Greetings from Monaco on this January 9th at 10 something in the a.m…..which is also the best day of all 366 days this year (leap year this year) because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY 🎉🎁👯💃🏿🎶!!
I don’t think the weather Gods got the memo because it’s a lil overcast with a taste of drizzle here in Monaco!
I can’t begin to tell you how at peace I am as I enter this new year of 42 of my life (my birthday AND 2016)! It’s truly an internal peace that comes from knowing I control my own destiny; I don’t require the approval of anyone else for my choices and decisions; I am perfectly fine in the skin I’m in; the opinions of others of me is none of my business and therefore I focus on LIVING fully every single day for myself in order to ensure I have lived my BEST life.
This “Journey to my birthday” has been all about self, unabashedly selfish, solely about my needs, wants, and desires mentally, visually and spiritually.
I visualized this journey a few months ago but without specifics and as the power of mind goes that which we think and truly visualize will materialize (good, bad, and otherwise).
As much as I enjoy traveling with and creating moments/memories with others I needed to do this with no disruptions nor interferences. So it was designed as my solo getaway to reset, detox, and be all about self.
There was little communication and not a single invitation extended (although a dear friend of mine invited themselves lol but totally understood and respected my vision…more on that in a later post). I’m glad I made the decision to be one with myself on this voyage to 42!
As I wrap up this journey here in the French Riviera I will leave with a continued sense of gratitude for all things, moments and experiences; with a continued zest to explore every nook and cranny of this great big world; with a passion to continue to be the best me I can possibly be while hopefully inspiring others to do the same!
For you I say get out of your own way and go for what you want, live your best life and strive to do something that scares you even a little bit for it will be the catalyst to enable you to experience things you’ve only dreamed!
It is NO secret that I enjoy a journey, exploring new lands, experiencing new things. So it should come as no surprise that every now and again I try to drag bring others along with me. Rewind to October 2014. Well actually it was some time prior to that but October is when the actual journey began.
Picture this: my good girlfriend and sister share the same birthday and neither had been out of the country since returning from Germany where our parents were both stationed (military brats we all are). I told them I wanted to do something special for their birthdays – just because – and all they needed to do was renew their long-expired passports and secure their flights as accommodations and such would be on me.
So began my planning. Now sometimes I will travel on the fly and on the offchance I actually do pre-planning it’s never much farther than a month or so in advance (with the exception of my birthday celebration to Bali but again that involved other people accompanying me so I try to be more mindful of schedules, pockets, etc). In this case, I gave the gals a good 6 months or so to ensure everyone had plenty time to get themselves together for this birthday celebration (to include the 2 birthday girls securing their passport renewals). A small part of me wasn’t sure they would meet my our deadline but lo and behold they came through. Now of course I made it no secret that I was going with or without them lol but I played cheerleader every step of their passport renewal process because I really wanted them to experience this adventure.
So check: Passports completed; check: flights secured; check: accommodations booked and paid for; check: meet up and transportation details finalized. Off we were for Playa del Carmen. Why here? Well I didn’t wanna totally take them out of their comfort zones by going somewhere exotic or say with a much longer flight. I knew that we wanted beach time, a little partying, an easy breezy and free kinda place that wasn’t gonna break the bank. Mexico is always a good place for easy breezy or atleast has been to me on my various voyages there so I figured what better place than here!
My goal was to find accommodations more along the lines of a condo, house, or villa of sorts so we could all be under one roof and to enable less of a vacation feel and more of a “I live here part time” feel lol! Looking around on one of my favorite sites – Booking.com – I came across a few digs I thought would be sufficient but still weren’t sure they fit the bill. I also did a few random “Villa” searches on Google to see what I could come up with as well. Sidebar: People are often shocked that I don’t use a travel agent until I tell them how easy and much more flexible I find it to do my research, booking, etc. myself. I realize there are “levels” to this travel thing and those who explore seem to be more free than those who just ‘vacation’ if you will.
Anyhoo, I settled on a property that had 2 sister sites and on sight (virtually that is) appeared to be THE perfect digs for us and so I booked it. – Maya Villa & Condos right there in Playa del Carmen, near 5th Avenue, the beaches, restaurants, clubs, etc.
So our adventure began. Three of us were on the same flight coming from Atlanta while my sister was flying in from Orlando. Once we landed we just posted up at the airport sipping cocktails waiting for my sister to arrive so that we could make the most of the same transportation.
It drizzled a little bit enroute which almost put a damper on my spirits but as is customary, it didn’t last too long. By the time we reached Maya Villas any concerns of rain I had quickly dissipated. I recall pulling up to what looked like a random building with these steep steps only to find out that the check-in office was just up the street in a totally different building. Being the responsible party I made my way over to complete the check-in and obtain any information necessary to aid in making this trip that much more special for my birthday girls.
Once I finished the check-in process I returned to where I left the girls who had already been let into our “temporary home” only to be met with approvals on the digs. Upon entry I, too, was pleasantly pleased with my selection. For more on the Maya Villa & Condos check out my Where I’ve Stayed, Played, and Layed! We were all pretty stoked about the digs considering I once again made a reservation based solely on my personal research and not an actual referral.
For the 3.5 days of our stay I left the schedule pretty open as to not overwhelm anyone and really because I prefer to not be held down to a schedule so I can explore and wander. The only thing I planned in advance was the birthday dinner which happen to be the very night we arrived.
Arrival and Birthday Dinner
After arriving and getting settled into our digs it wasn’t long before we began to get ourselves together for our dinner reservations. I chose a lovely spot solely based on its menu and it did NOT disappoint – Plank – which was right down the block from our digs. We hit the cobblestone walkway and made our way to Plank.
There was lobster and prawns and sole (fish) and mac n cheese (with more lobster) and cocktails and pure gluttony. Need more proof? Check out “Plank not Planking in Playa del Carmen” and bring a napkin to help catch the drool lol! Not only was this a great meal it was a wonderful way to kick-start our trip while celebrating the 2 birthdays! Afterwards we headed out for a little club hopping.
By leaving our time pretty free, it enabled us to just stumble upon things which we largely did especially once our 5th guest arrived. By then I’d made my rounds to the supermercado and fell upon a cigar shop where I copped a few to include some Cohibas. The rest of the day we basically wandered around which was an adventure in itself.
When I tell you this was a total “oink oink” moment (as my friend Erica says).
So in preparation for the birthday celebration, I used Tripadvisor and a few other sites to get the skinny on some highly recommended restaurants for this very special birthday for my friend whom this trip was planned for. After looking at menus and some reviews, I chose Plank in Playa del Carmen right down from our villa/condo. It was pure gluttony as we wanted everything on the menu and tried to order everything lol! The birthday girls enjoyed their special dinner which made the meal even better!
If you ever in Playa del Carmen, please stop by Plank as the staff was great, service was superb, and the food was the icing on the cake!