Travel

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

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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.

The most amazing snorkel of my life. The end.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset

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

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Writing

Writings I’ve Never Posted 

Howdy all!

Another view from up above. Despite my neighbors bare feet in my peripheral, I feel more connected to the Heavens today. Maybe it’s an omen of something beautiful that is about to occur. Maybe it’s because I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Universe and trying to truly understand it. Maybe it is due to major life changes that have occurred, with and without my decision. All I know is that today is the first day in a long time that I am particularly hopeful. I just wanted to share that with you.

As well as I am finally confident enough to share with you some writings I’ve had in my notes for a very long time. Obviously being in the sky makes me feel a certain way.

How does it make you feel? Let me know!

-Mary A.

***

I watch a transparent, hazy sheet of thin clouds slowly cover itself over the sleeping town below. They can’t see us, as we are momentarily masked by the darkness of night and solitude. Suddenly our divider is lifted just enough, the evening sky hazy but able to form a contact. I wonder if anyone is looking up, laying perfectly still in silence, on a trampoline in the front yard as I did growing up, watching the stars shift and the sky change as the universe and its people collide. I see the entire town, lit up brilliantly, lights shimmering here and there, from the window of a 747. They can see us again, if only they look up at our blinking wings of souls and living, breathing beings. We are simultaneously moving, always connected, with the sky and its people below.

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Where the stars guide me

I am minuscule and important as I look out to the stars from 30,000 ft in the air. If I focus I can almost see the enormity of the galaxy. I can picture every ball of gas burning brightly as they make this one whole, brilliant moment. The light lit towns below me are partially covered in a thin veil of clouds. I can almost feel the mist on my skin. And in the areas where it is a deep darkness and I question how below this metal tube in the sky it really is, I can sense the solitude and fulfillment of being covered by the mass of question and of life.

I am both minuscule and important in this world. I feel it all so strongly as the night sky moves with me. As the North Star guided the explorers, I am directed past lively cities, sleepy towns, and everything in between. I am just a small girl but up here, I am everything the stars and galaxies want me to be.

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I was watching the scarlet sun burn its way over the horizon, turning the distant sky layers of peach and gold over the ivory shimmering water. I couldn’t help but think to myself that in this world, if ever it came to dust, if all mankind had stolen life from another and the earth was barren of civilization as we knew it, the dust would settle and the horizon would still burn strongly and brilliantly, fiercely making its way towards a new day and a new dawn. We just wouldn’t be around to see it, but we know, it would still be beautiful.

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Travel

Year 23

Howdy, all!

Another year of my life has come and gone and I am officially 24 years and one day old. As difficult as these past couple of months have been, the overall year has been an amazing one. My second year of being an international flight attendant, I checked off several bucket list items, and I am closer to realizing what I want to do in my life. 24 will be the year of personal growth, career maturity, and creative direction. I am committed to putting my health first, to continue writing, and to remember why I started traveling in the first place. So below is my list of some year 23 highlights. As monumental as these moments are, there were many more that were not photographed: reunited family hugs, cozy days with Luca, and uplifting afternoons with dear friends to name a few (plus an awesome cat cafe in Tokyo). And as with every year of life that I am fortunate enough to have, I remember my sweet Grandma, who I was lucky to share a birthday with. She would have been 84 years and one day old and I won’t ever stop missing her.img_5109

Cheers to another year of breathing in life and soaking in sunshine. To growth. To living courageously and wholeheartedly always. Continue reading

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Writing

Thinking About Home

I have been facing a deep struggle lately. I spend my life in a metal tube in the sky. Often I cannot differentiate my days as they begin to blur together after the third hotel room. All Hilton, DoubleTrees, Marriotts look the exact same. I text the ones I love, but it isn’t at all the same as a physical touch. I miss coming home to a house that feels like an actual home. 

So I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately. What it means to me to have a home. Well, I’m going to share it with you and hopefully afterward, I can begin to visualize it again into my future.

I have many roots in many grounds around the world. I am spread out amongst beaches, scattered along wide, open Texas roads, emotionally stamped onto a special person. Home is a Texas sunset, brilliant and vivid. It is the distinct salty air of South Padre Island across from the Tiki, my favorite childhood vacationing condominium. It is listening to country music at Saturday mass with my family while Father Roy speaks about his “dear ol’ boat”. It is having home made chocolate cake in the kitchen because mom knows how much I love it. It is being sticky and sweaty because humidity hugs me like an old friend. Home is deep conversations with Rey and Brianda that help me feel better about life. It is my home town that I fought so hard to leave and miss every day that I’m away.

It is in every destination that I allow myself to feel something in. It is in the Green Grotto in Capri that I swam in freezing water through. It is in Paris, with rosy cheeks and sore ankles because I wore the wrong shoes once again. It is in hostels where my friends and I felt alive (and poor). It is in Ireland along the windy cliffs that introduced me to international travel. In Seattle because I wanted to fit in with its hip-photo-loving vibe for so long. It is in every cup of café américain sans sucré that I ordered in Caen. In so many other beautiful, memorable destinations that I have gotten to go to, with this flight attendant life and outside of it. But how can I even explain what home feels so strongly like to me right now, as I write this on another airplane?

It is warmth. It is a constant, so satisfying warmth that is created through the perfect long awaited moment. It is everything I feel the moment distance is over. It is never ending laughter because in reality, we’re both idiots. It is being on that airplane with you. It is every embrace, every goodnight kiss, every “I love you, too.”

Home isn’t just one place for me. It may not be for you either. My boards are built along vast valleys, underneath star-filled skies, amongst the waves, and on top of mountains. They are secured by unknowing kind strangers, by those that know and love me, and by my past selves. I will live in these homes for the rest of my life. Right now, I am looking forward to going home. 

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Travel

Capri, Italy 

 


Finally an Italy layover! After almost two years of being an international flight attendant, I finally got to experience a Naples layover. I only have a couple of “work” bucket list items to check off and visiting the island of Capri was definitely number one!

Josh, Sarah Bob, and I woke up early to catch the hour long ferry to Capri. There we had one mission, to get a private boat and tour around the island. This proved easy enough and in no time we were boarded up and introduced to our guide, Marco, the 22-year-old from Sorrento. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing as we set off on our tour. It felt like I was living in a movie- how could this be my life? Continue reading

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Compilations, Travel

Recent Travel Compilation 

Y’all, I cannot fully express how fulfilling this work trip has been. In one short week I have gotten the chance to explore more of the world and I couldn’t be happier right now. Work last month was full of 28 very, very long days and I was extremely exhausted by the time I got home. So, I am so pleasantly surprised that this trip has been so lovely and full of excitement! Between having an amazing crew to wonderful new layover cities, I am 1000% satisfied with my travel/work life right now. (Until I get the next travel itch, of course!) So below are photos of my four main layover destinations of this past work-action. Enjoy! Continue reading

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