Traveling with friends can be done in any stage in life.
You can’t go on a Road Trip with just anyone. I won’t need to convince you of this if you have ever tried to go on one with the wrong person. The person who doesn’t listen to the same music as you, believes that there is an actual prize for arriving at the destination in the shortest amount of time possible and won’t stop along the way, and who hasn’t mastered the right balance of chatting and silence.
So, when my friend of over 15 years asked if I would be game to take a short road trip back to Tucson to visit our Alma Mater and some of our favorite people this past weekend, I knew I could say yes without too much thought. We sang along to the same cheesy pop songs, stopped at least every two hours because we both have extremely small bladders, picked our favorite places to have an amazing meal along the way, and caught up on all the talking and sharing that is hard to find time for in the busyness of everyday life.
Nikkie is my partner. We have gone from teammates in college traveling to track meets, to young women traveling the country exploring new cities together, to the type of lifelong friends who promise to do annual girls trips in an exotic beach location with a never ending supply of unmbrella’d drinks. She’s actually managed to keep this promise multiple times, even with four kids and a hubby at home!
Obviously I love to travel, explore, and go places both near and far. I have been so grateful to do the handful of trips I have with her because they always deepen our friendship and strengthen our bond. In a few months she is moving to Africa for 3 years and so somehow I need to figure out how to make a journey out there so we can continue our shenanigans on a different continent.
Do you have a friend you love to travel with and matches up with you in all the right ways?
Everyone has their ideal recipe for the perfect vacation. Think of it like chocolate chip cookies if you will. Chocolate chip cookies are good no matter what. And you will eat them simply for the fact that there is sugar and chocolate and tasty carbs involved. But there is THE cookie. The one made up with just the right ratio of chocolate chips and walnuts, that is gooey in the center but crisp at the edges, and that somehow has half the calories as any other chocolate chip cookie in the world so therefore you can eat twice as many of them and not feel guilty. This, my friends, is the ideal recipe.
I think of my vacations like that as well. Sure, there are times when there is a lot to do, and I find myself with an itinerary jam packed with all the things I must see and have to experience. Those are great trips as well because they allow you to expand your mind and learn about all there is in the world we don’t know much about. But many times I need a vacation to push the reset button, and to simply allow myself to just be. I do this by eating anything my heart desires, having cocktails at any time because it truly is 5o’clock somewhere, and giving myself the opportunity to rest and relax without the itching notion that there should be something else I need to do and see. Personally, I prefer this last part to be done in front of an ocean where I can catch as many sunsets as possible.
During my recent vacation to Mexico, I hit the reset button with fervor. Here is a little glimpse into my perfect recipe..
If you don’t like Mexican food, we probably can’t be friends. I have lived in Southern California my whole life and so my palette has been rewarded with some very decent mexican food and I am grateful for it. But in Mexico, you obviously step it up a notch. With my group of friends, food is important. First air, then food.
Mimosas for breakfast. Margaritas for lunch. Cervesa with tacos. A wine tour in the Guadaloupe Valley courtesy of Valley Girl Baja Wine Tours. My liver is probably glad I am home, but hey, that is what vacation is for!
I was lulled to bed by the sound of crashing waves and woken up to the same beautiful sound. Every morning I would make my coffee and then just sit on the deck and have my quiet time, and every evening I would make my cocktail and sit in the hot tub to watch the sunset. Most of our time here was spent with nothing really scheduled to do, and that was absolutely perfect. Watching the ocean is doing enough in my book.
When you experience how good a vacation like this can be for your soul, the important thing to do is figure out when you’re going to do it next. My friends and I have committed to once a year. It’s going to be difficult. People are going to think they’re too busy. Schedules aren’t going to line up. But when we make it happen, it will be worth it.
For years we talked about doing a trip together. And for years that is all that came out of it…a lot of talk. I have had the same group of amazing friends for over 20 years and we have stayed close and have continued to see our friendship grow and blossom as we navigate different stages of life and become the people we never even dreamed about when we were simply a group of high school kids that found each other and decided to call ourselves BFF’s.
But now that it actually is going to be Best Friends FOREVER, carving out quality friend time isn’t as easy as it was when you are in high school and college and your friend time is generously handed to you. People have really busy lives. They have families. They have careers. And not just any career, my friends happen to have top of the industry, globe-trotting, world-changing careers. So much so that when calendars get pulled out to try and see when it might be possible for 8 different people to have time to all come together and just be, it seemed easier to try and invite the president on this vacation.
But we made it happen. We invited husbands that our now forever part of our squad whether they like it or not, rented a beautiful house in Mexico right on the beach, and packed our bags to start off the New Year together and officially put the fun in dysFUNctional in a way only we can accomplish. And all I can tell you is that it was SOOOO worth it.
I know a lot of people in this stage of life have so many legitimate reasons why a vacation like this sounds nearly impossible. But I just want to encourage you that it can work. It can work with kids.. and layoffs.. and breakups.. and different personalities.. and drama.. and crazy work schedules.. and a vegetarian, gluten-free friend who does all the grocery shopping for your trip.
It will be full of laughter, and eating amazing food til you want to explode, and people not following the itinerary and it not being the end of the world, and ocean breezes during a beautiful sunset, and conversations about how life is really going, and fighting during game night, and learning how to say “cheers” in four different languages, and planning to work out more than you actually do, and letting your guard down in a way you can only do around family, and priceless memories you will cherish forever.
All of this is possible. I just experienced it.