Taormina, Italy

Hello, all!

When fellow flight attendant and friend Mary-Kate told me I was going to need water shoes to get into the water I thought she was kidding. Alas, I quickly became thankful that I purchased a pair of awesome see-through booties (check them out at the bottom of this post!) when I witnessed how extremely rocky the beach is in Taormina. If you are planning on visiting soon, heads up! Still, I am content with every beach I get to touch down on. There was a moment when I was floating on my back led by the rhythm of the waves as I watched birds fly high above me. It was serene and everything I needed it to be. Below are tons of photos of this quick layover destination! I’m excited to continue exploring Italy’s coasts. This day was remarkable, from the perfectly sunny weather to snagging beach recliners right in front of the water, I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

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(IPhone photos)

Anyone have any other recommendations on places to visit?

Cheers, all! Until next time!

-Mary Reyes

Personal, Travel

Relearning How to Live: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

A calm, artistic haven that put me on a new, old path.

I wrote on Instagram that this wasn’t just another trip away from work for me. I could have written this right after arriving home from Tulum, but for me, it was necessary to reflect on the entirety of the adventure instead of just choosing select moments to highlight.

Before booking this trip with my dear roommate Analeise, my relationship fell apart. It was a very, very frustrating, confusing time (as many breakups are). How can you go from planning a life with someone one second to suddenly being forced to reinvent yourself as a single person? That was the overall problem I discovered about myself in Tulum.

I spent roughly a year and a half of working for my relationship. Commuting back and forth to Tampa, fighting to communicate through different, always changing, time zones, and learning how to be flexible with not only my flying schedule but his military one. It was worth it. Until it wasn’t anymore (it still was for me though). My point of all this is, there was my problem. I claimed to know who I was while bending myself over backwards being a partner for someone that needed much more than I could provide that I believe I lost myself in the process. I wasn’t enjoying the process of travel like I used to. I craved stability because I was in love with someone stable. Don’t get me wrong, I do know I love being a partner to someone. I like being the supportive, loving girlfriend and best friend. Do I love it more than I do a wandering life? Do I have to choose one or the other? (I’m writing something on these questions specifically right now.) Tulum introduced (and reintroduced) me to the path that will help me discover the answers I was and am searching for.

Months of constant, honestly sickening worry, anxiety, and fear washed away as I said, “¡Si, vamos!” to a tan man holding a sign for a snorkel excursion after lunch on the beach after biking to the Mayan ruins after sleeping in a bungalow with a big net and no air conditioning (hello, glamping!). The moment I jumped in I was greeted by the most beautiful sea turtle I could have ever imagined (and my first to see free out in the ocean)! The universe listened to my prayer! It was showing me what I needed to see- what I needed to hear. This is where you are supposed to be. In the water, snorkel suctioned onto my face, I witnessed sting rays circling below me. I laughed wildly with our guide that would push me, pull me, grunt and squeal as he pointed to another magnificent creature and to another and another.

That was my reintroduction into this path I am currently living. Whatever the universe brings, be it a new destination, a new love, a new passion, Tulum brought me the joy of embracing it.

“¡Si, vamos!” DCIM100GOPROG0351371.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So now the highlights:

Glamping at Joy Tulum

It was definitely a little bit of a walk in extremely heat to get to the hostel from the bus station. On our return trip we splurged (a full couple of dollars) on a taxi (much more preferable). The hostel itself is made up of several rows of individual bungalows with colorful chairs outside and a simple interior with one fan, a small bench, side tables, and mosquito nets around the beds. As worried as we were about the bus I didn’t find them bad at all. Actually, I have been bit more recently in Texas more than I was in Mexico. There were separate women’s and men’s bathroom areas that were always clean and a breakfast of cereal, cheeses, and hams in the common area. If you can bear the heat (although we were never really in our bungalows during the day) it is a wonderful place to stay- just remember the bug spray!

39ce2721-6daa-447b-ae0c-e98144c5dfe0Processed with VSCO with m5 presetSnorkeling the Grand Cenotes 

It’s true what they say, make sure you get there early! When we arrived it wasn’t extremely full. We went snorkeling for awhile and watched the bats flutter above us and by the time we were satisfied with our swimming the cenote had become quite congested with other tourists. Still, it was remarkable swimming in the clear, freezing water.c7dc5900-58c5-406e-8d2a-d02e4fbcf6d8


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A beach day, of course!

Mayan Ruins

This certainly gets absolutely packed during the early afternoon! I would suggest either going as soon as it opens or being the last ones to enter and exit. Wear your swimsuit so you can take a dip in the ocean in front of the ruins. If you head to the public beach you can take a boat out to see the ruins from a great distance.

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Having Cenote Escondido to ourselves (no, really!) 

I’m actually not lying about this. We used the free bikes from Joy Tulum and rode to the cenote in the morning to find that we were the only ones there! There are two rope swings to play on, too. 10/10 would do again!



I’m relearning how to live courageously and wholeheartedly after a devastating blow to my heart and soul. I’m going to be okay. In fact, just as Tulum showed me, I’m going to be more than okay. Trust me on that.

-Mary Anna