Happy Fall!  I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but one of the things I love to do is travel.  I mean is there anyone out there who doesn’t.  It was one of the areas of my life that I intended to focus on in my 50s.  I wanted to cut my expenses, pay off bills so that I could have more money to spend on traveling. 

This year, I had a trip planned for my birthday, another one during my spring break, and intended on celebrating the holidays somewhere else.  All this sprinkled with a road trip or two.   Well, needless to say, all THAT didn’t happen.  However, I was lucky that I got away right before the world shut down.   And just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico to celebrate my best friend’s birthday and purchase of a vacation home.

And let me tell you, traveling is different.  When I went to Miami in February, things felt pretty normal.  When I went to Puerto Rico in September, things felt surreal.  Most of Puerto Rico was on shutdown.  Liquor stores closed at 7, restaurants closed at 10.  All beaches and tourist attractions were closed.  On Sunday anything non-essential was closed.   And NO LIQUOR is sold on Sunday.  Who came up with that bright idea?  Isn’t liquor essential?

Despite all this, we had a great time.  The flight there and back was probably the most stressful experience because both flights were over-crowded and masks were required for the entire flight.  They also are no longer selling booze on the flight. I took a Xanax and passed out.

While in PR, we sang karaoke, cooked, danced in the AirBnb, illegally hit the beaches a couple of times (got fined $200 for parking at one).  Ate a lot of fried food at the Kioskos de Luquillo (a strip mall of small kiosks that sell all types of amazing fried food, seafood, Latin cuisine), and we managed to do a lot of sightseeing.  Because liquor stores close early and restaurants stop serving liquor at 7, we kept a stocked cooler in the car.

Wearing masks was strictly enforced and every establishment required that we had our temperature taken and hands sanitized. 

I am an advocate of solo travel, but don’t know if I would have enjoyed this one as much alone.  There were 7 of us traveling down, and we met up with two more Jerseyans who were already there.  So, you could say we were a nice loud rambunctious group from “Joisey”, taking PR by storm.

I think being in our group and entertaining each other, made us less aware of how quiet our surroundings were.  We tried to feel “normal” while there, but every now and then we were reminded that this was life during a pandemic by a cop signaling us to pull our mask over our nose.

I know there are still many people who are afraid to travel on airplanes.  My mom scolded me and couldn’t believe I was going on “vacation”.  But quite frankly, I thought what’s the difference between sitting here at a restaurant or sitting in Puerto Rico at a restaurant, drinking at home with friends or drinking with friends in PR, or God forbid getting sick here or over there.

As long as we continue to practice social distancing and mask-wearing, I think or hope we will be ok.  Even if you don’t believe it’s a real thing, wear the mask.  If not for you, then for those around you.

This pandemic has already stolen so much, I wouldn’t let it take my chance to celebrate my best friend’s birthday.

PS: We got back on a Tuesday, that following Friday everything opened up. 

I am a 50-year old Latina divorcee who has been on a spiritual journey for, yikes, a really long time. Though I am not where I want to be, each day I do get closer to who I am meant to me.

I co-raised two young ladies and am a grandmother of two spunky, smart and funny kids – Max and Esme.

Education has been my niche for the last 20 years and I don’t know why. I wish someone had given me a career survey in high school or college to realize that #1- I am NOT a morning person and #2- I don’t really like kids, not even my own. So, I am searching for my passion. Not sure what that is yet. But there are a few things I am exploring, writing being one of them (that’s why I am here).

I have issues with commitment, not so much relationships but committing to my goals, putting in the work and seeing things through. But I did commit to making my 50’s the best decade ever. So far so good. I love yoga, traveling and writing; but mostly wine. Yes! I love wine.

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