I was not one of the kids who returned to my midwest high school from Spring Break with braided hair. I do not tan and the open ocean kinda scares me. So, before packing for a recent wedding in Playa Del Carmen I actually Googled what to pack for a resort. I learned about sea lice. I was told pack 900 bathing suits, a few formal pieces, and my passport. BUT DUDE! Way to let me down, internet. Ugh. Here are a few packing tips from someone who learned the hard way:
SPF Chapstick Ditching my makeup at home for the week was great! Coming home with chapped lips wasn't. I've since been applying Sexwax every ten minutes and it's not cute. Reusable Drink Cup All-Inclusive Resort Hack! Who wants to walk to the bar 4 times for one pint of beer? Not me. One gallon of mojito to-go please. Large Open Tote Bag Beach towels are on lock-down in 2016! Fresh ones are guarded by very serious towel wardens that will not dish out without your old one. Your towel is basically a flour baby- don't fuck up! Small Zipped Cross-Body Leave the large tote to hold down a lounge spot for the day. Bring any valuables in your cross-body while indulging in "buffet life". Ultra Thin Cover-Up Have you ever been kicked out of a bowling ally (while trying to snag some mozzarella sticks from their buffet) becuase you weren't wearing enough clothes? I have. No one wants to wear clothes at a resort. Make it easy on yourself with super simple, super light, one-piece outfits. Waterproof Digital Camera I couldn't bring myself to splurge on this before the trip. If someone would have told me that I'd be sharing a breakfast banana with a sea turtle in crystal clear water it would have been a game changer. Living and learning here, folks! Living and learning. Waterproof Shoes Basically, just bring waterproof everything. We recently stocked my favorite waterproof shoes in the Funday Shop! Weeee! Don't see your size? Drop us a line and we will hook it up.
Our week was packed with afternoon hammock naps, nights dissecting a sea of stars with SkyView (iPhone / Android), and mornings walking the shore lined with tropical fish. I'm so grateful to have taken this trip with a bunch of super solid people and will cherish the few mementos I brought back— some glass art, seemingly endless pictures, and a jar of Tajin seasoning (that's a link to food porn).
The majority of our trip was spent celebrating my friend’s wedding at the resort. However, one afternoon we did explore the city of Playa Del Carmen, which left craving more! Some highlights from our trip away from the resort: garra rufa fish pedicures, Renzo Pizza, touring a glass blowing studio, the enchanting b&b interiors along 5ta Avenida, and soaking in the endless eye candy around the outskirts of town. I want to hug every creature in this mural by @Martin_Ferreyra!
The @PangeaSeed Foundation teamed up with @DreamersArtFest to create @SeaWalls: Mural's for Ocean Activism. Martin (@Martin_Ferreyra) tackled this massive wall portraying coastal development to raise awareness about plastic waste expansion in oceanic ecosystems. 'La venganza del Alux’ talks about the struggle of modern civilization which pervades nature with their traditions and consumption; trying to dominate, regardless of the bad consequences.
Turtles, stingrays and fish are trying to escape the loggers, monks with their religions, and other characters who bring tourism and business to the area. Meanwhile nature is protected by small 'aluxes', all of them fighting against these invaders." Massive influxes of tourists, often to a relatively small country, have a huge impact in the area. Tourists become part of the problem when they consume and pollute, putting local infrastructure and habitats under enormous pressure.
Plastic waste is also in permanent expansion and is completely ignored. It seems to be urgent to mediatize this phenomenon since plastic is a mayor vector of heavy metals and other pollutants, with important consequences on biodiversity and human health, due to its capacity to accumulate and increase its toxicity as it scales the food chain. PangeaSeed.org is loaded with information on how you can help save our seas via art and activism (ARTivism). I will be getting educated before my next trip becuase the amount of plastic water bottles I saw last week was absolutely appalling and it was heartbreaking to feel like part of the problem.
Check out PangeaSeed's SeaWall mural locator to see if there's one near you! I was stoked that of my favorite local Artists, Celeste Byers, is already involved with this organization. @celestialterrestrial is an avid ocean worshipper, dream recaller, and nature enthusiast from San Diego. Her work combines inspiration from the natural world and subconscious mind, taking form in a variety of mediums including sculptural installations, film and animation, paintings, drawings, music, and murals. She helps me feel like I'm living inside a Lisa Frank dreamworld on the regular.
On this trip I was able to try snorkeling for the first time! It seems pretty straight forward, right? Well. Jumping off our chartered boat into the ocean with flippers was actually pretty daunting. I was like "Oh, maybe I should have asked a few questions first". I tried to play it cool when I was floating next to a super chill 9 year old, but found myself amid a panic attack within minutes. The anxiety coupled with breathing through a snorkel was so far outside my comfort zone. I had to float off on my own for a minute and just focus on breathing. I kept hearing my favorite Dosette say “flow baby flow” in my head, which totally did the trick as I bobbled around a few feet above the stringrays passing below me (R.I.P. Steve Irwin). It was easier to calm down with my face in the water. That feeling when you pop your head out above the surface, and see the sweeping ocean, evokes every marine horror film I’ve ever watched. The storm rolling in didn’t help either. Anyway! I did it and I can’t wait to do it all again. I'm thankful that I was able to push through. Check out those photos! In the words of Judy Blume, how we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. Onward!