9 February - Parasailing Home

I had never stayed at an all-inclusive resort nor had any burning curiosity of experiencing its benefits. But I now understand why we would -- and why many others do -- return. My husband and I were fortunate to take this annual holiday with five other couples, our dearest friends. We were even more fortunate that one of them is the director of marketing for a major travel company. When we arrived at the Excellence Resort, we were greeted with citrus-scented washcloths to freshen our hands, as well as a lovely glass of champagne. The grounds were gorgeous, canopied beds on our own private beach, waitresses offering appetizers and refreshments at the pool, the amenities (workout facility, track, 10 different bars, theater, nightclub, classes, etc.) and activities were extremely enjoyable. The food offered at the seven restaurants was excellent – Spice (hibachi/sushi), Toscana (Italian), Chez Isabelle (French), Barcelona (Mediterranean) among others. I always wanted to learn Spanish, so I took advantage of the classes and met with an instructor for a private Spanish class at the outdoor bar one evening. Some of us spent a day shopping at Playa del Carmen, where I was able to enjoy sipping the natural juices from a coconut. We then ended the week jetskiing, snorkeling and parasailing.

My husband and I had experienced something similar to parasailing in a previous life, which pre-empted any potential jitters. A thoughtful friend had surprised us with a parapenting excursion while honeymooning in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. This is where one is tied tandem to an instructor, he proceeds to run down the side of the mountain and a heat thermal lifts him high into the air. Now that I think back, it was a pretty crazy experience. (I took this photo of hubbo while parapenting across the sky from him.)

ParaSAILING is a bit different. For those of you afraid of heights, this just might be your medicine. The ride is very peaceful, several hundred feet in the air. The process is quite simple and relaxed. The guides fit you with a harness, which looks like a very large child’s swing. You and your partner are then hooked to a line at the back of the boat. They judge your weight, adjust and balance the harness with your partner. Before you know it, you float backwards up into the air and enjoy the view. It is simply floating – no speed, no turbulence, just sitting in air...admiring the gorgeous varying grades of blue water. After accomplishing my “new things” for this week, I realized something else. Yes, the thrill of new experiences awakens the human spirit. But more importantly, immersing myself in the company around me creates the balance and calm that I need to cultivate the seeker within me. How lucky was I to have been sharing something so peaceful with the most admirable and humble man I know? And to look down below to feel the comfort of friends who are “home”. I think it would be somewhat discouraging to travel to a wonderful destination and feel any stress of having to entertain and manage expectations or feelings. That is the beauty of this core group. We never have to worry because each is considerate enough to put the next one first. We can go off and do our own thing. No one takes offense; no one feels obligated -- we all realize and respect this is our individual holiday as well. Each evening, we met up at 7:30 to catch cocktails and dined wherever the vibe took us. There was the perfect amount of alone time, couple time, group time and girl/guy time. Enough relax-on-beds-at-the-beach time, and excursion time. Though we are all at similar places in our lives, this is not to say we are homogenous, just...”home.” Each brings his or her own unique persona which is well-needed in keeping the balance. We joke about personal issues; share our current state of life and its problems; philosophize how to "get there"; and the concern for our aging parents. We share in each other’s sorrows and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Without a doubt, each would give the shirt off his or her back. We recognize how lucky we are with whatever we have been given because happiness is a choice, no matter what the circumstances. But we also listen and carry each other through that which might be troubling us. We are cognizant of the gratitude in finding one another as well as our partners. We are silly and mellow. Deep conversationalists, yet up for a shot of Zarletti's Limoncello moonshine. Anytime.

And if we did get silly and might have reverted back to our college days, I am quite certain Mexico echoes the same school of thought as Las Vegas: Whatever happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.