The Imperfect Vacation: Stop Overthinking and Start Enjoying
I’m an overthinker. I overthink everything in my life. Sometimes this hamster wheel in my head helps prepare me for life's challenges. Mostly, however, it leaves me bitter, exhausted, and disappointed. My goal has always been to stop overthinking and to start discovering. This goal was recently put to the test on my first-ever beach resort vacation. Honestly, this perfectly imperfect trip was just what I needed.
First, let me mention the parts of the trip that were pleasantly surprising. After deciding not to pay the extra to have an adults-only resort, I kept having nightmares about kids with water guns running around at the pool. My negative expectations were dismissed the minute we arrived at the resort. For one thing, that place was huge. There was plenty of room for me and several kids with water guns.
Because this was my first time out of the country, I was sure we would be detained somehow. When we received the custom's paperwork on the plane, I remember sitting there in a daze thinking, I’m going to mess this up! Worse yet, my husband took one look at his form and handed it to me. Thank goodness for a sweet, well-traveled couple next to me. They saw the bewildered look on my face and took me under their wings. I felt a little more comfortable about the situation having cheated off my neighbors. However, I still had a nagging feeling something would go wrong. Thank goodness, my fears were dismissed. Getting into the DR was a breeze.
Humor Is Good for the Soul
So, now we get to the part of the story where I have to laugh, really, at how foolish I was. When I was researching this trip, we only considered all-inclusive resorts. I was checking travel sites, comparing resorts, and looking for deals. My husband was not at all interested in the frilly, fruity umbrella drinks advertised by most resorts. As I’m reading the amenities for the resort we chose, I saw domestic beer. My eyes perk up, and I’m sure this is the place.
When we get there, we go to the bar, and my husband asks what kind of beer they have. The bartender says, “Presidente.” And it still doesn’t ring a bell with us. I say, “Domestic beer? What kind of domestic beer do you have?” And the bartender repeats, “Presidente is our domestic beer." I start laughing, and my husband starts laughing. I’m sure the bartender thought we were already a little tipsy. Why in the world did we not realize that domestic beer in the DR was going to be their domestic beer, not ours? This situation provided some stellar comic relief right from the start of our trip. And guess what, the beer was pretty good.
One of the most anticipated parts of my trip to the DR was getting to go to the beach, but the beaches there were covered in seagrass. Every morning workers from the resort were out raking and cleaning so beachgoers had a decent place to land for the day. Naturally, the mossy seaweed was in the water, too. We spent some quality time on the beach and had a blast, but the seaweed bothered me. I came home and did some research. Like many negatives in this world, excessive seagrass is a response to manmade problems.
This seagrass is not just a DR problem. It is an Atlantic Ocean problem. It is more prevalent than ever due to global warming and the excavation around the Amazon River. In Brazil, the area around the Amazon River is being excavated and fertilized to improve the soil for farming. Unfortunately, torrential rains wash much of the fertilizer out into the ocean, fertilizing the seagrass. So, the result is a lot of mossy grass that is not supposed to be there.
Conversely, we noticed seashells, which are supposed to be there, were absent from the beach. We walked and walked and found only 3 teeny tiny shells. I thought maybe it was just the area where we stayed. Again, I came home and decided to do some research. My discovery was heartbreaking. Global warming is again the culprit. As the water gets warmer, the CO2 levels rise, and the water becomes more acidic. The increased acid in the ocean water diminishes the calcium carbonate levels. Calcium carbonate is the material shellfish and corals need to build their shells.
While it would have been nice to find some souvenir shells, my disappointment is now redirected. I’m not upset that I didn’t collect souvenir shells. I’m saddened there are not any to find.
All in all, our first trip out of the country was beautiful. Even after over-thinking nearly every aspect, I can say my expectations were kept in check. My take-away on the whole experience can be summed up simply: it’s okay to overthink, as long as you find humor or understanding in your experiences instead of disappointment and anger.
I still laugh at the domestic beer incident. And even though I didn’t get to make a cute shadow box with shells, I cannot help but see the importance of the more significant issue.
I probably cannot stop overthinking, but I can control my reactions, and this will make life a whole lot more enjoyable. The imperfectness of this vacation was just what I needed to lighten up and gain some meaningful perspective.
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© 2020 Marcy Bialeschki