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May
31

How Long Do You Need to Unwind?

How Long Do You Need to Unwind?

 

And so we’re back. A lousy three-days. Did you make the most of every second? Did you bugger off work early? Come home as late as decency would allow on Monday night and crawl into work this morning? Did you make every second count? And did it? Did it count? Did you come back feeling blessed for your life, your wife, kids, husband, close airport, frequent flyer miles?

Or was it not enough? Did it take just too damn long to log off, to put the phone down, and leave it all behind? Did you make the mistake of not doing it soon enough so that when your last day rolled around? And on the day you had to go back,  were you angry that you had to go back, you wished for more, wanted more, hated your life even more than you did before you left?

Are you a Bob or a Bill?

busyairport

is it worth it?

BOB

Take Bob. Bob and his family took off to the Bahamas for the weekend. Now Bob has three small kids, a wife who loves to shop and doesn’t make the kind of bonuses our friends at Exxon do. But he found  cheap flights to Cancun, from Los Angeles leaving Friday at 2:55. He got the kids out early from school, scooped up the wife and was in line at LAX tapping his toes, sagging under the weight of his carry-on, his kid’s complaints and the crush of people just trying to get the hell out of dodge.

About hour three into the five-hour flight, Bob makes the very important decision to put his phone away, the kids stop complaining, they start talking about vacation. Bob starts thinking about diving in crystal clear waters, eating freshly caught fish and having a glass of wine with his wife on a terrace under the balmy skies of the Caribbean. And Bob starts to feel himself get happy.
diving

bob's diving

And when Bob and family lands at Cancun International Airport and is swept away to his beachfront resort  on one of the top ten beaches in the world, troubles melt away. In fact no one can remember anything but what’s happening right now. The warm air, the holiday vibe and the incredible waters before them. They can’t wait to dive in. The beachfront resort he found online is the best money he’s ever spent. $200 a night for his entire family. The El Dorado on Maroma beach. With only 74 suites, this hotel is not crazy, you don’t have to compete for the best chair, or stand in line for a drink. This hotel is perfect for Bob because there are no lines. On the beach, with a pool and clean light-filled rooms, Bob’s wife and kids unpack, while Bob books a boat for Saturday for sport fishing and a little diving with his son while his wife and daughter sunbathe and get massages. Sunday, he books a sailboat for the morning, to snorkel and eat. And Monday is a day to do whatever they want.

wow

wow

By the time he lands at LAX, Bob and family are happy again. Tan, toned, in love with life and ready to return to work with a fresh mind and new ideas.

happy man

bob's a happy man

Bill

Now Bill, Bill also went on a trip. Bill told his wife to book someplace warm, without deadly storms and not too far away. She found cheap tickets to Belize, she’d always heard about how beautiful it was in Belize. And so they were to leave on Friday. She wanted to leave early, Bill said no earlier than six. While on the flight, Bill, an attorney, worked through the five hours. Upon arrival at Calm Caye, a beautiful two-story beachfront villa, with a saltwater pool to one side and the reef in front, Bill was still pissed about a call he’d made that afternoon.

Memorial Day Travel

inside bill's mind

But what was he missing! A villa that sits on the beach of a former coconut plantation on the island of Ambergris Caye, a 12 minute plane ride off the coast of Belize. It couldn’t be more romantic, more tropical, more perfect. The kitchen was brand new, the ceilings, vaulted, the tiles were colorful and there was everything modern you could need, including air-conditioning overlooking the barrier reef. But Bill was staring at his laptop.

calm caye

calm caye

And when the morning came with a soft rain and the clouds parted, Bill was on his laptop while his wife swam and studied the schools of fish that came up to greet her the moment she put her feet in. She biked to the town of San Pedro, four-miles away.

living room

living room

All day Saturday, Bill paced. Picked up magazines and books only to put them down, checked phone, checked office. When Bill’s wife tried to get him to snorkel, Bill said he had to wait for a call, that the call was too important. But the call never came. And then finally, by Saturday night when Bill’s wife dressed in a pretty light blue sundress and said she was going to dinner at a restaurant with or without him. Something in him snapped, what the heck am I doing? Bill shoved his phone in his briefcase, emailed the office that he was on vacation and the call would have to wait until Monday. They drank tropical cocktails under the heavy warm sky, took a walk along the water and Bill breathed in. His shoulders loosened and Bill’s wife decided to put off the divorce she was so sure she wanted.

belize

seeing belize

Sunday he woke with a mission to dive, sail, discover the Mayan ruins, eat fresh food, feel the sun on his skin and smell the salt. He vowed to make the most of it all. After all, the western hemisphere’s longest barrier reef lies just off shore for the best diving & snorkeling of your life. First destination: The famous Blue Hole.

Lighthouse Reef Belize

Lighthouse Reef Belize

And then there’s kayaking & windsurfing in the afternoon. Monday there’s excursions to Mayan ruins, nature trips, birding, & cave tubing.

mayan ruins

mayan ruins

To eat, what about a quick water taxi ride to take you into town where you can find a variety of local restaurants? Cook at home or walk 100 yards to Sundiver Resort for lunch, dinner or a beach bar drink. Mata Chica’s Mambo restaurant is a five minute walk up the beach.

He delayed his flight to enjoy as much of Monday as he could. And when they got back at midnight on Monday night, tanned, relaxed, renewed and a couple once more, they looked into each other’s eyes and said, “I’d love more but what I go, what I got was so worth it.”

And now Bill’s a happy man.

happy, happy man

Bill's a happy, happy man

It’s a wake-up call. Even three days, even two days is a wake-up call, getting away makes you see and appreciate what’s around you. Your husband or wife, your children, in short, your life. The trick is being able to see it before it’s too late. Don’t be ike Bill, he almost missed the boat. Be like Bob. Yep, be like Bob.

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