Growing up my parents taught me NOT to talk to strangers. Most parents did, right? It was difficult for me, because I liked to talk. Scratch that, I loved to talk. And even more so, I loved to asked questions.
My Grandma Schmitt loved to travel; and she passed that travel gene on to my father who passed it on to me. My Mom frequently says my Dad would cross the street to say he’s been somewhere.
Thankfully, I inherited my Grandma’s travel bug. For more than two decades, I traveled with work, including to three Olympics in Atlanta, Australia, and Greece; and two World Championships in Canada and Jamaica. I put in a lot of miles back then, so if nothing else, I ran by the sights daily.
Luckily, I met and married a man who also loved to travel. I am certain my Grandma Schmitt was looking over me on our first date! Married for five and a half years, we have been to nine countries together: Canada, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Cuba, Panama, Spain, France and Turks and Caicos. We both hope that will list will continue to grow!
A couple of months ago, Nick came in the kitchen and said sheepishly “I think I won a CDW trip to Turks and Caicos.” I FREAKED — traveling to Turks had been on my bucket list for YEARS. Fast forward, we spent four days and three nights there in January. I took literally hundreds of pictures!
WE HAD SO MUCH FUN, laughing, talking and certainly enjoying the parties! On our own, we paddle-boarded, kayaked and even took a Hobie Cat out in the water. We were supposed to only be out for an hour, but we couldn’t get it back to shore, so that hour turned into two and a half.
The first morning, we went out on a catamaran and went snorkeling. The view was stunning!
The last morning in Turks and Caicos, we borrowed some snorkeling equipment from the hotel (Hotel Palms) and walked down the beach to an area we heard was good for snorkeling.
I was bummed when I discovered we left our waterproof camera back in the hotel, but once we swam out in the water, all was forgotten. A few minutes in, a 30- something man swam over and spoke to us. He was super friendly, on the island from Montreal for work. He asked if he could snorkel with us because he told us he promised his wife he wouldn’t snorkel alone. We said “SURE!” Strangers no longer, Micho joined us for an hour — pointing out all these amazing sea creatures!
He was taking pictures and videos with his GoPro and I asked if he would share them when were finished. Pete said, “Of course! I’ll get your email when we get to land.”
Micho would come to the surface and say ”check out the school of fish below’ and more. He was a fantastic guide for us!
Soon enough, he popped up and said, ‘swim over here, there is a pair of spotted eagle stingrays!” We all three watched them, from a save distance, for what seemed liked hours!
A few minutes later when we surfaced, Micho pointed and said, ‘look over there – sea turtles!’
We couldn’t believe our luck! Neither could Micho — he said in 12 years of diving he had never seen so much activity while wearing snorkel gear!
As the three of us got ready to finish, I asked Pete to take a picture of My Man and I — this was a moment I never wanted to forget!
The really amazing part, if we had been afraid to talk to him — we would never have had this amazing experience. So when traveling, talk to strangers! You might see something amazing! Be smart about it, be safe about it, but do it!