Fridays Five Favorite Things: A trip with a purpose – to get our minds off cancer

In case you missed it, we found out that Andy has a cancerous tumor. If you need to, you can read up on all that here and then come back to this post.

Alright… now that everyone is up to speed, Andy and I are currently in Cartagena and we’re having an amazing time on our trip. The sun is shining, the water feels great and I have yet to see any critters in our hotel showers. Still, this trip, which was supposed to be a random little getaway (edit: it actually wasn’t random) ended up being much more than that and I thought I’d share my thoughts on all that in this week’s Friday’s Five Favorite Things post.

So here it goes… here are my five favorite things about being on a trip with a purpose such as this one. The purpose being a pre-surgery, get-our-minds-off-cancer trip.

1. The pressure is off.

Although I’m not as afflicted as some, travelers guilt is kind of a big deal. It’s usually the main reason why people wind up feeling like they need another vacation when they get home. The pressure of seeing everything there is to see can leave little time for relaxation.

That’s not really the case on this trip. We missed Zipaquira in Bogota. We’ll probably miss something here in Cartagena too. Oh well. Right now it seems more important to linger over lunch or take a nap amidst the sounds of some mid-day thunder storms. Such is life; I have no regrets.


Watching the thunder storms from our hotel roof.

2. Suddenly you find a little more wiggle room in the budget.

It’s no secret that Andy and I travel on a budget. Some may scoff at staying at a hotel with a shared bathroom or walking a bit farther instead of taking a taxi, but part of the reason we’ve been lucky enough to take all these trips is because we save where we can, when we can.

On this particular trip, things seem a little looser in the penny-pinching department.


Spend a little more on a hotel with a rooftop pool? That will do just fine, thank you.


Opt for the two dive scuba package of the one with just a single dive? Yes, please.


Splurge on a 1 hour hopper flight instead of a 16 hour overnight bus. Twist my arm why dontcha?

3. Our minds are busy with things that don’t start with ‘C’.

Okay, well that might not be entirely true – after all, we are on the Caribbean in Cartagena in Colombia. Nevertheless, the big one, cancer, hasn’t been front and center in our minds and that feels good. No, not good. That feels great.


A nice view of Cartagena, Colombia on from a boating trip on the Caribbean.

4. We’re working out our plan of attack.

So while we haven’t been dwelling too much on Andy’s cancer situation, we have been doing a bit of planning. We’re getting mentally prepped for taking this tumor on when we get home. What needs done pre-surgery, what will need done post-surgery and how we’re planning to tackle the world after recovery.

5. Okay, I lied.

I wrote most of this post earlier in the week and I was hoping that by publishing time I could come up a fifth reason. The truth is that this trip, like our life, would be better without cancer.

But sometimes life throws wrenches at you and expects you to make lemonade. Andy tells me that’s not how the saying goes – it’s either life gives you lemons or something throws a wrench in the plan. But even though lemons can be sour, they’re still better than cancer and wrenches are tools that you can use to not feel helpless. Right now we feel pretty damn helpless and I’m not sure a glass of lemonade, even if it is enjoyed at a charming Colombian café, is going to fix that.

But here’s to trying.


And yes, we’ve replaced the lemonade in that scenario with beer.

7 responses to “Fridays Five Favorite Things: A trip with a purpose – to get our minds off cancer

  1. I simply couldn’t be happier for the joy you are daily experiencing. Perfect, perfect timing to take a trip to an unknown place.
    Chaos is his romping self who is happy to have been left behind. We took a trip to the smallest park in the world yesterday. I kept him from doing his casual business on every tree in the forest.

  2. I think it was one of the smartest, wisest, most wonderful things you could have done in taking this trip, Julie. I wish I knew what to say, but I know there’s really nothing one CAN say. Except that I get it. I do.

    Much love to you and Andy, and my prayers going up for you both.

  3. Miss you guys, but I am glad you are having a good (and relaxing!!) time. I hope you can continue to keep your bodies and minds busy enjoying the moment down there. As for Portland, your condo hasn’t burned down, your dog is still crazy/silly and your plant is still alive(-ish).

  4. Pingback: Foreign Food & Drink: Read this post on your lunch break today | See Jules Travel·

  5. Pingback: Friday’s Five Favorite Things: About the romance of travel | See Jules Travel·

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