Cruising through the lens of an experiential blogger

There are a bunch of reasons I haven’t written about my recent vacation cruise. For starters, I’m not a travel blogger. Second, I don’t travel for pleasure that often and when I do, I revel in the experience more than I concern myself with the details of the sights, so it wouldn’t really read like a travel blog. I prefer to soak up the feelings about a place more than ooh and aaah over the visuals. Still, it’s nagging at me. Those five days have something they want to say, thoughts they want to share, lessons they want to pass on, and I want to honor that (and stop the nagging). So, in deference to the voice within, here are some highlights of my trip, aka cruising through the lens of an experiential blogger.

1. Virgin Mango Daiquiris – I don’t drink alcohol, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a tropical frozen drink. When in the Caribbean, go mango! Sweet, frozen goodness that slides over the tongue like a river of heaven. Add the ocean breeze in your hair and the lap of the waves on the hull and it’s better than a day at a spa. Sometimes relaxing is as simple as a change of pace for your senses.

2. Steel bands on the pier – Music always sounds better when my body gets involved. Hands in the air, a swivel of the hips and a backbeat in my step brings the first impression of any island home. It’s hard not to smile, or join in, when their is so much fun to be had. Heck, even the band cracked a grin in Haiti. Listen to music with your ears, but feel it with your feet.

3. Laughter – Nothing feels quite so good as real laughter, the kind that erupts without warning and insists on running its course unfettered. My best friend, Heather, she knows how to laugh, and when I’m with her, the laughter flows like champagne on New Years Eve. The entire trip was seasoned with laughter to a mirthful perfection that would put a pair of rose colored glasses to shame. Laughter is tonic for the soul.

So you are likely wondering about that last statement. Laughter, for me, makes everything better, makes everything okay. I laughed my way through chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation treatment so I know what I’m talking about – attitude is everything in life. Laugh, often and genuinely. Laugh until your belly hurts, laugh until you cry, and then look at the world with fresh eyes. That rosy glow is laughter at work.

4. Please and thank you – some of my best vacation experiences were the gratitude from crew members when they were addressed with “please” and appreciated with “thank you”. They are small things, but orders become requests when wrapped in politeness. Please don’t leave your manners at home when you travel. Thank you.

5. Say good morning, afternoon or evening to everyone you pass in the halls and smiles will ensue. It’s a small thing, but the walls we put up tumble down under the power of an enthusiastic greeting. I found when I reached out, most people responded regardless of their age, nationality or sex. Being noticed is a universal feel good.

6. Smile, smile, smile – frowning is hard work. It takes more muscular effort to wrinkle up your forehead, drag down the corners of your mouth and purse your lips then to let it all fly free in a smile. Plus we all look better with a smile. A relaxed countenance is more inviting than a frown. Yet even I find my brows crunched together at times, telling me it’s time to fly my smile flag. Your face is your calling card, so choose wisely what you wish to wear on it.

There are delicious moments going on all the time. Sometimes it takes a cruise to remind us, to press the reset button and get us out of our rut. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and smell the sea air, mountain air, whatever air takes you to your happy place. Let it jump start your smile, then open your eyes to all the wonders around you right now.

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