The new website is up and running and we’re back!
This blog post will actually be consisting of two separate posts; Part 1 being about my first travel experience and Part 2 being about my younger brother Kanoa’s.
I believe many people wish to travel, to see the world, and experience new things. After all, its why we’re in business. However, not all travelers are looking for the same type of experience. My brother, Kanoa, and I are a very good example of this. Our “future travel plans” was a popular childhood discussion and it was never a question of if we would travel it was simply a matter of where and when. What we dreamed of as kids was very very different. Kanoa wanted to go to Asia to see the mountains, the forests, the foods, different cultures, and explore out of the way places that couldn’t be found anywhere else. I wanted to go to Europe to see the museums, architecture, and more established cities. Each time the subject came up, we would each question each other’s line of reasoning. To him, I could google pictures and save the airfare and to me he could do the same and be safer.
Our thoughts on travel haven’t really seemed to change much over the years, although we both quickly realized when we were older that our dreams had been bigger then our wallets. Although both of us still have a checklist of more exotic (and expensive) places we wish to travel, our first adventures have remained a bit tamer and closer to home. My brother went on a group tour of South America when he was 18 with G Adventures (formerly Gap). It was a real walking in the jungle and jumping off of cliffs into hot springs kind of deal and he loved it! He didn’t know anyone and had never been to any of the countries he visited. I didn’t try vacationing without my family until I was 21. I went on a cruise with my boyfriend, James, that traveled to Mexico and Central America. Very different, albeit pleasant, experiences overall.
Travel to Me
I’ve always liked the idea of visiting different places and exploring the world. The idea. When I actually start to think about cost, packing, airline travel, and being alone in a strange country trying to find my way to places I’ve never been I become rather anxious. This didn’t stop me from wanting to see the world by any means, but was I ever going to hop on a plane and go backpack around Europe? Certainly not. I eventually decided that in order for me to travel I would have to:
bring a friend
ease myself into it
go to safer destinations
LARGE group with amenities
Cruising: Eat, Drink, Be Merry
In my opinion, cruising is a great way to ease yourself into travel. You don’t have to budget much for food or hotels, the ship has shops in case you forget something small like aspirin or a bathing suit, and physical activity is extremely optional. You get on the boat, get off the boat at each stop, and when its time to leave you just have to make sure you’re on the boat again. Even group tours are reassuring if it is something booked with the cruise company, as the boat will not leave without them. For a nervous first time traveler this was perfect.
Caribbean and Mexico cruises leave from a port near our city so it was only a drive away. We were both fairly nervous. I may never have traveled without my family but James had never even left his home state during a time he could remember! He was mostly worried about seasickness. While we stood in an insanely long line to board the ship (though for the record it was the fastest moving line I had ever been in with security at the end), James and I chatted while I constantly checked my backpack. My passport was inside and I felt as though I had to continually keep an eye on it so that it didn’t somehow magically disappear and reappear back on my desk at home. Our tickets, too, were a source of worry for me and I must have asked James at least twice if he still had them. (I don’t trust any important documentation not to disappear when I need it.) I wouldn’t be at ease until we had checked in properly and were officially on the boat.
Once on board, we quickly found cruising to be a relaxing experience for the both of us. The staff was kind and there were massive arrays of free food open almost all the time, a large pool, workout area, stage shows, and comfy living quarters. You could have honestly just stayed on the boat and enjoy the amenities and fresh open air. However, we had come to explore. The ports were packed with shops and restaurants in what you may describe as a “typical tourist destination”. Many of the shop keepers spoke English and most of the shops sold mementos for those visiting the country. There was even a demonstration of Danza de los Voladores, a ceremony were a group of men swing by their feet on top of a very high pole, being performed. We were always provided with a map of everything in the area before we stepped off the boat so I didn’t have to worry as much about getting lost or missing anything I may want to see. We stuck to the ports for the most part, which still made for a long and interesting day.
We did book one tour of Mayan ruins in Belize. We actually got to walk through the site while the tour guide explained what each building was likely for and what sort of ceremonies took place. Although it was a great experience, I don’t think we would have gone if we had known about the 6 hour bus trip back and forth. Word to the wise; Mayan ruins tours in Belize almost always mean a lengthy bus ride since the ports are located so far away from the actual ruins.
This was, all in all, a great experience. My anxieties about traveling were lessened and I got to spend a week relaxing and seeing new places. I am a pretty structured person and I like to know what is coming. Few surprises. If this describes you then maybe cruising or a resort destination may be the ideal for you. It is safe, inclusive, mostly structured and relaxing! Maybe we will do 2 weeks next time!!
Keep an eye out for the details on my Brother’s adventures down in the jungles!