Once Upon a Time in Mayakoba
Over the last decade, I’ve been on many mom-daughter trips with Coco. We’ve been here, there, and her travel journal is overflowing with details, but it wasn’t until our recent trip to Mayakoba, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula that I realized she and I had never really traveled together. All of our big trips, Hubs has been with us because we’re a small family of three and we really enjoy experiencing things all-together. Coco and I have always been very close, but it was during our stay in Mayakoba I felt an even deeper connection with her once you strip away swim practice, theater class, school, homework, and everything else on our social calendars. There was something about being together, just her and I, in another country and an unfamiliar area that made this trip so special. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I will ever find the words to properly convey how important this trip was to me as a mother. And I owe it all to Mayakoba.
So it finally happened. We travelled somewhere I didn’t feel the need to incessantly take photos. But when I did, each one was more magical than the last. It had been a long time since my last visit to Riviera Maya just south of Playa del Carmen so I thought I would be like the paparazzi, but I was wrong. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to remember every detail, or that something was amiss, but it was because the entire time I felt so present within my own mind, body and soul.
It was a solace that could only be described as beautiful. Without speaking a word, I could tell Coco felt the same way. As we would walk through the lush pathways of the Fairmont Mayakoba, we spoke softly, holding hands, spotting different wildlife, and embracing the uncomfortable silence that was oddly comfortable. For the first time in a long time, and maybe even the first for her, we were experiencing a journey that wasn’t just devoted to posting our lives on Facebook or on Instagram.
Time in Mayakoba seems to stand still. I learned in that time the difference between what it is like to live, love and experience life, on a whole new level. How to settle my soul and turn-down the white noise that inhabits our day-to-day life. Those careless whispers that haunt you because there is always something to do. Or worse, something you are forgetting to do, or meaning to do. For my days in Mayakoba meant my iCal didn’t exist. I learned here that my to-do lists do not matter. Just spending time with Coco and planning our return visit was all I cared about.
And she found the same peace. I didn’t say it out loud, but I really didn’t want the days to end. And neither did she. At night Coco would fight off exhaustion because she knew the sooner she fell asleep the sooner the next day would come. Each morning was one day closer to returning to reality. After only a few hours in Mayakoba, nothing can prepare you for life back in the “real world.” That’s the beauty and magic of Mayakoba, it’s the perfect escape.
Each morning we’d wake up and sit on our balcony perched on the the lagoon. We’d listen for wild howler monkeys, wave to the Duffy boats, and enjoy some fruit. It was exactly the kind of mom/daughter experience I would imagine us having one day when she was an infant. As she gets older, I can feel her slipping through the cracks of my fingers like sand, but I am holding on for dear life. I want her to go out in the world, I swear I do, just not yet, I hope 10 never ends.
On the flip side of the peso, I can only dream that one day she will have the same experience with her child. A relationship where words and movement aren’t always necessary. Where smiles, and glances speak volumes, and they are content with doing nothing and everything all at the same time. Except when it comes to nibbling on chocolates of course.
A Delicious Experience: El Pueblito Cooking School
The next time I write about Mayakoba, I’ll be sharing with you in great detail about the private cooking class we took at the cucina inside the El Pueblito. It was without a doubt our most favorite part of the trip for so many reasons. And if you asked each one of us, I bet you’d hear a different reason why. I loved learning how to make authentic Mexican food with Chef Karla Enciso with the most delicious farm-to-table ingredients from the farmers’ market, along side amazing people (whom we now consider good friends and have even returned to Mexico to visit!) We were having such a nice afternoon that even though I lead what I would consider a “dry-life,” I did something I never do, and shared delicious bottle of wine with new friends over lunch.
For four hours, we prepped the food with the children, laughed, shared stories, tried habanero peppers, and formed friendships. It felt more as though we were long lost family celebrating a holiday in the kitchen, than a couple of strangers learning to cook the most delicious authentic Mexican meal I’ve ever tasted. At cooking class, Coco became immediate friends with a local boy named, Jaime, whom she adored with good reason. Chef Karla, Jaime’s dad, and I stuck around finishing up this amazing lunch and drinking that delicious Cab, while Coco and Jaime explored the El Pueblito and beyond. He practiced his English, and played the role of translator for Coco, needless to say, together their “Spanglish” was on point.
They soon found themselves on a self-guided nature adventure where they searched for wildlife along the hiking trail and golf course, spotted snakes, and canoed down the channels with a guide learning even more about the lagoons, mangroves, birds like the Great Blue Heron, and even saw some baby crocodiles swimming beneath them.
When I think back to the beginning of The JetSet Family, this trip to Mayakoba beautifully captures the reason in my heart I began this blog. To give my daughter chances to escape at times and live a life out of a storybook. She mentioned one night before bed that she felt as though she had fallen into a novel and became a character in an adventure series she had only read in books. And that is magical.
Being a grown-up is hard, but so is being a child, especially a tween or preteen is just as daunting. In fact, in some ways I think it might be even harder because whereas we have the tools, they are just learning them. She is going to have her whole life to be responsible, and work hard, but I also want her to know what it is like to enjoy this beautiful life right now because you only get one. And the people around you that you love with all of your heart only have one as well. So go on that trip, take that chance, love the one your with, and baby girl, if you want something figure out how to make it happen because the world is yours.
See you soon, Mayakoba!
Have you visited Mayakoba?
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