Next Stop: Mexico's Riviera Maya
I can’t count the number of times I’ve said I’d book a beach vacation when I lost weight. Hundreds? A thousand?
It was the same with our trip to London. I always said I’d travel when the weight dropped off and I felt comfortable in my own skin. My lifelong struggle with weight was holding me back, and the best thing I did last year was say to myself: to heck with it, let’s book this vacation!
Growing up, my family was never big into the beach. My grandparents went to Florida every year as long as they were able, and I tagged along with my parents when I was six months old, but that was the extent of our family beach vacations when I was little. We finally took a trip to Myrtle Beach when I was a teenager, and I went a couple of times after that until about the age of 20. All in all, I’ve only seen the ocean a handful of times – and it’s been 12+ years since the last experience, when I strolled on the Galveston coast with my soon-to-be husband.
Ty and I came to the travel game late, I’m afraid. We never had a real honeymoon, and our trip to London with my brother was the first major trip we’d ever planned. Aside from day trips, weekend getaways, and annual road trips to visit family, big travel plans had never really been within our means. We were devastated by the recession, during which we both found ourselves unemployed and going through a foreclosure (and subsequent bankruptcy). There was even a time when we lived a very nomadic lifestyle, moving across the country from one side of the family to the other looking for work (and free food and housing). We also spent the better part of a decade trying to start a family only to spend who knows how much money – money we couldn’t really spare – on failed fertility meds. My student loan debt coupled with a bankruptcy on our record also means the chances of us ever buying a house again are slim, so it’s likely that we’ll never feel settled, even though that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life.
Rather than view life’s circumstances through the lens of disappointment, I had to look at it another way: if you can’t put down roots, then maybe it’s time to spread your wings.
As we started to focus on travel possibilities, all of life’s disappointments didn’t seem so bad. We’re still not well off, by any means, but we’re choosing to spend what money we do have on making memories. And there’s no way I can let body image issues continue to stand in the way of that.
At the end of this month, we’ll be basking on the beach in the Riviera Maya, fruity mixed drink in hand and working up a painful sunburn (or at least I will be). It’ll probably be sweltering and I’ll melt from the heat and humidity, but I couldn’t be more excited! As someone who hates wearing sleeveless tops or shorts in public, this is a huge step out of my comfort zone. And it’ll be worth it.
I say all this to reiterate: don’t let body image issues hold you back from living. Plan a beach vacation, buy that cute dress, meet up with friends at a trendy bar, go hiking, book a trip to Europe . . . you’ll never feel perfect no matter your weight or age because there’s no such thing, but you’ll always remember that time you took a chance and made some amazing memories.