As a mom it can be tough to really practice self-care and I am AWFUL at relaxing. I have said it time and time again, I just have to be totally and completely out of TOWN to fully, completely relax. Travel is THE best way for me to connect with my family, my husband, my friends, and MYSELF.
By traveling I’m able to disconnect from the to-do lists and any guilt feelings of “I should be” and just RELAX in a way that is totally impossible at home!
Obviously 2020 brought about a lot of craziness and one area was in the lack of ability to travel. Even as things have opened up, my FAVORITE happy place still is far from “normal.” Disney has always been that magical, happy spot where reality fades away for a bit and it’s just pure joy! But right now it’s just not that.
So I did some brainstorming and came to the realization that THE best way I relax at home is by laying out and reading. I LOVE IT.
I’m not a binge watch tv kinda girl. I’m not a snuggle up for a nap one either. And def not a soak in the tub with some candles type. My favorite me-time activity is getting outside, breathing fresh air, feeling sunshine, and reading a good book! It’s pretty much perfection 😉
Usually I do a good bit of traveling. Girl’s trips. Solo trips. And 2020 saw ALL of that get canceled for me. Zach, however, was still able to do his favorite thing – golf. And he lucked out that he was able to take two ski trips prior to the shut down. As well as a few golf trips during the shut down! Needless to say…I AM JEALOUS.
Zach is so, so great about telling me to JUST GO and sometimes I need a push to make myself do it.
He pushed and I went!
Very last minute I booked a hotel stay for myself in Jacksonville Beach. One night. On the beach. A chance to connect to ME and RELAX and just have some self-care that I needed!
It. Was. Wonderful!
If you’ve never planned a solo trip I will warn you: my first one was NOT smooth sailing. Zach had planned a trip for me as a birthday gift and I’d never stayed alone before and I was also dealing with a lot of heavy emotional stuff and just wasn’t in the right mental headspace for it.
But after that initial experience I have truly embraced the solo-trips. However, they’ve ALL been Disney related. And even then, it took me a few solo Disney trips to get in the groove and to truly ENJOY them to the fullest!
I had NO problems whatsoever enjoying this beach trip! My first solo beach trip and I LOVED it. I did stress a bit over where to stay as I wanted somewhere SAFE. That is my biggest concern when traveling alone, I just need to feel like I’m SAFE.
I headed out first thing in the morning on a Friday and downloaded Dirty John podcast to listen to. It makes the drive fun to have a podcast to get into! It was SUPER good and def drew me in and was the perfect length as I was able to listen to the entire thing by the time I got home the next day. 🙂
I arrived around lunchtime and grabbed lunch at Chic-Fil-A (obsessed with the kale salad) as well as an iced coffee to drink on the beach.
I couldn’t check in yet to the hotel but they were cool with me changing in the bathroom and taking my stuff out to layout until the room was ready.
I wasn’t prepared for how COLD it was. Which DUH it was MARCH. Haha not really full on beach weather yet! It was chilly but not miserable and I just bundled with up with blanket and enjoyed the sound of the sea as I read!
I did head up to the room once it was ready to try to sit on the balcony and read instead but it just wasn’t the same as sitting ON the beach so I went back down but wore my sweatshirt to enjoy some more reading time before I went up to change for dinner.
Can we also please discuss when someone is sitting ALONE at the beach READING A BOOK that they may not want a HUGE group of dudes blasting inappropriate music and throwing a football literally OVER THEIR HEAD?
I was so annoyed haha. I finally got up and just moved away from them!
I booked my stay at Four Points by Sheraton at Jackonsville Beach. IF I’d planned ahead I would have totally preferred to book at One Ocean, where Zach and I stayed last year for our anniversary trip. This hotel was great and I felt totally safe BUT it’s located directly beside a public park soooo it was a lot more crowded than I’d anticipated because it had that public access.
I wanted to eat dinner in the room but there wasn’t a lot of in-room dining options and there wasn’t a true restaurant in the hotel either so I decided to walk down a bit to the Joe’s Crabshack to get myself a crab cake as they are my jammmmm.
I tossed on some clothes and walked down (props to myself for not being too scared to do it!). The wait for a to go order was AGES. I literally waited 45 min and they felt bad and ended up giving me a free slice of chocolate cake too!
I headed back and ate dinner with the door open to see the pretty views and hear the ocean while I watched a guilty-pleasure show that I’d normally not watch (A Teacher).
I got ready for bed and binged watched more of the show and then I realized I wasn’t alone in the room…
This MASSIVE grasshopper was on the wall and I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to sleep for fear that it’d land on my face during the night. It was QUITE the ordeal and I will include the video in this post if you’re wanting a good laugh 😉
After the whole grasshopper ordeal I finally went to sleep around midnight. I was able to secure a late check out the next morning and had grand plans of slowly waking up and just lounging a bit. I set an “just in case I oversleep” alarm for 12:30 since I needed to be out of the room by 1:00.
UM. I SLEPT UNTIL MY ALARM WENT OFF.
Yup. 12.5 hours of SOLID sleep. Like didn’t even wake to go to the bathroom. C-RAZY.
So I had just 30 min to be out of the room. I opted to toss on some makeup over fixing my hair since the beach would take care of that for me. I took my leftover cake in the lobby and had that for breakfast and then went out for another day in the sunshine!
It was WAY prettier weather the second day and I finished my book and enjoyed a cold coffee and didn’t have any football interruptions.
I made the decision to head on home once I had to go to the bathroom too bad to hold it any longer haha!
I was home around dinnertime and able to tuck the kids into bed for the night. I had just one night and roughly two full days of solo time and it was WONDERFUL.
It was a really big moment for me. I compared this quick trip to the first solo trip I took and it’s such a HUGE difference. I’ve come so far in so many areas, but especially in some emotional healing work I needed to do. I love that I’m at a place now where I’m just content to be alone. It doesn’t bring up hard things or cause me to feel anxious or upset. I just enjoy my own company and am at total peace with myself by myself!
It’s a great feeling and one that I’ve worked hard to achieve. I can FOR SURE see more solo beach trips in my future as it was the perfect getaway and some excellent self-care re-charging time 🙂