Monday, May 30, 2016

The Key to Happiness - Travel

"We'll always have Paris" - Girls' Trip, June 2011

Have you seen the latest ad from Groupon called “Haves vs. Have-Dones”? I love this ad because I’ve always thought that the most precious gifts are gifts of shared experiences, doing and seeing new things with the ones I love. And it turns out that there is scientific research to back this up. An article by Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar titled “We’ll Always Have Paris” shows that people who spend money on experiences (such as a trip or even a visit to a museum) tend to be happier than people who purchase material goods.

One reason for this is adaptation. Material purchases quickly became the new normal and we stop noticing them. On the other hand, we talk about our experiences long after they occur. Experiences stay alive in the stories we tell, and even a less-than-perfect experience can turn into funny family lore. (Remember that insane taxi driver we had on our first trip to Vegas??)

Friday, May 20, 2016

One Love - Sandals Negril Part 3

Henry the peacock


I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep so I went out on the balcony to read. I could hear Henry the peacock making his morning cat sounds over at Bayside. It was even breezier that day and the red flags were up. That meant there wouldn’t be any watersports, so when Ron got up we decided it would be a good day to go to Beaches Negril to check out their pools.

It was a quick $5 cab ride to Beaches where we settled in by the main pool. Beaches was a larger property than Sandals and had a Polynesian feel, with dark wood balconies and window shutters. There was a pretty courtyard, a large main pool and a water park with a lazy river and water slides. Of course, my favorite part of the resort was CafĂ© de Paris, the French pastry shop. Too bad Sandals Negril didn’t have one of those. :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

One Love - Sandals Negril Part 2

Sandals Negril beach


Another day on the beach. We set up our towels under our favorite palapa and watched the skiers while I worked up the nerve to try wakeboarding in front of an audience. Finally I was ready. I fell down on the first try but made it up the second try. The boat driver was great and went just the right speed, but he took me so far down the beach that by the time the boat turned around, my legs were shaking. I didn’t know if I was going to make it back to Sandals. But I did! I was proud of myself since the water had been too cold at home to practice before the trip.

When ski time was over, the water sports guys brought out the water tube, “Great Big Mable”. A couple from Utah, Jim and Angie, invited us to go tubing with them. We agreed and climbed on. It was a blast! The driver whipped us over the waves and we all hung on for dear life, with me screaming most of the way. I know I was a foot off the seat a few times. When we got back to the beach, the water sports guys asked us who was screaming and Ron said it was him. :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One Love - Sandals Negril Part 1

Sandals Negril

Ron and I knew we wanted to go to a Sandals resort for our twenty-fifth anniversary; it was just a matter of picking which one. Finally we settled on Sandals Negril. Our last two Sandals vacations had been at larger properties (Whitehouse and Antigua) so this time we wanted to try a smaller resort with lots of fun water sports. Plus Negril was one of my all-time favorite places, with its endless beach, gorgeous sunsets and friendly people. We stayed at Couples Swept Away in Negril in 2010 and couldn’t wait to go back. But just as we were packing up the car for the drive to Orlando, Cedric started acting groggy and weak. Since he’d been fine earlier in the day, we decided it would be alright for us to leave, but we emailed Judi to ask her to keep an extra close eye on him.

The next day was a long day of traveling from Orlando to Montego Bay to Negril. It was almost five o’clock when we made it to Sandals. We’d booked a Club Level room in the Paradise Building, right in the middle of the resort and about as close to the water as you could get. The building was completely remodeled about a year ago and our room was gorgeous. It was decorated in light colors with turquoise artwork and had the Sandals signature king sized 4-poster bed. Our second floor balcony overlooked the Beach Bistro Bar and the sailboats anchored offshore. Beautiful! The Club Level rooms included a few extra perks like a concierge lounge, room service and a mini-bar, but that’s not why we'd booked it. It was all about the location, location, location.