OF BORN FROM MY HEART
If you’re planning a trip to sunny Mexico, then look no further.
From what the family packed to top tips when visiting, we follow Kortni of Born From My Heart and her family as they escape to the sandy beaches and ancient ruins of Yucatan, Mexico.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED TO TRAVEL?
Absolutely! The need to discover this big beautiful canvas of earth has run deep in bones since I can remember. I had my first National Geographic subscription by the time I was twelve years old and I remember cutting out pictures of all the places I wanted to see in the world and glueing a hodgepodge mess of my dreams into a travel notebook. Needless to say, plans for my life always included a lot of travel and I have been so blessed to be able to see many of those magazine pictures in real life.
HAVE YOUR TRAVELING HABITS CHANGED SINCE YOU’VE HAD YOUR LITTLE ONES?
Travelling with kids forces me to slow down my pace and there is nothing quite like taking time to slow down to make you realise how fast you move through life. I am prone to rush my kids from one moment to the next without really giving them time to stop and savour the things that are most important to them. This (rushing) is a way of life, but one that we so often do not have to choose.
My children are masters in the art of ‘stop and smell the flowers’ and travelling with them is such a needed reminder for me to make more efforts to stop and observe the beauty that comes so naturally to them.
I love that my kids are so aware of beauty–always pointing out beautiful things in even the smallest form. It’s something I’ve always wanted to teach them, but it turns out I never needed to. They have been the ones showing me how it’s done all along.
Travelling with kids forces me to slow down my pace and there is nothing quite like taking time to slow down to make you realise how fast you move through life.
I married a man whose wanderlust equals my own and we wanted to see much of the world before we became parents. When we discovered, however, that the babies were not coming easily for us, wanting to become parents quickly became our world. We found ourselves filling out adoption forms instead of passport applications–knowing that the dream of bringing a baby into our home would be richer than any amount of time we could spend on our dream vacations. While we worked on paying back adoption loans for several years we stuck close to home and introduced our kids to every incredible landscape of our beloved state of Utah. Now that we are able to venture a little further out into this big world with our boys I want to make sure they know this life of making so very much out of so very little, and that whether we skip rocks in a lake behind our house or pick up shells from the bottom of the turquoise Caribbean, simply being together will always be what matters most.
Now when we sit down to make travel plans we often find ourselves coming up short on ideas because these boys ARE our bucket list. Our one great adventure and our wildest dreams have already come true.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT TRAVELLING?
One of the best things travelling does for any of us, I think, is that it separates us from all the habits and programming of our familiar, everyday lives. The change in perspective allows us to remember who we truly are and what we truly want and where we’re truly headed without the pull of an overly connected world… And especially when we travel to the places God created, where the noise can’t reach us, we connect to something that is so much deeper and longer lasting.
We all need that every now and then, and the best part is we don’t have to go to take a trip to Mexico or travel some great distance to find it. Some of the most self-revelatory experiences of my life have taken place in the mountains that are my own backyard. If there is no magic in travel itself, maybe the real miracle comes when we find the discipline to stay put and do the work right where we are in the ordinary every day. All vacations have to come to an end eventually, but the beauty and perspective we find there doesn’t. Whether we are snorkelling in the Grand Cenote or sitting around the kitchen table, I hope to teach my kids to recognize the beauty in their lives worth paying attention to.
In the archives of my brain, there is a little folder called “every landscape I’ve explored with my children” I know it by heart, and it makes me incredibly grateful that we were able to add Mexico’s views of its beaches and jungles and ruins to our memory banks.
We stayed in the small family friendly resort town of Puerto Aventuras. Close enough to go explore all that the Yucatan has to offer, but far enough away from the tourists and busy beaches that you feel like you’ve got your own little corner of the country all to yourself.
I like to think I was an archaeologist in another life and I live for seeing ancient civilizations. The Mayan ruins have always been on my list and this time I was able to watch my boys climb the 138 feet to the top of Coba, the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan. We had already seen Chichen Itza and decided it was a little too expansive for our young kids to appreciate, so we stuck with the smaller, climbable ruins. Visiting these places is truly an amazing experience that leaves you feeling humbled and in awe of life before you existed. We had the most amazing tour guide and highly recommend the company’s Helaman or LDS Tours to take you to these places and really help you understand what you are looking at.
The Yucatan is famous for its gorgeous beaches and clear turquoise water. We practised snorkelling at the pool before coming because we knew we wanted to introduce our boys to this underwater world. They picked it up easily and saw the turtles and underwater caves of the Grand Cenote and many fish in a quiet lagoon near our condo. The rest of the time they just wanted to be on the beach, playing in the sand or boogie boarding on the friendly waves.
ANY MEMORABLE STORIES THAT HAPPENED DURING THIS TRIP?
I’ll never forget the way my five-year-old became fast friends with our tour guide, Lemuel. He held his hand and sat by him every chance he got. Even
though it was hard for them to communicate with each other, the fondness on both sides was very apparent. A good reminder that no matter what corner of the planet you find yourself, love and kindness is a universal language.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS TO PACK?
Be sure to bring your own snorkel gear or plan to have a snorkelling tour take you out during your stay. You do not want to miss the clear turquoise waters and vibrant underwater life on this side of Caribbean. Bring sandals if you must, but my boys would recommend going barefoot whenever possible because nothing beats the feel of sand between your toes! Pack light to avoid having to check bags in Cancun’s airport. We could only fit a couple of shirts for our boys and a week’s worth of swimming suits in our carry-on so we appreciated these comfortable swim trunks that could easily be paired with a shirt and pass as clothes. This made it so we didn’t have to waste time changing to go eat or explore in between beach visits.
ANY TIPS FOR FAMILIES TRAVELLING TO YUCATAN?
There are many family-friendly beaches in the Yucatan, especially if staying at a private resort. In Puerto Aventuras the beaches are private and they have built barriers to block the waves, making shallow, sandy areas along the shore for a more family-friendly feel. Paradise beach in Tulum is another favourite picturesque beach with the famous white sand. There are many shops, bungalows and restaurants along the beach to enjoy.
If planning to visit any of the ruins be sure to book a tour guide. They will be able to explain the many amazing things you are seeing that have both religious and historical meaning. Our tour included lunch and a stop at the Grand Cenote to cool off after spending the day in the warmest sun you’ll ever meet.
With thanks to Kortni X