I have the privilege of traveling for work, and it’s taken me to some pretty amazing places. In 2018 alone, I got to go to London, Barcelona, and all over Kenya. On top of that, I tabled at five different comic book conventions (including all four days of New York Comic-Con) and went to three different weddings. During all of this, Dierre was working multiple jobs and started going to grad school for his second master’s degree that fall. By the time 2019 rolled around, we were spent. We needed a real vacation–and not the adventurous or educational kind that I usually write about on here. We needed a way to truly disconnect and relax.
Dierre and I at one of the three weddings that we attended over 6 weeks in the summer of 2018.
Staycations can be great, but there’s never any shortage of chores and distractions around one’s own home. We opted to go to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. It was an easy direct flight out of New York, and we found a great package for a 4-night stay that got in early on Day 1 and left late on Day 5. Avoiding layovers and connecting flights was one of my non-negotiables and I have no regrets. Now, I had never been to an all-inclusive resort before. Never even considered going to one, but I think I might be in love with them? We weren’t even at a super fancy one. But it turned out to be exactly what we needed.
A full moon overlooking the resort pool.
Few things bring me joy like losing myself in a good book. I cracked open Joe Hill’s N0S4A2 on the plane and allowed myself to get lost. Reading a disturbing fantasy-horror novel on the beach might not be for everyone, but it was the right thing for me. I would argue that a trip like this is the best way to take the plunge on a book with an intimidating page length. Waking up and falling asleep within the pages of a good story, and spending the day moving back and forth from the pool deck to the beach, is a special kind of perfection. I had no idea how much my brain was craving exactly that until I was living it.
Relaxing by reading horror stories on the beach.
One of the true beauties of this trip was how few choices there were to make. I can get easily overwhelmed with having to make decisions, it brings on the exact kind of stress I was needing a vacation from. The paradox of choice is a particularly pervasive problem in our culture, and this little beach resort was a nice temporary reprieve from it all. We had on a handful of places to go for meals, but enough so that we were able to switch it up each night for dinner. Dining out is usually an easy way to go over budget when traveling, but having it all paid for in advance made it one less thing for us to worry about.
Dressing up a little for dinner.
The unlimited drinks were great, but neither of us drank a whole lot. We took the most advantage of the unlimited cookies at the cafe. Dierre got up early and went running every morning. I think we were both asleep by 10 pm every night. We considered going snorkeling or taking one of the day trips offered by the resort but decided to keep things relaxed instead. We did attend a sales pitch seminar one morning for a total scam time-share the resort offered, but only because they gave us a $100 dollar credit to sit through it. It’s wild that they actually hook people in with that bullshit. We used our credit at the spa and got massages. It was worth it.
Totally not posed swimsuit shot.
There was one great moment when Dierre and I were having a few drinks and sitting by the pool. We each had our books with us. A group of basic 20-somethings started spring-breaking it up in the set of chairs next to us, so we started looking for a place to move to. One of the girls tried to make small talk with us, and asked: “do you guys want to meet my friends?” It was incredibly easy to reply with: “no, we’re good.” All-inclusive resorts have a little something for everyone. You bring your whole family, or you can go and get shitfaced with your friends on a dime, or you can actively choose to be reclusive boring like Dierre and I did.
Walking the Atlantic shore.
It had been my hope to make this trip an annual sort of thing; escaping the cold New York winter every February, catching some rays, and getting lost in a new epic novel. We missed our shot in 2020, and now we’re coming up on one year since the world shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have the itch to travel and explore the world again once it’s safe to do so, but I find that I’m really longing for a means to get away from myself. To put my phone on airplane mode and forget about the world for a little while. We all need to escape sometimes.