We just returned from an amazing family vacation to Florida. We have been to Florida many times, but in all of our visits, I realized that we have never gone snorkeling. My kids have snorkel goggles and swim around the pool in them, but they have never gone ‘real’ snorkeling, like on a boat, with a group, in official snorkel gear. I decided this was the year!

I did a ton of searching and found ‘the best’ snorkeling was in the Florida Keys. Awesome! I love the Keys, snorkeling is ah-maz-ing, it would make a super fun day trip, so I booked it!! We usually just play everything by ear on our vacations, so this was the only thing we planned.

We woke up early for the three-hour car ride. I loaded my purse with Dramamine, packed our bags, found an awesome place to stop for lunch further down the Keys (maybe another 45-minute drive), packed up the car and the kids, and headed for our most awesome adventure!

So exciting!

I had great visions of driving the whole way with the top down on our rented Jeep, but my idea was shot down by my always level-headed hubby…’ too hot, too windy, too sunny’ for a three-hour car drive. OK, no big deal. Three hours later we made it to Key Largo with the top up and the AC cranked on high. This was gonna be great!

We got to the snorkel place, checked in, and drove to our launch spot. Clouds started rolling in, but who cares? According to Accuweather, it was going to be clear skies all day. A few clouds won’t ruin this day!

We got on the boat and listened to the safety speech. Well, I tried to listen to the speech. I was too distracted trying to figure out if the lady in the front of the boat was yelling at her kid in Russian or just talking really loudly at him!

I did catch something about the weather and big waves. Hmm, not important I’m sure.

Off the boat went to the Gulf of Mexico to THE best snorkel spot in Florida! I noticed the clouds getting darker and the waves getting bigger. No problem! I was loaded up with Dramamine. I could handle anything!

About 20 minutes later, we arrived at our snorkel spot. By now the clouds were black, the waves were high, and the boat was rocking…a lot. We got our snorkel gear on very carefully (flippers are not easy to put on, but add a really rocking boat and it’s almost impossible!)

There was a ladder on the boat, but the waves were so high that people were falling off the ladder, so we decided to just jump in. Here we go!! Snorkeling!

My husband took my 13 and 15-year-old, so the eight-year-old and I stayed together. Immediately I was freaking out. The waves were so high they were going over my daughter’s head. Although we had on life vests, hers was riding up and it didn’t look very inflated. I made sure we were holding hands but the waves kept knocking us apart. She lost her flipper. Her mask didn’t fit so she took it off. I was trying to hold her flippers, her mask, and her hand while she kept getting pushed under by the waves. This was not what I envisioned! Worst of all, we were only about four minutes into the tour. We still had 56 more minutes to go.

We got back on the boat to readjust (along with about 50% of the other people on the tour.) We got our gear adjusted and went back out. By this time my older daughter found us and she was not looking well. We attempted to snorkel again, but this time we lasted about two minutes and climbed back on the boat. Our mouths were full of saltwater, stomachs churning, and nerves frayed. This did not look like the pictures on the website!

About halfway into the tour, my hubby and son came back on the boat too. It was too much for both of them. About 30 minutes into the trip and at least 90% of the people were back on the boat looking about as green as my daughter (who was doing everything in her power NOT to puke.) Finally, it was time to head back. We sailed back in the rain as I listened to my husband sing the tune to Gilligan’s Island (this did make me laugh, a little bit.)

Everyone just wanted to quickly grab something to eat and get the hell out of there and go back to our little rented home. The Florida Keys kicked our asses.

I was so disappointed. I researched, planned, spent a lot of money, drove a long way, spent more money on the underwater camera, had amazing visions that our adventure would look just like it did online. This sucked.

The next day we happened to go to a little fishing town close to our house that my husband somehow heard about. There, we found a little bar. It just so happened that this bar was closing for the season and this was the last day it was open. There was a big party going on with a band. We sat down and listened to the band and had a few drinks. Then, we ran into the one person we knew in Florida and he introduced us to his friends. We hung out, laughed, drank, ate, danced, sang, the kids sat on his boat, we had fun. So much fun. Just by chance.

It was awesome.

I am not sure what the moral of the story is…I guess sometimes the best laid out plans suck and those little moments that happen just by happenstance end up being the best.

Whatever you do today, tomorrow, next week, or next year, life is all about creating memories. (Well, if you are a parent then it is really about creating memories and laughing more than you yell!)

Remember, even if things don’t go as planned, those are usually the things you can look back on and laugh at the most.

Surrender some control and you may find yourself somewhere amazing, somewhere you never thought you would be, having the most fun with people you never would have met!

Have a crazy story when something didn’t quite go as planned? Or, an awesome serendipitous moment? We’d love to hear about it! Drop a comment!

Lisa Wyckoff is a Confidence and Mindset Coach. She helps women step into their confidence, shift their mindset, connect with Spirit, discover their True Magnificence and transform their lives. You can read more articles, or find out about working with Lisa on lisawyckoff.com or follow her on Facebook.




Image courtesy of Ishan @seefromthesky.