After a long night of last minute packing, I woke up at 3:15 A.M. to begin the official start of #NoRegrets Contest win adventure in Cancun, Mexico.
My flight was scheduled for departure at 7:10 AM. I had prescheduled a shuttle pick up at 4:15 AM which gave me plenty of time to arrive at the airport, check-in and make it thought security.
After successfully passing through security, I went straight to a local coffee shop that has almond milk as an option. My airport arrival time was prefect, which meant I didn’t have too much time to spend aimlessly in the terminal. So, I grabbed a coffee, some breakfast, wrote a little in my journal, and before I knew it, I was hopping onto leg 1 of my 3-part journey.
My first leg was from Seattle to Dallas, approximately 3.5 hours travel time. During the flight, I got a bit of editing done and about an hour of sleep.
In Dallas I had an 1.5 hour layover that went very quickly. I spent a large chunk of it talking to a couple about my trip and why I’m off to Cancun. It still amazes me when I tell others how absolutely crazy it sounds.
Me: "Oh, I won a trip to Mexico."
Them: "Wait, you WON a trip to Mexico?!?"
Me: "Yeah, off twitter!"
Make me giddy!
The second leg of my journey was Dallas to Cancun. It was uneventful and before I knew it, the captain was announcing our decent. When I looked out the window what I saw took my breathe away. Turquoise-blue water with trees and wilderness as far as I could see. I was on the verge of crying. Was this real? The intensity of this trip still hadn’t hit me.
To My Surprise…
This is the part where my story takes the most amazing turn ever.
Before the trip, I was provided with a detailed itinerary. It explained thoroughly how to get from Customs to Platform 26, where my driver would be meeting me. It specified to “not stop,” because as you exit the airport, there are hundreds of “sales persons”. Duly noted.
Once I exited the airport in Cancun, Mexico, I easily found the man holding the Contiki sign and preceded towards the van. Mariana, who is the lead on this trip, was there waiting for my arrival!
Meeting her truly brought this trip to life. It really is happening! She was so welcoming and kind-hearted. She provided me with my welcome package and walked me though how to contact her if I needed anything.
Where I Stayed
We drove a little over thirty minutes to my accommodations. I had little expectations, but when we arrived I was in utter shock. The resort, Now Jade Riviera Cancun is located in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico, just outside Cancun proper. It was an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort, to my surprise, and I was a little taken back. I’ve never stayed in an all-inclusive resort before, and sort of felt out of place. I’m sure my face was priceless.
The surprises kept coming while checking in to my room. The concierge told me that I had Tropical View, which meant I could see the trees and the ocean.
My reaction upon seeing my room made me jump for joy. I’m sure the bellman thought I’d lost my mind. I wanted to tell him my story of how I ended up here and that I knew very little about this place, but he was busy.
Contiki hooked me up with the tropical view. I had a double room with a HUGE bathtub and a porch overlooking the trees and beach, all to myself. It took me less than 10 minutes to change, repack my purse and head off towards the beach.
The sand on the beach was soft and white. The water was crystal blue and the air was salty. I stood in the ocean for close to 10 minutes just soaking up the experience.
Meeting the Team
It was about an hour of wandering before I made my way back to reception. I was the first of our group to have checked in, and I was eager to meet the rest of the team. I’d been in constant communication with a production manager for Contiki, Claire, and we were able to connect, planning to meet up for dinner. It was nice to finally put a face to the many emails sent over the last few months.
As the production manager, Claire would be the lead for the documentation, i.e. photography/videography, of my trip. I was happy that I would have someone close to my age with so much passion towards traveling with me. This was also her first time in Mexico, mine in Cancun. We got to be apart of each other’s travel journey.
We spent at least an hour or two talking and getting to know each other on a more personal basis. After we finished our delicious desserts, the time zone change started to hit Claire, she came from London, and we both decided to call it a night (at 8 o’clock). We have a huge day planned for tomorrow and I cannot wait to tell you all about it!!
P.S. “If this not real, don’t tell me. I’m loving this mapless adventurous life and nothing you can do will pull me away from this dream!”