Have you ever felt like you needed a fresh start?
Ever dream about getting rid of all your stuff and just being a nomad for a while?
If you got the chance, would you do it?
In November of 2021 I quit my job, sold my house and most of my possessions and hit the road. I managed to get a job that was fully remote so it wasn’t as totally bold as it sounds. But then I lost that job so now I AM officially a bird on the wing!
First stop was only about 4 hours from New Orleans. Set up camp in Rosemary Beach, Florida. I rented a place there for 6 months. The beaches are GORGEOUS, but it was still winter so beach days were more ” sweatpants and hot chocolate” than “bikini and beer”.
Perfect Beach Day Defined
A perfect beach day includes several key elements – sunny skies, handful of clouds, water the color of sea glass, flawless powder white sand and adorable little sanderlings running back and forth at the waters edge. As with most days in life, if there are more birds around you than people you are doing something right.
The icing on the cake is if that beach has a decent fish shack that serves rum drinks and cold beer. Crabby Steve’s on Seaside Beach fits the bill. They were closed for season so I only got to indulge a few times before I moved on. Their Cinco Wrap (grilled grouper cheeks with a jalapeno slaw) was the freaking bomb.
I took a few trips during that first 6 months. Las Vegas for Christmas, a business/pleasure trip to Colorado in January and a “winter warmer” in Cabo San Lucas Mexico to thaw out from Colorado. Then one not so fun trip home.
Vegas was a lot less sexy than I remember it and twice as expensive. The highlight was an over-the-top spa day at the Wynn on Christmas Day. Check out the samadhi experience at the Wynn Las Vegas spa – I would rate that as a top spa experience ever only behind one I had in Costa Rica 10 years ago. It was a 2-hr indulgence that was part massage, part reflexology and part sound bowl healing. My service provider was obviously well trained and also passionate about her craft and it translated into a cosmic experience that I much needed that day.
For shows, I went to the Nevada Ballet’s Nutcracker which was FANTASTIC. It was the final night, and when Clara came out for her final ovation she got a surprise marriage proposal from her boyfriend on stage – yay!! I also saw the Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil…definitely not the best Cirque show I’ve seen but I still had a great time and more importantly I had a fabulous outfit that Michael would have approved of. Last but not least, I saw Absinthe which was raunchy and absolutely hysterical.
She Eats Alone
I had quite a few boujee meals, none of which were as good they should have been. Eating enjoyably as a solo is an interesting experiment that most restaurants fail. Most don’t know quite what do with me. It’s like they’ve seen a bird they can’t quite identify. Is it friendly? Or predatory?
The exception in Vegas was Christmas night at Casa Playa at Encore. Had a spectacular flight of mezcal paired with food, a lovely conversation with the general manager who procures said mezcal and an invitation to call him when I go to Oaxaca later this year for a mezcal tour hook up. THAT is what eating solo should look like every time.
Austin Powers Is A Pilot For American?
On my trip to Denver, as we were landing, the pilot comes on the overhead and it turns out to be Austin Powers. Or someone doing a damn good impersonation of him. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m charmed to report that we will be landing in short order. The time is 10:55pm and it is a BRACING 7 degrees outside. Brrrr!”
I looked around and it was like I was the only person who heard it. It was totally hysterical but no one else seemed to benefit. Oh well. It WAS a bracing 7 degrees when we landed, and snowing like crazy and my rental car driver’s side window wouldn’t roll up after I pulled out of the airport so I drove like that all the way into Denver. Anyway…..
Moved By The Mountains
There were 2 reasons I decided to extend my stay in Colorado after the business part. I have some life-long friends that live near Boulder that I was dying to see, and I was seriously contemplating spending the summer in Boulder (or somewhere in Colorado but Boulder seemed like a good bet).
The life-long friend part was awesome. VERY boujee dinner at Corrida in Boulder. They have a wonderful dining room, great vibe for a special night out and views of the Flat Irons. I’m posting some of our food and the bottle of wine because it was all totally post-worthy.
The picture with the bread was some kind of brie cheese that they had pressed a honeycomb into. Give me 4 more of those please. Charred octopus. Because the Spainairds know how to do charred octopus. While I’m sure I’ll never find this bottle of wine again, my friends texted me to let me know they found and bought a case the next day. Those are my kind of people!
The Road Unexpectedly Traveled
The next day I made what turned out to be an unexpectedly epic road trip to check out possible living situations for the summer. Pictures will tell it better than I will, but the path went from Boulder to Ft. Collins (Horseshoe Reservoir was absolutely spectacular) and then to Estes Park through the Roosevelt National Forest then back to Denver International.
To reward myself for all this driving? Himalayan Curry & Kebab in Estes Park. is there anything better on a cold night than curry?
When I got back from Colorado, I couldn’t get warm. The house I was renting had a soaking tub in the master but the water would not get hot. I had maintenance out there like 10 times with no solution. The maintenance guy actually told me that “the tub was made that way so it wouldn’t burn you”. I told him to strip down naked and get into that cold water and then tell me that again. I was pissed.
That night, I went online and booked a weekend trip to Cabo San Lucas at 10pm on a Friday night using credit card and airline points. Then I got on the plane at 6am the next morning. I was on the beach by 1pm MST. And then I canceled my return flight and stayed 10 days.
I love Mexico. Check out my Mexico page for some travel ideas. In Cabo, I highly recommend Garza Blanca. I don’t usually do all-inclusive due to food being unacceptable but this trip was all about sun and sand and getting a tan to the point that even food became expendable. Garza Blanca has a couple of resorts in Mexico and they are supposedly known for their food being above average for all-inclusive so I took the chance. Plus they had a sushi restaurant on site so I figured between ceviche and sushi I would not starve.
I could have survived off the ceviche on the pool menu. I have no pictures of that. None lasted long enough. They had great drinks, great service and OUTSTANDING rooms. I barely even looked at what I booked. I didn’t care. My room was a HUGE apartment. Period. Master bedroom. Soaking tub AND walk in shower. A bidet with heated seats and his/her settings plus a remote control so you can get it JUST RIGHT. My ex-husband the gastroenterologist would have simply died. He loved the bidet.
The room also had a FULL kitchen, dining table, living room, a 2nd half bath and a balcony with a 2nd dining table, couch and HAMMOCK. Did I mention the room had a washer and dryer? Seriously this place was OFF THE HOOK. The entire property was IMMACULATE. I could live there (and almost did because they sell them as residence club properties. One more margarita and I’d probably be south of the border by now.)
La Guardia Nacional
As if this trip couldn’t get any better, I ended up meeting some new friends. I rented a car to take a drive up to La Paz and Todos Santos. I had a blowout in “the middle of the nowhere” as my friend Marvin from Costa Rica would say. My espanol is pretty good, but I was humbled that day as I struggled to get help on the side of the highway. Javier changed my tire and then wanted to by me dinner.
Despite the delay, I still accomplished my mission and made it back to Cabo before sundown. Oh, and I did have a picture of that ceviche….
Making The Best Of It
There were a few weeks after all this indulgence that were no vacation. I got the call to come home and help my family see my mom through her final days on hospice. Everything that could go wrong did, but that mission was also accomplished.
I had one night off to take a break during that 2 week period, so naturally I took myself out for a fabulous New England seafood dinner. I randomly picked Surf in Nashua, New Hampshire. Then again, nothing is random. I believe God delivered that one directly to me. Absolutely spectacular meal paired with a perfect bottle of Viognier, which much like the bottle in Boulder, I shall never see again.
What Happened Next?
I was emotionally exhausted after that last trip. I’m unemployed and about to be homeless (I had 6 days left on my rental by the time I got back from New England.
You know what I really need?
Stay tuned to find out.