noun imag·i·na·tion \i-ˌma-jə-ˈnā-shən\
the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
I can still smell the salt water and hear the waves crashing into one another. The dark blue water and the crystal clear sky. The warm burning sun on my skin. It all seemed like a dream or a figment of my imagination. Luckily though, these are cherished memories from my incredible Carnival Cruise. My time the cruise has now come and gone and I’ve returned to my normal routine in the states. Let me tell you, the experience was nothing short of extraordinary! It’s like a completely different world on the boat. Everyone is smiling from ear to ear, happy as can be that for four days and three nights they can escape their reality and set sail to an area to explore.
This was the first time that my love and I were able to truly get away and vacation. We’ve never been able to treat ourselves in that way so it was really a once in a lifetime experience for us. It was a new stage of our love and discovery!
The first day of the cruise was magical..and it was also a blur because I was drunk before we left the dock. But that’s not the point (haha). There’s just something about being disconnected from the rest of our worlds and preparing to see things you’ve only seen on National Geographic. I felt so alive! Being surrounded by friendly strangers, there was so much opportunity to try new things.
The food was immaculate! And did I mention that it was all FREE? Everything from burgers and fries, burritos, pizza, deli bar, and dessert, there was something for everyone. I was secretly hoping that I would put on a few pounds to keep up with all of the curvaceous woman trolloping around in their bathing suits! There was such much to experience and we hadn’t even left the ship! Once you were happy enough to leave the bar feeling a buzz, there was a casino, candy bar, night club, and water slide. Talk about an experience. And if the memories weren’t enough, there were photographers around every corner prepared to snap a photo of all of the adventures!
Our third day we arrived at Catalina Island in Avalon, California. It was such a quaint little island, full of activities and souvenirs for me to waste my hard-earned money on – trust me, every trinket was worth it. We had the opportunity to go on a submarine and get up close and personal with the wildlife below. I was literally looking directly into the souls of the little fish! Our friend, and impromptu tour guide was head over heels being able to experience the sea.
Up next: golf cart rides round the island. I was the most apprehensive about this excursion due to the simplicity and spontaneity of the activity but it turned out to be one of the most exhilarating moments of the trip! We were able to take in the sights and really take in the beauty around us. We were able to see many of the natives and observe the simplicity of their life. There was just a glow about them. Perhaps it was the pure bliss about the island that made everyone appear to be floating around us.
After the ride we just decided to take a moment and take it all in. The beauty of the island, the unique culture of the people and the incredible nature that surrounded us. It was in these quiet moments that I was the most happy – I was at peace.
And I was grateful.
Day four was Ensenada Mexico! Ariba! Ensenada wasn’t the getaway that I was expecting. You know, the white sandy beaches with palm trees waving in the wind. Instead it was rustic, raw, and unfiltered. And I couldn’t have been more amazed! The city was so incredibly different, and the people are beautiful. We walked for a mile or two to arrive at our first destination: horseback riding! Looking back, I wish I would have dressed more appropriately for the occasion. I nearly lost my earrings and my chest climbing onto the back of my chariot! I felt like a princess riding my snow white horse. Ha, no pun intended! Galloping beachside in Mexico is a memory that I’d love to experience again. I highly recommend!
Keep in mind, it was May 3rd, just two days before Cinco De Mayo so the city was alive! As we wrapped up our horseback adventure, we took a cab downtown where all of the action was. Of course the sentimental side of me just had to stop and buy some memorabilia! And the town ate it up! I was like bait to all of the store owners as they saw my eyes grow at every item they were selling. Fortunately for me, I only spent $12 on cute little hand crafted gifts. After I got my fix, we headed to the bar. Party time! To seize the moment, of course we had to start the day by having Tequila with our newly acquired friends. Salud my friends, salud. Give or take a few hours and all of us were electric. Playing our friend Daniel’s music and enjoying our adventure.
Shameless plug: his music is great and will probably be the next cruise smash hit! Now, back to our usual programming..
It was in this moment that the earth stood still. Nothing else mattered but our vacation and the memories that will last a lifetime. As we ended the afternoon and headed back to the ship, I knew that this was only the start. The beginning of a new chapter in my book of travels!
I had the best sleep of my life that night.
Knowing that I had all that I needed on this trip; good friends, incredible photos, timeless memories, and the love of my life right by my side. Coming back to the states was so bittersweet. I was happy to be home, back in the place that I’ve begun to find myself and what makes my heart sing. But I didn’t want to leave the cruise that has forever changed how I see adventure.
This experience was one that is unprecedented! I’ve never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to do something so spontaneous and impulsive, and I’m so glad that I took the plunge. If you have the courage to try something new and create memories that you can tell your grandchildren as you rock in your rocking chair, set sail on a cruise. I assure you, you wont regret it. Explore your imagination and maybe, just maybe it can become a reality.
…and just in case you were wondering, we’re planning our next cruise in September.
— Little Miss Sunshine