The dirt road blurs past me under my bicycle tires. I grip the handles tight to stay steady with each bump and lean forward to get as much speed as possible. I am the invincible swamp princess, faster than light, flying down the hill with great delight!
Growing up on the countryside, there were endless possibilities for imagination and endless possibilities to end up with some scrapes and bruises. Even so, I wouldn’t change those memories for anything.
I would head back to the house for a temporary timeout to get patched up. I am convinced it was the magical hugs and loving encouragement that helped me jump right into my next adventure.
Even now, life’s emotional scrapes may require a little timeout to get patched up, a hug to feel better, and encouragement to keep going.
Did you know that science has determined a hug that lasts 20 seconds has medical healing qualities that can relieve depression and anxiety? I think that’s pretty amazing!
Hugs. What an interesting thing we humans do, right? Tradition and culture drives some of this for sure.
We hug our kids, our pets, our friends, and our families. Hug when you arrive and hug when you leave. Hug for celebration and hug for consolation. I remember growing up we would say goodbye and give all our hugs then chat a little longer and give another goodbye hug or two before actually leaving.
All hugs are meaningful and good for the soul. I think it is because it connects us and exchanges the love we share, and we still need that connection.
Things have changed in the recent days and hugs are, for now, off limits. It is more challenging to find ways to connect and encourage others. And the world really needs that now. Whether it is loss, loneliness, joblessness, isolation, sickness, fear, anxiety, most of us are feeling something these days that is bringing us down.
Sometimes we need the hug and sometimes we can give the hug, so I am here to offer you my warmest virtual hug. #Freehugs
I believe that knowing someone cares is a big virtual hug. I am sure you can remember a time when you melted into a hug.
It came at the right time and someone knew you needed it. All worries melted away, time stood still, and love surrounded. With renewed strength and courage, you would exhale and know you can face another day.
So I hope you can melt into this virtual hug as it belongs to you, by way of encouragement and love. Wherever and whoever you are, be encouraged.
Because you are important, and I care. You have strength inside you bigger than you understand, that will help you to move on beyond brokeness. You are courageous to face things we have never seen in our lifetime and maybe never will again. I know it is scary, and things we were used to may now forever change. I know and I understand.
I also understand you have an amazing spirit of resiliancy. You are smart and amazing. No one is like you. Your uniqueness brings something in this world that no one else can. There is goodness and greatness in you and you can let that shine to give those around you hope. Always remember that.
So please, take a free virtual hug. If you don’t need a hug, someone else might. If you are able and willing, please pass it on. Gift that virtual hug of love and encouragement to someone in need.
When I awoke this morning, the Carnival Glory had already been firmly secured to the Mahogany Bay pier in Roatan, Honduras for quite a while. I have been to this port once before and only ventured as far as the Mahogany Bay Beach adjacent the port.
Today, we are heading to Infinity Beach and Resort, a brand new experience. I love that my friend, Carl, has arranged all the details to and from and all that, he is very good and I trust his plan as it has always been a good time!
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I woke up a little later than I should have because I was up late doing some pretty fun stuff such as the Love and Marriage Show, Quest Show, and Casino time on the ship. I definitely need to pick up a coffee before anything. It is a good thing I don’t need any math skills for a Beach Day!
The Atrium is the perfect place to wait for other people from our group. With my coffee, I sat down in the big orange chair. Goosebumps appear on my legs because the chair is cold where the jean shorts end and my skin touches the pretend leather. On the other hand, it’s nice to have warm hands from the coffee.
I am excited and a little nervous to visit Infinity Beach. I have been to Roatan before, but I’ve never left port. It has either been Coxen hole port shopping, just never beyond the gate where they post a sign leave at your own risk. That has always been in the back of my mind, and it has deterred me from wanting to adventure farther. The other time, I spent a glorious day at the Mahogany Bay Beach, you don’t leave the port for that either. So this is a very new experience for me. I know it’s usually a lot of worry without any substantial backing, but that is the real me, I do worry.
My thoughts go to my friends, I can’t help think of the fun I’ve already had on this cruise. From laughs to full on guffaws that make your eyes water and you lose your breath is what you get from this group of friends. There is not much in life that can match that. I am so very grateful for those moments and those people, all of which have been forever stamped on my heart.
It wasn’t long and we were all ready and off the ship. The air is warm and the sunshine greets me like an old friend. It’s a beautiful port. Lush and green, to the right you can see the port beach and the ski lift chairs in the sky and to the left is the Duty Free shop where you cannot see beyond because of the trees.
In this port, like many others they force you through the duty free shop. It is air conditioned with lots of goods and snacks, it’s actually a nice looking shop, I just did not need anything and was carrying plenty already.
I passed the Mahogany Bay welcome sign up the path from the Duty Free Shop and then continue up the slight incline to the port area. This really is a nice area if you do not want to leave and just shop or go to the beach with direct access from this port. I love the beach area here, it is so very nice, clean, safe, and beautiful. It’s just a walk down the hill through the jungle looking trees, there are benches along the way and natural photo op spots. It’s also a great place to get a nice picture of the ship from the ocean. See my pictures from my last trip to Mahogany Bay.
The port is one of the nicest I have seen, there are wide paths to walk, places to sit, really cool stores, and a couple places for drinks or food. I think you could see a few Diamonds International type shops, but many others too.
It is hot and muggy out today, I am already warm and I have quite a trek ahead of me. I am heading all the way through the other side of the port past the taxi and bus area, up the hill, out of the secure port area to meet the privately arranged taxi. Whew! It was definitely a little hike, but well worth it, we reached our guy at the bottom of the hill. I will endure this minor headache to see what lies ahead and a little water will help. Although, so would that advil I stuck in my beach bag, oh wait, I didn’t so there’s that. I brought the largest water from the ship so that I could have plenty and my head thanks me.
The taxi was a van and many from our group were coming along, it has quite a few seats so its roomy but only because we did not fill the whole van. I think there was a sigh of relief when there was air conditioning.
And we are off on the small roads of Roatan. It seems they are working on improving a lot of the roads, I saw construction and some of the buildings are being rebuilt. We stopped at a couple overlooks where you could see a couple of ships – Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and the Norwegian Dawn. It was neat seeing the ships from on top this hill or small mountain. Colorful shops lined the edge of the parking space and vendors young and old were trying to entice anyone to come look at their goods.
We also drove by what is called West Beach. This is an obvious tourist area. There are people walking and shopping, crisscrossing the street as the cars slowly drive by. A few restaurants out on piers over the ocean mixed in with watercraft rentals, water taxis, and beachy things shop. It was super cute and nothing unsafe about it. You could tell many tourists come here to spend their day and I completely understand why.
Soon we arrived at Infinity Bay Resort. They have a swim day pass for $20 all day, pool and beach. Out the door of the resort and down the hill I was greeted by a huge infinity pool, it is clean and bright, flowers and plants line the area where they have loungers and sitting chairs with tables. There is a bridge that cuts the pool in half with “Infinity Bay” written across it. Looking past the pool you can see the ocean, and it definitely calls to my heart.
The beach is incredible, the water is that light blue for the entire beach, it turns darker out a ways where some of my friends snorkels that day. I am so excited to get in that water. I found my way back to the group to check in and pay for our wristband, but not before I was stopped 3 or 4 times by beach vendors. I almost bought a bracelet as they are very convincing that I should take their deal. They had some cute ones with turtles or shark teeth. It was a good deal I am sure, I just don’t think I need anything. Off to find our chair and get in the water. They offer food and drink in their bar area right off the beach, too.
The water was cool, and my feet were filled with delight to feel the sand under my toes. No shells!! I love this beach, to my right as I walked in was a pier with a couple small boats, to my left I saw a blow up water slide and underwater space masks as an excursion. I was right where I needed to be, the sun warm on my face and the cool of the water surrounding me. I believe I was out there over an hour before coming back in.
I found the bathroom which was near the bridge over the pool, its down the stairs. I nearly fell as the tile was slippery, that would have been a surprise. I could only imagine breaking something on vacation! Thankfully, it was no big deal. Shake it off!!
I decided to sit on a chair near the pool to dry off and reapply sun lotion. The weather today couldn’t be more perfect, the company of friends also had me smiling. It’s so good to vacation with amazing people. This is absolutely one of my favorite things about cruising.
A couple of lizards or iguanas blessed me with their presence before quickly making their escape in the nearby greenery. I find it so odd to see those large creatures at a pool just feet away from me, yet it must be so normal here, in this little slice of paradise.
I’ve dried off enough and I would like to try that pool. It’s so intriguing, there is a waterfall at the bridge and it is curvy and interesting, plus, you can go to the edge and look out at the crystal clear water. If you stand back it looks like the pool is connected to the ocean, so your crystal clear blue green keeps going and going as far as you can see.
Climbing in the pool was not hard there were steps and railings to help. After the near fall I may have been a bit more careful than I needed. I spend the next hour at the pool, soaking and visiting. It was exactly what I needed today.
It’s back to the ship for all of us. I can feel I got a little sun, but it’s not bad. It is 130pm and I am hungry, we all are. I chose not to eat at that restaurant on the beach and will eat back on the ship. The taxi was able to drop us right at the port so we didnt have to make the trek up the steep hill. A small walk through the port shopping, and I won’t lie, that Mahogany Bay Beach was calling me. If I wasn’t tired and hungry I would have gone, and I may regret it, that beach is lovely. I feel it is one of the prettiest beaches at a cruise port I have been to with such a breeze to get to, just down a path from the ship. Maybe soon I will be back to enjoy that for the day.
Back in the room, I stretched out on the bed, here I had a moment to think, this day really was a highlight of my week. Good times, good friends, and making memories, that’s what it’s all about. Finally showered and changed, I am all ready for the evening.
I was a little early to meet everyone for drinks at the Alchemy Bar, so my husband, Brian, and I played a little in the casino, we ended up ahead a couple hundred dollars after just a few minutes and hitting a good bonus. That’s exciting! What a great way to start the evening!
Just a short walk from the casino, is the Alchemy Bar. It looks like a science lab, with flasks and drawers for ingredients. We sit around a round counter on high stools watching what appear to be science experiments. One French Kiss for me, drink that is, although I cannot say I mind the other. My drink is red and it has berries at the bottom, sparkling wine and lime juice. It’s a sip and snack all on one! We also enjoy a complimentary tray of nuts, cheese, and olives a clever combination when you eat them together. Chatting turns to laughing as the first drink sinks in. We all clink and drink, cheers! I would say we are all in a good place when it’s time for dinner.
There is a steel drum and band playing as we walk past the casino, down to level 3 to main dining room. It’s nice to have music in various places on the ship, there is easy listening music in the Atrium Lobby too.
Once we arrive at the restaurant,we are shown to the table near the back. I have pre-ordered my meal, as a gluten free vegetarian. It’s an Indian Dish with chickpea, basmati rice, and thin rice cracker, plus the chocolate melting cake, very good.
There is a hum of chit chat and laughing in the dining room. No doubt, people reliving the day, the adventures they went on or spending the most relaxing day at the edge of the pool. Our table was not excluded from that chatter, not all of us went to the beach and there were stories to told on both sides. Also, I think I may have caught an almost proposal happening among the conversations. Sometimes I just sit back and let everyone do the talking, I love seeing people interact and I am taking in every moment, and I am so lucky to be here at this moment with these people, so very lucky.
Of course I never mind dinner takes a while with friends, it is longer than usual, which is fine. I’m so full I don’t think I can move a whole lot anyways, but if I sit, I may fall asleep.
After dinner, it’s to the casino, it’s time to see if we can repeat our Max bet group pull. All of us get our turn to hit the button. This is so much fun with friends, the excitement is high, we are cheering each other on, and happy even with small wins. We did not come out winners, but the smiles on our faces show that we are winners, in friendship, that counts for something, right? Better luck next time.
I am getting tired, so I go and sit by the windows on the couches bear the casino. This is a neat spot and you can people watch. Often there is a band playing on the small stage near the casino bar. It’s nice to relax a bit.
After a short visit, I decide to head to bed, it’s another nice sea day tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it!
Deb and I are born travelers. We just aren’t content staying in the same places and never going anywhere. In one of our more amusing and honestly…crazy…episodes, we once drove from Minneapolis, MN to Madison, WI for lunch. Yes, we drove 4 hours, had lunch, turned around and drove home. Thanks to finding and thoroughly enjoying the vlogs on YouTube we wanted to start putting together our life’s scrapbook of all these adventures. We now live in beautiful Pensacola, FL.
Our travelling started out right away when we were married in June of 1994. We were somewhat limited in excess funds, so our honeymoon was a road trip to….wait for it….romantic Madison, Wisconsin! Later that year, we booked ourselves a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. It was the first flight ever for either of us and the first time in Florida. Since then, we were full blown Disney nerds, taking our kids to Walt Disney World over 25 times.
It is only in recent years that the Disney bug left us, and was replaced with Florida Beaches (Destin, I’m looking at you…) and Las Vegas. That is, until February of 2017. We took a ride for a week on the Norwegian Escape cruise ship and fell completely in love with cruising.
In between those Disney trips we’ve been to a lot of places: Nashville, Anaheim, Dallas, Branson, Hilton Head Island, Destin, Biloxi, Denver, Rapid City, Las Vegas, Wisconsin Dells, Chicago, NASCAR in Kansas City, and more. Hopefully, we’re able to keep going to see even more.