When my parents went on their honeymoon almost 40 years ago, they went to Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada side). They drove down (about a 3 hour drive from our hometown) and spent the weekend at the falls. I love their old school pic of that day. My mom actually rummaged through her old photos and found it for me. The perfect memento. They each took a picture of one other. Apparently back in the day you didn’t ask anyone to take a picture for you ;).
Their honeymoon was the exact opposite of what my husband and I did. They stayed local while our honeymoon was on the other side of the earth. 18 hours and 4 flights to be exact. But what an experience.
What I’ve come to learn is that our lives are defined by our experiences, not by material things. Don’t get me wrong, I love material things. But if it came to a toss up, I’d have to choose an incredible experience over a new pair of jeans (even though I wouldn’t mind a new pair of jeans 😉 ).
When it came to discussions of our honeymoon a couple of years ago, my husband brought up the first thing that probably comes to most peoples minds (those from North America at least)…the Caribbean.
The Caribbean has some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, but I had an inkling that we would be travelling down South over the course of our lives many many times. I wanted to go somewhere that wouldn’t be easily revisited. Somewhere that would be remembered for a lifetime.
I wanted to go somewhere that had overwater bungalows…
Why overwater bungalows you ask?
Why not! It’s not every day you get to stay in one of these puppies.
My husband soon agreed that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the Caribbean. Once he opened his eyes to further away lands, the ideas started flowing.
Bora Bora was the first destination that came to mind. The French Polynesian islands are a dream destination for the most imaginative types.
We came across many incredible destinations, but if we were sticking to our criteria of overwater bungalows, we were narrowed down to a few great destinations.
Then we expanded our search beyond French Polynesia and came across THE MALDIVES. (this video sold me on the experience)
When we first started looking, my husband and I didn’t even know where the Maldives were, how to get there, or how to even pronounce it (the locals pronounce it: Maal – divs).
For those of you who don’t know (cited from Wikipedia) – The Maldives is a South Asian Island Country located in the Indian Ocean. The 1192 coral islands are spread over 90,000 sq. km (35,000 sq. mi).
Now, mind you, some of these islands are not habitable and are extememly small, but that’s a heck of a lot of islands. The geography of it all should be checked out on an aerial map to take in how beautiful it all is.
The more we learned about it, the more we were hooked. We had to go. You only do your honeymoon once.
When we went to the travel agency to book our flights (good luck trying to find discount flights on expedia for a trip like this) the agent asked us how we even came to learn about the Maldives. Apparently in all her years of working there, she never had a customer outright ask her about going there (especially with such determination). Usually the Maldives were chosen after mulling over different alternatives first or being suggested by an agent.
I told her of my husbands love of researching everything to death and that we had settled on a resort called LUX Maldives. A solid 5+ star resort that even my dreams couldn’t have conjured up.
6 months later, a wedding and four flights totalling 18 hours behind us and we were on an island in the Maldives, close to our destination. The last leg of the journey required us to take a speed boat to get to our resort, that was the only way off and on the island.
No one said paradise was easy to get to…
Palm trees jutted out of the small island as we made our way closer and closer to our destination. The LUX sign grew larger as we made our way to the dock.
When we finally got to the dock we were treated to a cool icy water with mint leaves in it (refreshing) and were explained the offerings of the island resort.
The island is 1/3 of a mile wide by 1.5 miles long…that’s it. A slice of paradise out in the middle of nowhere.
There were numerous restaurants and lounges, infinity pools, and paths throughout the island. There were also sting ray feedings on one end of the island and shark feedings on the other end every evening.
There was a long path cutting the island in half that led from one end to the other. We rented bikes and left them outside of our rooms so we could ride to our meals or other destinations throughout the day. Otherwise, golf carts came about every 8 minutes to shuttle us to our perferred destination. And we could always walk if we so desired.
The spas had hot and cold dips of water, waterfalls, cots, and private garden oasis’.
When we got massages (of course we got couples massages!) we were on top of glass floors in the overwater bungalows looking down at all the fish as they swam under us.
For our 10 day stay, we split our nights between beach villas with secluded beach areas and the overwater bungalows. We wanted to end on an even higher note by staying in the over water bungalows during the second half of our stay (save the best for last!).
Even though the beach villas were phenomenal, the overwater bungalows were indescribable (but we’ll try!).
There were glass bottom floors, outdoor showers, and a stairway leading directly into the ocean from our balcony. There were also nets suspended from our deck which gave us the feeling as if we were suspended over the ocean as we read books that we’d brought along for the trip. Once you threw a bunch of pillows on those you never wanted to leave.
Believe it or not, when you are in paradise, you don’t want to sleep in. This made me wonder if I didn’t want to get up in the morning at home simply because I knew I was getting up for work. In paradise we regularly got up at 5:30 am (and we weren’t tired!) and were among the first people in for breakfast.
The incredible spread of fresh made foods for breakfast was something I haven’t seen since. We got to know all of the staff on a first name basis and we even added one or two to Facebook!
Even though there were other people on the island, it didn’t feel like it. You hardly saw anyone else and it was phenomenal. I mean, we like people but this was the most serene 10 days we’d had in our lives.
This was a true experience. Oh, and I almost forgot about the flyboarding! (everyone HAS to do this at least once in their lives).
So why do I tell you about all of this? I don’t say it to brag or to tell you how great a time we had sippin’ fruity cocktails in a bungalow suspended over the Indian Ocean. I tell you this because it wasn’t until I went on this vacation that I realized I needed to have more experiences that I remembered forever in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kate Spade diaper bag and purse, but they sit in my closet as I reminisce about this trip.
The experience will last a lifetime, the purse will last until the stitching starts to break away.
Kanye West said diamonds are forever…well I’m adding experiences to the list.
Even though this trip was a huge financial commitment, it reminded us that we need to find a way to go to places like this again. And we will find a way!
It would be a shame to never go on a vacation where we didn’t go all out. One that we didn’t worry about drinking from the bar fridge, or how much the upgrades cost.
You need to be able to at least say that there was one trip in your life (and hopefully more) where you went pedal to the metal, all out and didn’t look back. A trip of a lifetime.
But be warned, once you go, it’ll no longer be a trip of a lifetime. It’ll be a trip that has you saying you must go back!
I’m not the type of person that wants to go to the same resort 7 times. I like to experience new things. But with this place, once I left I told myself that I’d be back…
So here’s my advice to you, take it or leave it (I hope you take it! It’ll change you forever).
Put aside a special trip fund. This fund is where you are going to save up 10k (or more) of your money, I don’t care if it takes 7 years. You are going to put aside a set amount every month, just like you do for savings or however you budget your money (you won’t miss the extra you put away and your life won’t change by saving for this vacation).
And once you have that amount for your special trip…..DO IT! Put it all on the trip. Go all out and treat yourself to the trip of a lifetime. And don’t hesitate for one second or think of all the money you’re spending. There doesn’t even have to be a specific occasion or reasoning for your trip. It’s just your special trip. Bring the kids if you have to. Just do it, please do it. You won’t regret it.
And when you do it, email me pictures and tell me all about it, I want to live the experience to.
I hope I’ve inspired you to put aside your trip fund and heck, start planning now! Start looking up your destinations and find that true oasis out there that you wouldn’t have dreamed of spending the money to go to in the past. Print off a pic of it and throw it up on your fridge.
You’ll find your way there, I promise…