We’re *Finally* International Again!

First stop... Sint Maarten/Saint Marten!

December 26, 2023

After seven long months back in the USA, we finally took off to travel internationally again!
 
We looked around for the best combination between going somewhere new, the most affordable tickets available this time of year (and yes, this was tough to do around Christmas!), somewhere warm, regions with time zones that would work with our schedule, and something relatively close to the USA. We’re still a bit wary of wandering too far off!

We ended up choosing a Caribbean island known as St. Maarten; this little island nation is another part of the Netherlands Antilles. Unlike the ABC islands, which we have already visited, they are part of the Lesser Antilles. From St. Maarten, we plan to take ferries around the region and see a few other islands! We will see how things go!

We just got here after catching a red eye. Our plane unfortunately had a LOT of turbulence, a very very unhappy baby, and lots of gross coughing people. You would think people would at least *try* to cover their mouths and not be disgusting… but clearly, Covid taught us nothing. Lol.
 
Things quickly turned around after landing, though! We were immediately greeted with that familiar Caribbean smell and the extremely friendly attitudes of the locals! We breezed through immigrations, found a shuttle to our rental, picked up our car, and drove on over to our Airbnb. The home is located on a bit of a tricky hill. After some navigating, we successfully found it!
 

This place is HUGE! I guess it feels extra enormous after staying with our families, tiny rooms in houses, hotel rooms, and units/homestays in Asia. 

 

It’s not super fancy or anything, but it’s clearly a local’s cozy home. The best part? The VIEWS! We have a great view of the ocean and the surrounding neighborhood from the balconies. It’s delightfully breezy. I almost wish we could have had people come along with us to fill the extra room! (But we’re also cherishing the alone time, lol.).

Although I will say that we’ve had some run-ins with the wildlife already, being located on a semi-remote hill in the tropics has drawn in a few paper wasps looking to nest. Oh, and this morning, at about 5 a.m. while making my coffee, a rat ran over my foot! It SCARED me! I don’t think I have ever screamed that loud. Sorry neighbors! Lol.

After our wildlife battles, we took off for a little hike. It was short, but there were so many butterflies and amazing coastline views, and we got caught in the rain—a lot of it!

Anyway, even though we’ve had rough flights, no sleep, rats, wasps, and rain, I’m just thrilled to be back at it. And the warm weather doesn’t hurt either!

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