3 lessons learned from Puerto Rico

I’m writing this after a few days of rest to recover my recent trip to Puerto Rico! You know it’s a good trip when you need a rest after vacation! I kicked off my new year of abundance by celebrating adventure and exploring. My trip was amazing and provided 3 lessons learned from Puerto Rico. Keep reading to learn how traveling can improve your life.

The fun of celebrating life after cancer

I need to clear something up – I was advised years ago that I shouldn’t write about my travels on this blog because my niche isn’t travel (so in the blogging world, I would confuse my topics). But this blog’s focus has always been on living beyond cancer and celebrating life, no matter where you are in your life. My life. Your life. The beauty of living in general. And, honestly, I write about whatever topic appeals to me with the hope that it also appeals to many of you (not overly strategic I know). I’ve been told by my readers that the variety of topics is what brings you back. So I’m going to keep doing what I enjoy – focus on celebrating life and hopefully motivate my readers to do the same!

Traveling is part of my life. A big goal in my life. It reminds me of my goal to live beyond any disease, challenge, detour in my life. Because travel is one of my passions, the anticipation of a trip keeps me motivated and focused on celebrating life. And that is certainly my goal of this blog. So, if you don’t want to read about my travels…..you can use the ‘search’ bar at the top to find a topic that you do want to read about. 🙂

Exploring near and far on Puerto Rico

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get back to my trip to Puerto Rico! This was the second time I’ve been to the island. I enjoyed my first time yet also knew I had barely scratched the surface of activities and geography. A few months ago, I decided that I needed to plan an escape from Michigan’s cold winter in January. After a quick flight search to a few warm weather locations, I found a very reasonable flight option to Puerto Rico. I happen to be hanging out that day with some girlfriends and when I asked if anyone wanted to go with me, one of my friends instantly said yes. I knew we’d be a great travel team (and we were!). American friends: Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, meaning no passports required and US dollars are used.

Feeding wild horses on Vieques was amazing!

We powwowed a bit before our trip, throwing out various ideas and activity interests. It was tough narrowing down – honestly, we’d need to be there for a month with all the ideas we listed! We only had eight days. An awesome eight days. We moved around the island a lot, and still didn’t see it all! (So yes, I have to return again!)

From the beaches of Luquillo to a treehouse and hiking in El Yunque National Rainforest to the history and culture of Old San Juan to playing with wild horses on the island of Vieques and more, this was a magical adventure.

3 lessons learned from Puerto Rico:

Be flexible.

Flexibility, calm and an open-mind are keys to enjoying travel. Just like life, you can plan and prepare all you want, but unexpected things happen. For instance, we originally booked direct flights. That changed a month before we left, and changed again. The new times messed up our lodging plan for the first/last days so we made the best of it by expanding our trip by two days (thankfully we could with minimal cost)!

On the flip side, we also on a whim decided to buy ferry tickets to the island of Vieques to search out the wild horses and see the beautiful beaches so often written about. It was SO worth the rocky ferry ride!

Embrace new experiences.

Nature always helps you learn lessons

Being open to new experiences and activities brings so many benefits to your life. It opens your mind, teaches new skills, provides varying viewpoints, builds resilience and character and can help you grow in mind and spirit.

As much as I enjoy camping, I admit that I was a little skeptical about staying in a treehouse in the rainforest (it didn’t help that previous reviews mentioned lizards hanging out in the bathroom and seeing snakes!). But I knew that my friend really wanted to experience this and I was genuinely interested – the pictures looked amazing. So I said yes without much hesitation. And wow, am I so glad that I did!

Between the views, the peace, the uninterrupted time hanging out with my friend (so many laughs and great conversations), and simply the unique experience, it was a beautiful time (while it’s definitely not for everyone, it had more amenities than we knew). And while we saw a few geckos hanging out on the deck, we saw no snakes and nothing got into the living space (one mischievous gecko did try a few times but in fairness, I was talking to it a lot on the deck).

Be present in the moments.

One of the things that I love about traveling is that I focus on the present moments – my morning, the day’s activities, conversations, experiences, senses. No future tripping, no worrying about what’s happening the following week, no being completely available to manage other people’s issues and problems (of course, my family could reach me in emergencies). I also made a point to avoid social media as much as possible (I manage some accounts for a living) and also kept my phone away when engaging with my friend and others throughout the trip. It was actually REALLY refreshing and rewarding for my mental and emotional health.

You don’t have to go far to explore

These are just a few of the lessons learned from Puerto Rico. The history, culture, nature and more make it a true gem on our Earth. If you haven’t visited, I hope you get the chance to experience this. Most importantly, I’m so glad that I said yes to these experiences.

But keep in mind that you don’t have to travel far to learn these type of lessons. So often, we forget to look around our communities or areas easily accessible to us. When I started hiking and biking more often, I discovered so many cool parks and trails within an hour or two drive from me! It’s been fun exploring my region and learning new things.

What about you? Do you like to travel? What lesson has traveling taught you? Share in the comments!

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  1. Heather, you are amazing and my inspiration. I’ve been to pr and loved it and like you, a repeat trip is much needed. I’m intrigued by the bioluminescent waters they have there! Major goal to visit and kayak! Thank you for all of your positive posts and I LOVE reading about your travels.

    1. Nancy, thank YOU for your kind words and support – I’ve always appreciated your smiles and kindness. 🙂 And yes, you need to return to Puerto Rico! I’ve done the bio bay kayaking – it’s awesome (it was also a clear, gorgeous night when I went – so many stars).

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