Hi. My name is Lorraine, and I am a freelancer who has finally had a taste of paradise.
Yep, for one week. One whole week.
One week that changed my life.
Today I’m going to share with you a few details of the dream vacation I took in February 2016.
I’m also going to tell you why YOU should take your dream vacation, using myself as an example.
My life has never been better!
What “Paradise” Means to Me
Everyone has their own ideas of what paradise is, but my version has always involved a beach and palm trees.
You know how when you meditate, you go to a “happy place”?
Well, my “happy spot” has always been a vision of me lying in a hammock nestled between two palm trees, on a sandy beach, inches from lapping ocean waters, feeling the warmth of the sun upon my skin, reading a good book, and sipping a colorful tropical drink containing a cute umbrella…refilled frequently by a gorgeous guy, of course. 😉
To me, this would be paradise.
No stress, no worries, no problems. No deadlines, no people. Just peace and quiet, being one with nature.
This might be your version of paradise, too. Maybe. Maybe not.
But I bet you love palm trees as much as I do. And want to see them in real life, don’t you?
Am I right?
Today I’m going to tell you a bit about me, and my experience with living my dream.
I’m also going to share with you the many reasons why you should take your dream vacation… before it’s too late.
But first, let me tell you a bit about me… and a blogger who helped influence me. You might’ve heard of him already. His name is Ryan Biddulph, and he’s the guy behind Blogging From Paradise.
How Ryan Influenced Me
Ryan and I met on Adrienne Smith’s blog in 2014, when she wrote a post called How to Blog from Paradise Like Ryan Biddulph. She was helping Ryan promote his e-books.
I wanted to buy an e-book from him, but couldn’t, because, at that time, I didn’t have a credit card.
So I left a comment that got Ryan’s attention.
Ryan then emailed me, and we made arrangements for me to purchase his book via PayPal. (Thank you, Ryan!)
Then we got to know one another, and we stayed in touch.
The Power of Pictures
Ryan and I remained in contact on Facebook and other social media. If you know him at all, you’ll know that he often posts pictures he’s has taken while traveling the globe.
Often his images are of beaches and palm trees… which totally fits with my dream vacation!
His images of my fantasy life slowly seeped into my brain. I was jealous of him. He was living MY dream! (How dare he!!!)
Plus, everywhere I looked, I saw ads for his other e-books (which I’ll admit, I never purchased, although I read the free ones). But…his e-book covers always featured pretty pics of a tropical paradise.
Eventually, his pictures (plus the ones I had in my head) started to have an impact on me.
I have always wanted to have a taste of paradise!
The surprising thing about my recent trip is that it was not planned. At all.
My Trip to Paradise Was NEVER Planned
In January 2016, my computer was hacked. I fell victim to a scam. Yeah, me.
Smart, beautiful, intelligent me. I’m almost ashamed to admit this.
But I told the full story on Carolyn’s blog, in a post called A True Story of a Computer Scam and How to Avoid It Happening to You. Because I’m all about helping others, despite what I’ve been through.
As I was enduring the two – count ‘em, TWO – nightmares I mentioned in that post, I was also under a significant amount of stress. My parents, who have lived in their house for 40+ years, decided to sell my childhood home. Mainly because my mom broke her arm, and can no longer navigate her bathtub.
Because I had been taking care of my mom (which involved cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping for her, doing my parents’ laundry, changing the cats’ litter box, etc.), I was tired and worn out. Not to mention stressed, as I had to stop working for a bit. I simply didn’t have time to work.
The many stress factors in my life got to me.
The Power of Facebook
One Saturday evening in February, I went on Facebook. (It was Saturday, Feb. 20th.)
I had received a message from my brother. He informed me that he and his girlfriend were going to Punta Cana for a week. They were leaving on Tuesday, Feb. 23rd.
Punta Cana is in the Dominican Republic, a primarily Spanish-speaking country. My baby bro sent me a few links to check out. So I did.
Gosh, it looked beautiful there! I wanted to go. I wanted to live my dream. I wanted to relax. I wanted the stress to leave my life!
BUT, I had just finished paying off my credit cards, and so I didn’t really have the funds to go with him… unless I charged it.
Now here’s the thing.
I had just gotten my passport in January.
I had never traveled anywhere outside of Canada or the USA before.
My life had been moving forward for a while.
And that Saturday I went on Facebook? I had just taken my nephew swimming to an indoor pool that had a palm tree painted on one of the walls.
While relaxing in the heated waters, I stared at that palm tree and wished I was on a beach somewhere.
I took my brother’s message as a sign.
I was destined to go on this trip. My brother and his girlfriend have both traveled before.
They were experienced, they had done all the research, and I knew I would be safe with them.
They had even checked the weather forecast for Punta Cana for the following week. It was expected to be 28 to 32 degrees Celsius all week long, with no rain. That’s about 82 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit.
And it was averaging -17C (or about 1.4F) in the city where I lived.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and use my credit card to charge my trip.
Why not? It was an opportunity of a lifetime, to me.
So I did.
I Went to the Dominican Republic for an Entire Week
We left early Tuesday morning, as planned. The flight was a direct one, and took about 5 hours. I had no problems passing through Customs. None of us did.
The package I purchased was an all-inclusive package. It included all hotel costs, air fare, taxes (including the tax you have to pay just to leave the Dominican Republic!), all food, all drinks (yep, alcoholic drinks!), and all other taxes.
It was a sweet deal.
Preparing for My Dream Vacation Was Tough
I had two days to prepare for this trip. I bought bug spray (I don’t like bugs), three containers of sunscreen (I burn easily), and a visor/cap. I dug out my summer shorts and tops. I packed a few dresses, a dressy pair of sandals, and my flip-flops. I gathered my toiletries, contact lenses, and make-up. I selected a few books to read. I thought I’d have hours to spare.
I read reviews about the hotel. I printed off some useful Spanish Travel Phrases.
I didn’t have time to buy a Spanish/English dictionary, but I had taken a course in Conversational Spanish when I was dating my son’s father (he was from the Honduras) and I remembered some of the language I previously learned.
I was set.
And I left my laptop at home! (Yeah, I couldn’t believe I did this, either…) 😉 But I brought my phone charger and smart phone. 😉
I Got to See Palm Trees! (Among other things…!)
Checking into the hotel was relatively easy. I had requested that my room be close to my brother’s. We were given rooms across from one another, which made communicating during the trip really convenient. Plus, I used his safe to store my valuables. (No sense paying for two safes when one sufficed!)
The resort was beautiful. We stayed at the Blau Natura Park Eco Beach Resort & Spa.
The Blau was laid out quite nicely. And our rooms were centrally located. It was a hop, skip, and a jump to the pool and beach. It was the same distance to the main restaurant and bar.
Our rooms were also on the main level, which made things easier for me. (I am a bigger girl and have a bit of a mobility issue. I nearly lost my leg in a bad accident in 2005.)
How Taking My Dream Vacation Changed My Life
1: I became rejuvenated.
2: My attitude changed, for the better. I became positive about everything!
3: I became more productive. I now work smarter, not harder.
4: I started learning a new language: Spanish! (No easy feat when you’re an adult, even though my son is half-Spanish and I took a college course in Conversational Spanish years ago.)
5: My sexual drive has returned. (Yep, seriously, folks. For a single gal like me, this is HUGE!)
6: I am meeting new people in different ways now. Easily. Much more easily than before!
7: I’m not afraid of trying new things, or stepping out of my comfort zone. I even went zip-lining when I was there!
8: I created memories that will last me a lifetime. And I took over 1200 pictures to remind myself, lest I should ever forget!
9: I now have a desire to be the best version of myself that I can be. (Even though I’ve accomplished a LOT already, I’m nowhere near reaching my point of self-actualization.)
10: I am more active and am eating better. Ergo, I’m healthier. And happier. (Much happier!)
11: I went from “stressed out” to “peaceful” in seconds. (The moment I saw the beach, all worries left me. I didn’t think about problems, work, family, or… anything. Instead, I was at one with nature, and a bit shocked that for seven full days, I would be able to live out my dream!)
12: I would’ve regretted it forever if I didn’t jump at the opportunity to take this vacation. I just know it. And you will, too.
12 Reasons You Need to take Your Dream Vacation NOW
1: You will become rejuvenated.
2: Your attitude will change, for the better. You will become more positive!
3: You will become more productive.
4: You will improve your language skills. You might even learn a new language!
5: Your sexual drive will be enhanced because you are so relaxed.
6: You will meet new people.
7: You will stop being afraid of trying new things.
8: You will create memories that will last a lifetime. (Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures!)
9: You will have a desire to be the best version of yourself you can be.
10: You will become more active and eat healthier. Therefore, you will be much happier.
11: You will go from feeling “stressed out” to feeling “peaceful.”
12: You will regret it if you don’t!
So go take that dream vacation of yours before it’s too late.
Don’t let anything stop you.
And I’m soooo glad I didn’t.
‘Cuz, like I said, taking my dream vacation changed my life!
Lorraine Reguly, BA/BEd, is an English teacher-turned-freelancer for hire. She offers 4 different services on Wording Well: writing/blogging, and editing. She also helps others become published authors! Check out her services and see what she can do for YOU. You can also visit her author site, Laying It Out There. And don’t forget to pick up your FREE copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves today!