel to snuggle up alone on my top bunk, read and write. It was 8pm on a bustling street in Adams Morgan and I had a feeling I’d need my earplugs.

High Road Hostel

I was the first one asleep and the first one to leave my 6 person dorm at 6am the next day. I walked to a breakfast spot and jumped over trash and rats from the partying that ended just a few hours prior. I squealed and gagged. It was disgusting. I started to miss home and thought of my treasured early morning ritual in my little piece of the planet.

After coffee and a breakfast I’d rather forget, I checked in with my people who were getting ready to hit the soccer fields for the Saturday morning games. Ping…awww man. I missed them.

Hopped my ride to Arlington where I spent the day with yogis in a university setting and also had my photos taken! Part of the winning the trip was winning a yoga photo shoot! It was too much fun.

All photos from here down are by Mina Habibi.

Willing myself NOT to tip over for this photo!

I remember a loving-kindness focused class that had me in tears as we circled with our hands resting in the center of the next person’s back.

I remember a class on Spiritual Activism that challenged the way equality is defined and measured. I remember being encouraged to think about who we are vs. who we think we are.

I remember having oh so much fun with the amazing photographer Mina!

Corinne, this one’s for you!

But most importantly, I remember the clarity I got just by being away from my normal life for 24 hours.

: )

I spent three uninterrupted hours quietly making my way back to Philadelphia. Thinking about my time away and listening to two of my favorite podcasts. The first one was this one. And the second one was this one.

That second one really made me remember what I was thinking about the night prior – how much  privilege I have had my entire life. Stories like these make me motivated to keep going and when I think it’s too much, to simply remember all of the resources that I have access to, to use them and be grateful for them, but to also be the resource for someone else.

Everything that had worn me down in the weeks leading up to the trip still remained once I’d returned home, but everything inside of me had shifted.

Natural Lip Balm

 

 

Mexico = Vacation

Adventures & Travel Inspiration Self-care

Mexico = Vacation

“Willing to relocate,” was a phrase I put at the bottom of my resume in English class when I was 16. My mom and sister thought it was hilarious, but I was not joking. I’ve always been a wanderer, and if it’s not in the physical sense, it’s through hearing other people’s stories of their travels, books and dreams. Sean, my partner in this life, has the same desire to wander, it’s something that we share and talk about often. We enjoy taking adventures together, just the two of us, and it has been a while.

Riviera Maya Resort
Walking to dinner!!!

I never imagined we’d be ready to go anywhere without the kids until we were finally ready. Three nights in Mexico (!!) alone! It was a bit surreal, so so fun and everything I’d dreamed it would be.

I wouldn’t say we traveled often before kids, but for a while we took some pretty great trips during our dating years and early marriage. I’d studied in Italy and Sean was later stationed in Italy and Germany with the Air Force so we got to spend some time abroad together. Then in the 6 months before I was pregnant with Brady, we got to travel to St. John for my best friend’s wedding and then we did a 2 week journey from London to Rome.

Then we had kids. : )

Riviera Maya Resort
Grand Princess Sunset Resort

I’m an advocate of traveling with kids if that’s what you want to do. And it has been what we have chosen some of the time. We’ve ventured to Portland, Oregon, the Jersey Shore, Charleston and the Hudson Valley. Nothing too wild, but just enough for us to satisfy our cravings to discover new land, food and people.

We both love to travel and really enjoy it together so to be able to take a mini adventure with just each other was a huge gift (thank you to Sean’s parents and my mom).

I truly enjoy travel research and poking around to find a location and a place to sleep that is unique and fits our tastes. I like to build trips for our family.  So when we decided that we may be ready to spend 3 nights away without the kids (I originally proposed 2 nights and Sean countered with, “If we say three you have a deal.”) I got to work searching any and all direct “islandy” flights from Philadelphia. Our tropical destination awaits!

But then reality set in and the prices of airfare were nowhere near in our price range. I searched and searched and used all my travel notes and favorite resources to no avail. I concluded the search and told Sean, “If we’re meant to go, the right trip will find us.”

Grand Sunset Princess Resort Beach Mexico
The beach!!!

I kid you not, that evening we were watching something on TV and a commercial for Apple Vacations came on. I don’t remember the specifics, but the ad was something about $550 per person for 3 or 4 nights in Cancun including airfare, lodging, food, airport transfers and taxes. We paused the TV and were like, “Huh? How can this be real???” Well, I opened up the vacation search again and after some quick emails with Apple Vacations we were booked and going to Riviera Maya for 3 night getaway!!!!

Our contact at Apple was amazing, the process was ridiculously easy, the price was great and the trip was outstanding.

We flew Frontier (no complaints, actually really enjoyed it because the plane was new and the crew was super friendly), we stayed at the Grand Princess Sunset Resort in Riviera Maya. It was picture perfect. I honestly didn’t expect to be wowed because of the price, but we totally were. The grounds were gorgeous, the rooms were clean and pleasant and the staff was great. For an all-inclusive, the food was good, never great, but that is what I expected.

If you are considering this resort, here are my notes. If not, skip this paragraph.

  • If you go with kids, there is a kid building with pool and cute little kid lounge chairs. They have push cars to borrow and other fun things. Kids are welcome everywhere but this area really caters to families. We checked it out for future reference. We also talked to families and they all loved it.
  • The Platinum rooms are closest to the beach and are an upgrade that we wanted but were not available. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s even necessary because our room category (Junior Suite Deluxe) was perfect as it included the extra restaurants.
  • There is a shuttle that takes you to Playa Del Carmen daily for $4 per person each way.
  • One night a week they bring in local merchants and have a market in the hotel square. It was so cool.
  • Don’t go to the steakhouse. We enjoyed the Mexican Restaurant and La Fleur.
  • They stock your fridge daily with plenty of bottled water (and beer).
  • At the pool bar, try the Alexander if you like Baileys, try the Mango Tango if you like rum.
  • Dance at the nightclub.

The first two days were rainy and it was still a party. We went swimming in the rain, drank at the pool bar (excellent people watching) and went dancing at the resort night club. The energy at the resort was awesome and everyone was so excited to be on vacation.

Nearly everything went right for us on the trip and it was so fun to just sit and talk with my best friend for hours uninterrupted.

Grand Sunset Princess Resort Mexico

Top photo credit: Pineapple Supply Co.