I’m back from my cruise now! It was a great eight days and I had lots of fun. Thanks to all who wished me well. As I do with most vacations, I made a list of the positives and negatives of my vacation. I will explain below. On the cruise, I had five sea days and three excursion days. The excursions were swimming with the dolphins in Roatán (Honduras), shopping in Costa Maya (Mexico), and snorkeling with turtles and jellyfish in Cozumel (Mexico). All were very fun! So, here are my vacation’s positives and negatives.
I was able to transition from activity to activity
I usually need a transition from activity to activity during the day. However, on this cruise, this was not an issue. I was more flexible than usual and was okay with having sudden transitions from activities knowing that I had lots of time to go back to them. I remembered that there were more fun things planned ahead and that getting upset at the situation wouldn’t help. By being able to transition, the vacation was able to be a lot smoother.
2. I did well on the long plane rides
I often get very restless and agitated on long plane rides. These plane rides, though, were easier for me. There were two reasons for this. First, I took deep breaths during the flight. I was able to daydream, take a quick nap, and play a game called “Farkle” on my iPhone. Second, one flight was split into two connecting flights, which gave me a forty-five minute break. By having peaceful flights, my parents and I were able to have a better time.
3. I was fine with not knowing any set schedules
I always need to know a detailed, by the minute plan to get me through the day during regular days and vacations. This cruise was very different. When I got onto the ship I made a promise to myself to be as flexible as possible. I thought of it this way: my parents knew everything that was going to happen, but they wouldn’t tell me because it was a surprise. Even though this was far from the truth, I actually started to believe it which made my vacation more peaceful.
I had trouble with the TSA incident
The following incident is one that was random and nothing could've stopped it. On the way home, I had to go through the TSA checkpoint again. When I walked through the metal detector, it went off. I was less than pleased to learn that I was subject to an “at random” body search. With my Autism, I DO NOT like being touched in the way that I would be during a body search. I don’t like having strangers touch me that way. My mom strongly advocated for me and asked to talk to a supervisor. Long story short, I was allowed to have my hands wiped and tested for explosive residue instead of the body search, which I was okay with.
2. I didn’t want to go into the teen club or do teen club activities
On the cruise ship, there is a “teen club.” The “teen club” is a program ran by cruise ship staff made for teens to hang out and do structured activities. I went to two of the activities and they were okay. I didn’t go to anymore. I didn’t feel comfortable with all of the new faces and had trouble socializing. I usually get more comfortable when I can “feel out” the atmosphere, but with hundreds of different teens, the atmosphere was always changing. As the My Challenges With Vacations post said, my parents didn’t force me to meet my social goals while on a vacation.
3. I was often on my computer while in the suite on the ship
While in my family’s suite room on the ship, there wasn’t that much to do besides sleep. There was so much to do on the cruise ship during sea days, so this wasn’t always an issue. Thank goodness my parents bought the internet package! The problem with this is that when I was bored, I went straight to my computer. As a teenager this was far from an issue in my opinion, but my parents felt differently. They let me be sometimes, but this affected the vacation in a negative way since it sometimes upset my parents that I was always on my computer and not doing other productive things.
Overall, I think that this vacation went well. There were some positives and some negatives, but there will always be some of both. I think that the main thing that helped me during this cruise was my ability to stay flexible, not become stressed due to social goals, have an advocate when I needed it the most, and take breaks when I needed them.