Last week I wrote about what would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary (June 9th) so this week 10 years ago I would have been on my honeymoon.
We went to Cancun, Mexico. Although things were awkward (wrote about that too), we had some good times but not what I expected for my honeymoon. I’m sure it wasn’t what he expected either.
The marriage didn’t last, but I did.
So when my friend asked me to join her on her birthday (June 10th) trip, I immediately said yes.
I didn’t care where we went. I was just ready to go. Anywhere warm. Three weeks before we left, she chose a destination- Cancun, Mexico.
I laughed thinking about how exactly 10 years ago I was in the same place under completely different circumstances.
Another case of everything coming full circle.
Ten years ago she and I knew each other, but our sons were friends and we weren’t really. We were both married then and both single (divorced) now. Our boys weren’t even teenagers then and now are grown. We are now both grandmothers to beautiful, little girls. Life has thrown us both many curve balls. We have been through and overcome a LOT. Similar life circumstances have brought us close, and we deserved our Gemini getaway (I was still celebrating my birthday too).
So this time, 10 years older and 10 years wiser, I had a new mindset. I had a new attitude, and I even learned at least 10 new lessons.
Going on the trip seemed like a no-brainer, but I had a lot of work to do and other priorities for my money. I immediately wanted to go, but I also thought of all the reasons that I shouldn’t. I chose to say yes and just go. Life is short and opportunities to get away with good friends may be few and far between. Plus, if you are smart traveler like my friend, you can find deals and make some great memories on any budget.
You can work while you play.
So I said I just went, but I still had work to do. Speeches to write, emails to respond to, and coaching clients to help. I had one laptop, and Naomi actually had two for different jobs. We are both blessed to be able to work wherever we are so on our six-day trip to Cancun, we played hard. We also got to work.
Leave the make-up behind.
I am not a big make-up girl, but every since I was a teenager I’ve suffered from acne and hid my face with make-up. Over the years, I have gotten comfortable showing my face sans make-up. This trip made it feel even better especially as I got darker and darker each day.
Put on your swimsuit.
10 years ago in Cancun, I didn’t even bring a swimsuit. I probably didn’t even own one. I had, and still have, stretch marks and cellulite and much more to hide. After my divorce, I put on a swimsuit for maybe the first time since I was a kid, and I liked myself. This trip, with my own perceived imperfections, I embraced the skin I’m in and wore a swimsuit. And I enjoyed myself in the water just like every other imperfect body at the pool and on the beach.
Get dirty and laugh about it.
Most days on the trip, we threw on swimsuits or shorts and headed out, but one day we got an offer for dinner and to hear a Mariachi band so we decided to take a little more time to look nice. Our date, one of the employees from Aquaworld, met us at the bus stop, and we headed to downtown Cancun. It started raining while we were on the bus. After we got off, it started pouring. We ducked into a church for cover for nearly and hour. When it subsided, we started our walk again headed to a restaurant only four blocks away. Sounds simple, right. Well, imagine making that walk in flood waters nearly up to our knees. Plus, there was lots of bit of debris in the water as we scooted our feet, lovely sundresses hiked up just below our butts, to get to the nice restaurant- drenched and dirty but laughing all the way. Oh, and I found the only mariachi band member who made it out that night.
Talk to strangers. Lots of them.
On one of our many adventures, we visited a separate resort for breakfast. As we talked to different people, I met a fun birthday twin who worked for the resort. We communicated the entire trip. On our flight home, I sat next to an amazing man from Switzerland on his way to Costa Rica which was one of many countries he had visited just in the past few months. We talked the entire flight. We also made friends at our hotel, in the market, and at the airport. Everywhere. Many of these interesting people are now my Facebook friends and Instagram followers, and I plan to stay connected.
Take the bus.
A shuttle got us to the hotel, but from there we walked and took the bus everywhere. It was fun doing as the locals and also meeting other tourists trying to figure it all out too. Plus, we saved a lot of Pesos by taking the bus! This experience made me open to taking the bus at home too.
Do it scared.
I can’t swim. Okay, I admit it. And I’m also afraid to go under water. But that didn’t stop me from doing the Jungle Tour or the Sub Sea Tour and even snorkeling….well, kind of. Driving the boat was exhilarating, going under water in the submarine was tough for this girl prone to motion sickness. And Super Mario held me while others snorkeled, but I was proud that I even got out there. I’m sure I didn’t look great doing it and fear was on my face, but I. Did. It.
Our captain took us fast through the water, and the wind blew through our hair. Water splashed everywhere and it felt great. But that, other than when I was driving my boat, was the only time I wanted to go fast. As my friend raced down the streets of Mexico, I reminded her to slow down and enjoy the time and place we were in. And it all reminded me that I have to do the same every single day,
Get ready for the next adventure. As we left Cancun and headed home, I was:
1. Thankful for the time and fun with my friend
2. Ready to be back alone for a while
3. Rejuvenated to work
4. Excited about the next trip
What do you do to make the most of your trips?
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.