well, well, well. where did i leave you last? dropping off the face of europe? i think not.  europe is only one continent and according to my american upbringing, there are 6 more to conquer (i dare you to challenge me the rest of the world… there are 7 CONTINENTS!!!!!!  DEAL WITH IT!!!!)

my first order of business after i finished up visiting all 51 countries in europe was to start working at my new job the next day. jet lag, smet lag, a girl’s gotta eat…  my second order of business was to fly off to belize to meet my mom and step-dad for a mini-break in january. did you really think i’d just stop exploring the world??  booooooring.

i have to say, i haven’t really spent a lot of time south of the united states, and when i have, it has been on family trips or with ex-boyfriends who have strangely preferred warm sun and sandy beaches to walking around in freezing cold ukraine in the winter. not sure why??!! side note, i have found an amazing boyfriend who would bizarrely join me in moldova in the winter or any time of year but that is another story waiting to be written….

in january of this year i had been to 63 countries in the world, 51 in europe, and most of the others in that number have been in the caribbean or south of there, so when my parents wanted to do our annual family trip my only demand was that it was to be to a place i had not been before. my mom had heard good things from the iowa rumor mill about belize and knew of a small resort directly on the beach that was run by friends of friends of friends who knew someone in college…or something like that. they probably are related to kevin bacon too, so off we planned, and off we booked.  belize here we come!!  number 64!

so here i was, for the first time in over a year, on a trip i didn’t plan for myself. feels pretty good to just show up and be ready to drink beers upon landing.  shout out to my mom for being the best beer facilitator this side of the atlantic.

belize city was our first stop before taking a prop plane to placencia and i’m not gonna lie, that prop plane ride was one of the best parts of the trip, and i mean that in the absolute best way. the sights were amazing and i was so close to the pilot i could hear him breathing/steal his wallet.

upon landing we were greeted by the hotel manager and his wife and were then whisked away to the resort for a million days of sunny relaxation.  just kidding, it was only like 5 days, but as i prefer a nice cold, 68 degree norwegian summer, this is pretty much testing my limits.  yay, summer in january.  excited and such.  family!  yay!  team!  sun!  warm!  sand!

most of the time we spent our days doing nothing, and by nothing i mean drinking local beer (so good!), eating the local equivalent of doritos (also so good, and spicy!), lounging in the sun (boring and hot), and me entertaining my mom (mom!  MOMMMM look, look at my hair!!  look now!!  take a picture! MOMMMM!!!?!!! — you still never outgrow it, sorry parents around the world.  we love ya, but maybe next time take a picture from a better angle…..)

but, one of the days we decided to get out and took a catamaran ride to some private areas around belize which included a visit from some local island dogs and a bbq lunch, both equally wonderful.  you know, for someone who has spent a year far, far away from tropical islands, this isn’t so bad…  who knew?!?

island hopping aside, as i said, the other days were filled up with walking up and down the main street in town and testing out the local fare, which included my mom and i almost burning our faces off on the spiciest jalapeño poppers either one of us had ever tasted.  i am pretty sure we almost died.  a sign of a good night in my book.

our last order of business was to ask the hotel manager to bring a tv into the bar for the patriots afc championship game. you see, this resort is really about relaxing and not sitting in your room watching tv the entire day, so there aren’t tvs located in the rooms or at the hotel restaurant/bar. totally fine for me, except when your team is playing to go on to the superbowl.

as the game started i was proudly wearing my lucky patriots shirt, my mom donning a patriots jersey, while my treacherous step-dad was wearing a kansas city chiefs shirt (not pictured for traitor reasons of course). the hotel staff and other guests filtered in and out watching me pace around the restaurant, walk out to the beach in disgust, cursing and yelling (only to quickly return), and then drink several beers in a nervous fashion…  it was a stressful night, ya’ll.  it was also a super moon.  worlds colliding.  go pats!

and then this happened…… and for all you patriots haters you can go on hating.  we have a saying here in boston that, “you hate us cuz you ain’t us” and i fully support and enforce that.  boston is boston, we don’t give a fuck and we are who we are.  after all, “i don’t live in the united states, i live in boston”…..

so why am i writing about some random family vacation to belize?  why the fuck not. country #64 has taught me that it’s time for some slow travel, it’s time to spend my days off with those i love, and it’s time to do a 180 and think about enjoying the world in which i live with those i want to live in this world with.  alone time is great.  i have spent a few years traveling alone, living alone and doing everything i want to do just for me, but guess what, sometimes it’s nice to include those who make your life complete in your bucket list plans.  family trips are a nice, warm, fuzzy reminder that this world is meant to also be experienced with others.  it’s meant for beers on the beach, for sunburns, terrible all-inclusive staff shows, long unfortunate layovers, and destinations not of your choosing.  travel is travel, you have to enjoy the ride and where it takes you, solo or not.

i have had a complete whirlwind of travel experiences in the past two years, going from traveling alone across the vasts of europe, to sitting on a beach in belize with my family, to flying over to europe for long weekends to see my boo in oslo, and all i can tell you is that travel, in any form, makes you a better person in this world.  you learn, you grow, you handle, you deal.  if you don’t, you’re gonna be miserable, just like in life.  sometimes shit happens, but you know what, you put on a smile and power through.  tomorrow is a new day, a new adventure to explore, and a new look at the world in which we live.  don’t live in the past, don’t live in the now, live in what can be because we’re all better off looking forward to a better, more adventurous tomorrow. the world will always be your oyster, unless you hate oysters. then you’re screwed.

oh and stay tuned…. italy with the millennials awaits…..

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