Learning & a List of my Favorite Things 🧳

I have recently signed up as an Amazon Associate. As an Amazon Associate I may earn $$$ from qualifying purchases when you click the links below. 😊

Somewhere along the way, we seemed to regain our composure. Perhaps it was being back on schedule, returning to our original plan & heading back to the coast, or just knowing our time in MX was coming to an end.  The British douchebag nightmare was behind us, our rental car agreement was renegotiated for no extra cost, we had taken a break from each other to spend time with friends coming to MX, and we had a real feeling of resolution to let the past be the past; funny stories to tell but not on which to dwell. 

Whatever the reasoning, we doubled down on the next six weeks to rediscover why we love Mexico πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ so much, even being surprised by a couple of places to which we will have to return.

Here are a few things we learned along the way about packing, travel planning & how long one can leave a towel on a longe chair in reserve before others get annoyed πŸ˜‰

Resort life etiquette learning: It is common practice to get up early & head out to the pool or beach & save your seat. A saved seat with a mere pile of pool towels appears to be a sacred totem of temporary ownership. It is easy to hem & haw when you decide to push the snooze button, after all, you are likely there on vacation why do you have an alarm set anyway, oh right to save a chair!  Sadly if you do not hop to, you may have missed the ultimate four-post cushioned bed lounger or, depending on occupancy, the simplest of reclining chairs. 

It was one such day at our place in Akumal that I began to wonder, “How long is too long?” The pool was empty of people & almost every chair was unclaimed, except for 2… Yes, I had come out early & “reserved” my seat before heading out for a walk.

I returned to the pool an hour or so later, within what seemed to be okay time limits of my towel placement πŸ€” The once empty chairs now filling with residents. As you may notice in the picture, some chairs have cushions, others do not. I settled in to my “reserved” chair with a cushion. The other two “reserved” chairs remained empty for some time, enough time that there began to be chatter among the more long-term residents. Another hour passed & someone in an un-cushioned chair said, “Long enough!” He went over to the “reserved” seat & took the cushion, not in complete defiance of the towel, but it was becoming clear that there was in fact a “too long.” Another hour passed & another. The pool was now fully abustle in the afternoon hours. A couple arrived to find all the seats occupied, well all but two, the two with the towels. It did not take much prompting from the peanut gallery of residents to also declare, “Long enough!” The towels were moved, the newcomers sat & order was renewed. Another hour later, 2 ladies arrived at the pool, looking somewhat bewildered & confused πŸ˜• Neither made a scene or even a comment, which let’s not lie, was a bit of a bummer πŸ˜‚ but rather they found their towels & laid them out in the grass & the day continued as if nothing had happened.

Learning has been our baseline. We are never quite sure what we are doing or how it is going to turn out. I usually learn best in hindsight πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ But as I have mentioned before, we just can’t do everything. Turns out I also can not pack everything I “think” I “might” need, but here is a list of a few things I have decided I will not go without…

  • My no-flow-restrictor shower head 🚿 YEP! In an earlier post, I regaled you with the frustrations of lost luggage & Mexican TSA, thankfully my shower head was safely packed in our check bags. As of this posting, it looks like they finally have their supply chain issues resolved & all models are available, not on backorder πŸ‘
  • Pink death back scrubber – I love this thing! It is super effective for the whole body, easy to use, takes to bar or liquid soap equally well, rinses thoroughly, dries fast, is laundry safe & compact for packing. Best uses: a good back scrub after a hot humid day, slathered with sunscreen by the pool or on the beach πŸ–οΈ do not use if you forgot the sunscreen 😬πŸ₯΅ Great for a thorough leg exfoliation prior to shaving your legs 🦡πŸͺ’
  • Ella pee – For the ladies, gents you may want to skip this one because I will not be holding back on this darling’s functionality πŸ˜‰ After trying several others at the toilet & in the wild, this was hands down the easiest to use. The rigid cup fits snuggly around the pubic bone giving confidence against overflow.  The tube is long enough & slightly slanted to direct the flow out & away from your shoes 😊 The Ella pee comes in a plastic-coated zipper bag. (I also carry a small spray bottle of alcohol to disinfect the Ella before storing while in the wild – then wash it & the bag once β€œhome”) The Ella pee has been a game changer on hikes, at the beach, waiting in line for my immigration card at 6am, when nothing is open (hypothetically πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ) I no longer have to pull my pants all the way down & squat to get the job done βœ… 
  • Noise machine – I have 2 of these & can’t decide which one I like better. One has a light feature which is nice & I have used but not often. The other is much more basic but totally does the job, that is the one I have chosen to travel with because it is smaller. Many places we have stayed have had complaints in the reviews about nighttime noises. Using a noise machine has completely eliminated this issue for us, unfortunately, now I can not sleep without it πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ
  • Hair towel – I honestly can not remember which of these specifically because I have been using one for a very long time. Doesn’t everyone with somewhat long hair use one of these by now?! Mine helps reduce a bit of frizz and keeps my hair up & out of the way for skin care. It dries my hair better than a regular bath towel, and is smaller & less cumbersome, so traveling with it is not a problem. It is laundry safe, dries quickly & is easy to pack.
  • Knife sharpener – This is really a Dave thing as he does most of the cooking 🍲 There are few things in the world that annoy him more than dull knives πŸ”ͺ Nothing special, this one was pretty inexpensive & has done the job for our life on the road 😊
  • Columbia water backpack – I have several other water packs but I specifically bought this one at the Columbia Outlet on our Portland leg because the water pack was only part of the overall backpack. The water bag goes in its own zippered area & then it has an additional zipper compartment for other stuff,  like a snack, extra battery, hat, or whatever. Plus that section has a small mesh bag for keys or cash πŸ’΅ I have also found I can freeze water in the bladder, which is a bonus!
  • Cooler backpack – This was a Christmas gift from my mom 🎁 I needed this to be my carry-on personal item, holding my Mac, iPad, headphones, passport wallet et al & have a place for pens & gum & snacks. It also had to be our on-the-go cooler for balloon rallies or beach jaunts & finally make it to the grocery store with all our other grocery totes. I recently returned to using a “regular” backpack for my digital crap & am missing the ease of this one.
  • Merrell Women’s HYDROTREKKER – I may finally be a convert. Knowing these travels would include many different terrains, city, mountains, beach… I wanted to make sure my shoe choices were well thought through & didn’t take up too much space. I brought 5 pairs of shoes on this adventure (these Merrells, Keen low-profile hiking boots, Merrell strappy sandals, Chaco slides & some basic flip flops for the pool) These versatile Merrells have been the clear front runner. They are super comfortable with & without a little stocking sock (depending if we are going for a city stroll or sweaty hike.) The inserts come out easily to rinse them of silt & sand. They dry quickly & are pretty lightweight for packing.

No doubt this is not an exhaustive list. When we are traveling in the truck, the stuff expands to fill the space 😬 much to Dave’s chagrin. I have been able to work it down to 2 checked bags, 2 under seat carry-ons & 2 overhead carry-on bags (that sometimes get checked but I don’t pay for) when we fly ✈️ We will be headed back to Mexico πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ in the fall, I wonder if I could manage with less πŸ€” Probably, but why chance it πŸ˜‰

For more Amazon yeahs & nays, you can check out my profile there for good & not so good reviews 😊