Sometimes we all need a break, even us travel writers, who to most people appear to be on one never-ending vacation. And while my four days in Punta Cana was technically work, it felt far less action-packed than my normal press trips. For one thing, we stayed in the same resort room for the entire duration, which meant that my clothes would be far less wrinkled than normal.
After a whirlwind summer of nearly constant travel, I was more than eager to spend a few days in a country I’ve never visited before. My months of recent travel had also taught me how to pack strategically. Years of travel had taught me not to over-pack. I had plenty of experience lugging a heavy suitcase from hotel to hotel on more than on occasion, often times only using about 1/3 of my packed items. This time, however, I arrived with nothing but my laptop, iPhone, a fedora hat and a medium size bag thrown over my shoulder.
Once I arrived to Barcelo Punta Cana (my home for the next four days) I immediately felt that pinch in my stomach alerting me that despite my jetlag I was ready to experience all that the Caribbean had in store. While I’m not a huge veteran of all-inclusive resorts, it was a refreshing change from the more fast-paced travel I usually do. Low season at a resort like Barcelo means lower prices and less people to compete for beach chairs. We stayed in the adult portion of the resort which was even more remote and ultimately more relaxing. Practicing my Spanish was an added plus.
After my first night under the Caribbean moon, I found myself slowly adjusting to my tranquil surroundings. Often times when I travel, I spend the first night mostly awake. If jetlag doesn’t get to me, the unfamiliar sound of silence compared to the normal loud honking or police sirens coming from my Manhattan apartment sure does.
But here in Punta Cana, I would wake up early, work for a few hours and then spent time sampling just about every cocktail the bartenders knew how to make (which was quite a few), walking along the soft, sandy beach private to all but the fellow resort goers, and meeting with the group for meals.
Having time for myself was something I didn’t think I need any more of. As a freelancer who travels both in groups and solo, I spend a good deal of time wishing I was around more people. But like many times before, I found almost immediate comfort being around Mother Nature, as if her gentle arms were rocking me back to my more creative self. And inspire she did, for much of my days in Punta Cana were not spent lazily basking in the sun working on darkening my non-existant tan but in introspection and creative writing, two of my favorite hobbies.
The day before I was schedule to leave, I had a moment of intense determination. All of a sudden, as if some switch finally went off in my head, I felt determined to write down my ideas so much that I deserted my cocktail and beach towel in my hurry to reach my room. Vigorously typing a story that popped into my mind while sipping on a cool Mojito just minutes before, I felt truly alive in the hot Dominican air hovering around me.
It is moments like this that make me truly appreciative for my life, more so than I do on a daily basis. Unexpected but certainly welcomed, Punta Cana managed to light my creative flame after weeks of feeling it slowly dim.
Planning a trip to Punta Cana? The best time for great deals is during low season (May, September-November). Barcelo is one of the area’s most reputable all-inclusive resorts, offering a full-service spa, swim-up bar, adult-only area, nightly entertainment and unlimited food and drinks.
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