Photo credit Flickr: dronepicr
Belize has been on my family's bucket list for nearly a decade, and at the start of 2018, I'm resolving to turn our dream into a reality. The past year has been an overwhelmingly difficult one for us. In just one year, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, she underwent treatment and passed away on Oct. 3.
It was the most difficult year for my family. However, through all of the sadness and grief, we learned some major life lessons, and one of those is not to wait. That's why I just finished booking my family's vacation rentals in Belize.
But my mother's passing isn't the only reason we're headed to this Central American tropical paradise. Like I said, Belize has been on our bucket list for what feels like forever. These are five reasons we're packing our bags and heading to our dream travel destination in 2018.
To Create New Memories
Most of the memories my family created at the end of 2017 involve binding together through difficult times. These are valuable moments for which I'm thankful, but it's time to make some new memories that are simply -- fun. Belize is a country that offers fun for the entire family, whether we're satisfying dad's interest in Maya ruins, spending full days in the pool, or snorkeling among dolphins, nurse sharks and tropical fish. I'm looking forward to kicking off 2018, with activities my entire family will remember for decades to come.
To Start the Year off Right
Photo credit Flickr: Christopher William Adach
Last year ended with hardship, and while my family will forever refuse to forget the loved ones we lost in 2017, we're eager to kick 2018 off on a brighter note. We'll be taking the bathing suits bought us on vacation, and thinking of her every single day, but we'll also be starting a new year with a fresh perspective. After all, our loved ones wouldn't want us to sit around sulking. They'd want our kids to be flourishing, and the postcard-worthy beaches, jungles and ruins of Belize are where we'll be able to do just that.
Because Belize Is Perfect for Kids
Choosing travel destinations with two kids in tow is different than choosing destinations that will just make us parents happy. Sure, the Bahamas offer five-star resorts with open bar policies where dad and I would have a blast. However, the kids don't get a true understanding of the local culture and other ways of life from within the confines of a fancy resort.
Belize is a destination that fully engages the entire family, from once-in-a-lifetime cave tubing expeditions to fishing with locals and sipping from fresh coconuts on the powder white sand. Kids get a chance to dine at fresh, local food stands, buy handmade items from locals in San Ignacio and fully engage in a different way of life. That's the type of stuff that just doesn't happen at Beaches or Disney World.
To Take a Break
Photo credit Flickr: trevoronim
As much as we are all excited for the adventure our trip to Belize will hold, we're all excited (even the kids) to take a break from the stresses of daily life. The hardships of 2017 made schoolwork tough to complete, Christmas difficult to enjoy and working amongst it all a constant struggle. Through love and togetherness, we made it through, but it's safe to safe we could all use a few days of lounging on the sand to decompress from it all.
It's easy to get distracted by our stress levels as parents and how badly we feel we need time off from all of our duties -- especially during crisis. But our kids suffer many of the same stresses, and they need their breaks too. A vacation to Belize means no work, no school, and time for us all to unplug and enjoy one another's company, while taking a nap or two.
Because We've Learned a Lot
The factor that drove me to finally click "book" on our family trip to Belize is that we've learned so much in the past few months. Through the loss of my mother, we've learned that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and if you truly want to do something, now is the best time to do it. While we won't be throwing our responsibilities to the wind in 2018 (and future years), there's no doubt we'll be sweating the small stresses of daily life a lot less.
Throughout 2017, we learned that items can sit on your bucket list forever, and someday, something may happen, and you're no longer able to do those things you so badly wanted to do. So this year, at least for a little while, we're throwing caution to the wind and checking one of those items off our list immediately. Whether the trip goes well, or is a complete disaster with flight delays, sunburns and boring tours, we won't be wondering what would have happened.
In 2018, I'm vowing to teach my kids not to let life pass them by, because every day and every moment is precious. In just 25 days, we'll be taking off work, checking out of school and boarding our very first flight to Belize.
Where is 2018 going to take your family, and what is driving you to travel there? Did something happen in 2017 that's driving your New Year's resolution? Let us know, as we'd love to share our journey with you and learn more about yours.