Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happiness is.. a Bahamas Vacation with your BFF

Those of you following along (keep up, people), may remember that my Bahamas vacation got off to a rocky start when 1) the bus driver to the airport asked if I qualified for the 65-and-older senior discount (I'm a newly-turned 58) and 2) I realized at the airport, I'd forgotten my wallet.

All was wonderful, as usual, upon meeting up with my BFF, Lisa. She always makes me feel better by laughing at my foibles. It's nice to have a BFF who thinks I'm funny and let's me know that I'm not alone in my quirky travel habits.

Lisa generously told me she'd cover me for any cash needs. I thought my credit card would cover everything, but it turned out we needed lots of Bahamian dollars.. 

These were not for cabana boy strippers, as I'm sure you must have assumed, but mostly for local bus rides and tips. Yes, we were quite the "savvy travelers" after all, figuring out the local bus system, only almost getting run over once (traffic is in the opposite direction, there, so knowing which way to look when crossing is quite important!)

And though there were no strippers (actually, we were really quite boring with our most exciting 'night life' being a Rotary Club meeting) we did get 'hit on' (I think) by one of the bus driver's side-kicks. "Star" was his name.. (Much like my ex's wife's name, Roxy, I think this type of name conjures up images of dogs or prostitutes, but I don't like to be too judgey, especially of names..  My name has  problems, too..)

In any case, when Star told Lisa and I that our hair looked "bouncy" and asked if we were single, Lisa quickly (and notably with a cheery tone) said she had a boyfriend and let Star know that I was a grandma. Star was not deterred and said he'd dated women as old as 56. When I had no response, he said he'd even dated a woman who was 62! (Was he going to keep going until I told him how old I was? At least he started at 56 and didn't tell me about any senior discounts..) As we left the bus, he reminded us that we could tip..  Ah ha! His true motivation for the 'bouncy hair' and 'I'll be your boyfriend even though you're old' comments revealed!

It turns out I'm much better at being a long distance BFF gal-pal  than I am at being a long-distance GF, so it would never work for me and Star. I couldn't even make it work with someone in the same country. I broke up with my BBE (Best Boyfriend Ever) right before the trip.

I know this is probably no surprise to anyone who knows of my dysfunctional inability to have a LTR.  As I told Lisa, after we watched a confused flamingo who seemed to be of a different breed from the others: "I'm aimlessly wandering.. marching to the beat of a different drummer.. just like that poor, clueless flamingo."  (For the record, I'd like to note, the marching flamingo show at the Ardastra Zoo was a very cool memory! I have quite the "thing" for flamingos and a special fondness for confused ones who don't really seem to know what they're doing.)

Since this is a happiness blog, I'll skip the endless over-analysis of my relationship issues. (Though you'll find them chronicled in the over 10 years worth of blog posts.)  Lisa's a real friend for listening and saving me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on therapy. 

I would also like to recommend the audio book,  "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari for anyone who has just gone through a breakup. It was available from my library via Overdrive and the perfect audio book to listen to while lying on the beach. It's laugh-out-loud funny and helped me realize that lots of people out there are even more dysfunctional than me when it comes to relationships and dating!

The beautiful beaches, along with my BFF, helped me really get to my "Happy Place"..  There's nothing like the Bahamas to give you that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" feeling.. 

Happy Highlights include:

  • The awe-inspiring beaches. Harbour Island, with its pink sand, was probably the most beautiful beach I'd ever seen.
  • The friendliness of the locals. They all go above and beyond to help the tourists.
  • 70-80 degree sunshine on my shoulders! Yes, John Denver, I know we get that in Colorado, too, but not in winter!
  • Having a BFF who travels like me..  We had a nice balance of site-seeing, exercise, relaxation, eating, imbibing, talking, celebrating, and soaking up the beauty.
  • Finding fun, pretty sundresses at the Straw Market that we bought without even trying them on..and they fit perfectly!
  • The colorful Caribbean architecture, music, and laid-back culture. 
  • Conch -- the shells, the salads, the soups
  • Celebrating my birthday and Lisa giving me some super-comfy lounging pants that go perfectly with one of my Carpe Diem shirts.
  • The cool animals, including gorgeous peacocks, tropical birds, monkeys, capybaras, and of course, the marching flamingos at the Ardastra Zoo.
  • Rum Punches, Bahama Mamas, and many other exotic 'signature drinks' at Marleys, Twisted Lime, and our own concoctions.
  • Getting my 10,000+ steps in (yeah, I'm a Fitbit addict) by walking on beaches and exploring the artsy neighborhood surroundings.
  • Listening to thunderstorms at night.
  • The yummy fish dishes that we enjoyed both in restaurants and using our own cooking talents in the condo.
  • Drinking wine and talking on the patio of our condo.
  • The serenity of the beaches we went to. We avoided the louder party-beaches and we were able to enjoy those that let us doze to the sounds of the birds and ocean waves.
Beautiful place and a beautiful friend to share it with. Now that's happiness..

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Happiness is... Flying Happy

I love to travel. I even thought seriously about purchasing a CruisePlanners franchise until I realized I'd probably be spending a lot more time arranging, marketing, and selling travel than actually doing it.

Since becoming an independent consultant 3 years ago, I've traveled so often that it's becoming routine. As I wrote about in a blog post a couple of years ago, I've figured out little treats for myself that I enjoy as part of the "flying experience." Whenever there's a delay, I treat myself to something special (often involving alcohol).  Between Netflix, podcasts, my Kindle, and Overdrive, I have plenty of entertainment options and I almost always really look forward to the flights.

Today is even better than usual because I'm flying for a vacation to the Bahamas! I'm meeting my BFF, Lisa (who lives in Minnesota), in Miama, and we're flying from there together to Nassau. YAY! My traditional winter getaway is about to begin!

However, I've already had a few not-so-good travel experiences..

First, as I've already complained about on Facebook, the bus-driver questioned whether or not I was a "senior." Now I get it...  AARP starts counting you as a senior when you turn 50 and there are a lot of places that start giving discounts at 55. But the bus definition of senior is 65!

As I was standing in line in security feeling quite indignant that the bus driver would mistake me for someone "old," I reminded myself how "young" I really was physically and mentally! After all, look at all this savvy traveling I do without missing a beat! While other people are all "nervous" about packing or getting to where they need to be, I just confidently know exactly how to pack efficiently. I mean, I practically know the floorplan of DIA!

Then it happened. OMGOMGOMGOMG!!! I forgot my wallet!!!! PANIC! There are two things I must never forget or lose when I travel because I can't buy them elsewhere! Phone and wallet! I have only just recently stopped checking obsessively that I have put these in the appropriate zipper-closed place in my backpack. How in the world did I forget my wallet?

OK, calm down. This did not happen because I'm old. It happened because I'm scatterbrained. That was true even when I was much younger. I quickly dug out my passport (yay, wonderful passport!) and two credit cards, that I always keep in my "travel purse"... Look how organized I am! And realized that I could make it to the Bahamas without my wallet.  And now, without my driver's license, I even have a legitimate excuse to not do any driving.  Credit cards will surely suffice to buy anything I need.

Time to board the plane! This old gal is ordering up a drink and flying happy!