Balcony view on the Caribbean
Humour,  Lifestyle Hacks,  That's Life,  THOUGHTS,  Will Travel

In Between Vacation Update – Caribbean and Canada Customs

Welcome Aboard

Hello lovely people! I’ve just returned from the beautiful Caribbean, and although I’m in between my return and part 2 of our winter vacation in Arizona next week and doing lots of laundry, sorting out emails and details for the next trip, and having a few follow up doctor appointments for hubby, I’m dropping in here with a short post.


We had a spectacular vacation of fun and sun. We were blessed to have everything flow beautifully from our departure to Fort Lauderdale, all the way through our return journey home.


Fort Lauderdale
A view from our balcony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


I had hoped to post more on social media, but between our constant busyness and unpredictable internet, as anticipated, I was pretty much absent on the web. While at sea, the days magically turned into night so effortlessly that time drifted by.


We were up early daily, eating breakfast on the balcony before we headed out by 9am-ish to either our lounge chairs at the pool or exploring on the shores. All the years I’ve been with my husband on vacation, he’s been the one to get out by 6am to secure the deck chairs with a towel and chair clips to ensure we ‘got a good spot’ to soak up the rays without being squashed in by too many other chairs enabling us to turn our chairs around as the sun moved. This time was different.


Balcony view on the Caribbean
A view from my cabin balcony in the Caribbean


Our friends who my husband had always got chairs for as well, repaid the favor to allow him to sleep in, and took turns waking at dawn to secure our seats. Chair saving and positioning is an art, and one the six of us are conveniently all fussy about.The weather was gorgeous and hot, particularly when we got out of the Atlantic into the Caribbean.

Balcony view Equinox
Our lovely balcony


We traveled with our friends Lynn and Gary who we’ve been friends with for 6 years now and actually met them on a cruise. They also live in Toronto, and now book our cruises together. We also met up with other friends we’ve made on past cruises, Deb and Sean from the U.K., who also booked the same cruise to once again spend time together. We soaked up the sun daily, laughed a lot, and met more interesting people, Holly and Brad from Vancouver.


The last supper
Last dinner night with friends: Sean and Deb, Hub and me, Lynn and Gary


Travel pals
Holly and Brad


The routine was simple: Get up early, get into the sun or off the ship and back into the sun after a shopping trip, grab a cocktail to go at 4pm back to the room to shower, lounge on the balcony and get ready for dinner, meet at the bar before dinner then go listen to music or dare to visit the casino, or on occasion head to bed at 930pm when we’d all taken in too much sun and fresh ocean air that knocked us right out. That combination is a great sleeping tonic and had me hitting the pillow and knocked out many nights before I could even read a book.


Amazing sunset in the Caribbean
Gorgeous sunset view from our balcony in St. Martin


So, with our busy agenda and lounging life, I didn’t have much opportunity get on the computer. When I did attempt to use the computer by getting up at 6am to try to steal an hour’s time on it, I found every page load was taking 5 minutes and decided I wasn’t going to spend hours in my room on the internet. Intentions were there but I wasn’t going to allow shaky, lagging internet to take over my vacation. Thus, I didn’t visit many blogs or even get to post pictures more than once on Facebook. Eventually I got over the computer withdrawl stage and relaxed in island time. I have to admit, it was quite freeing to do nothing but relax, laugh, chat, and of course, shop, lol.


St. Kitts

I hope to post some notable moments of our trip and some of the places we visited by the weekend. I have a few short days this week to get organized here and get ready to leave for Arizona early next week. And for many of you who have read my book, Have Bags, Will Travel, and know about my struggles with all my luggage and Canada customs, I’ll share an enlightening recap here of my return home to Toronto airport.


First off, I’m proud to announce that I was quite disciplined when it came to shopping this trip. Subsequently, I stayed within my customs allowance, AND BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE. I’ve made a bit of travel history for myself! But, just because I stayed within the limits doesn’t necessarily mean that Canada customs would take my word for it and may want to have me pulled over for further inspection, so I still felt a little apprehensive.

This time, as usual, they asked me questions about how much I spent and what I was bringing back. And as part of the system, they hand back my declaration card stamped and write a ‘secret code’ number in big red numbers on the card. These numbers always have me perplexed, leaving me guessing as to what fate will be in store for me, so I try to snoop at other people’s cards to see if anyone has the same number as me, or if mine is different, as has been the case many times in the past.

After picking up the luggage from the carousel, we get to either exit the terminal to freedom once handing over that card, or find out we’re being pulled over to the investigation room where they rummage through your luggage to see if they can find something we haven’t declared. I call it the ‘scary room’. I’ve been sent there too many times and done some fancy talking, and gratefully I always managed to get out unscathed.


I had a glimmer of inspiration this time when I noted that the number written on my card this time was ‘111’. Many of you who know my obsession with being guided by angels, may also know that triple sequence numbers, particularly 111 are messages that the angels are around you. I immediately felt calm when I noticed that number.


This was the first time of all my returns home from the Caribbean that I handed in that card after picking up my luggage, and sailed right through customs through the exit doors! A fantastic finish to a fantastic vacation!



 I found this little notice from WordPress in my notifications. Has it really been 5 years?

ACHIEVEMENT5 Year Anniversary Achievement

  1. Happy Anniversary with!
    You registered on 5 years ago.
    Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


    • dgkaye

      Hi Patricia! Thank you. It was a busy, yet relaxing trip. I’ll be posting more on Sunday about that trip, then getting ready to head to Arizona early next week. Stay tuned! And that’s too bad about sea sick. I love those rocky nights on board. It’s like sleeping in a cradle, lol. 🙂 <3

  • Tina Frisco

    You said this was a ‘short’ post lol! Doesn’t matter ~ I loved every minute of it. Felt as if I were right there with you. So glad you relaxed and had a marvelous time, Deb. And really glad you whizzed through customs. Congrats on staying within your customs and baggage allowance! I imagine that was no minor accomplishment. Love the photos. You look fantastic. Remember to take your vitamins this week, so you’ll be primed and ready for Arizona. Love and hugs, girlfriend ?

    • dgkaye

      Lol T, you know me . . . I always have a hard time making ‘short’ versions. 🙂 🙂 I’m going to post more details and photos on Sunday, but I just had to communicate here before then. 🙂 Thanks for the good advice and compliments my sweet friend. And I am soooooooo primed for Arizona! Hoping the weather warms up. Seems every winter I go there, there’s a weather blip. <3 xoxo

  • Annika Perry

    Debby, this is such a buzzy post and the holiday feeling radiates through. So happy for you and also congratulations on five years blogging! I was thinking about your shopping and luggage…glad you filled us in and sailed straight through. ?

    • dgkaye

      Lol, hi Annika. I just returned Monday night and wanted to share something here. I found it only fitting that I should let everyone know I got through customs without a hitch, lol. Now I’m finishing laundry loads and repacking to go to Arizona next week! At least I’ll have internet on that longer stay so I can keep up with the world on the internet easier, and of course, some fun photos will be easier to post directly from my phone, which I wouldn’t turn on in the Caribbean. 🙂 <3

      • Annika Perry

        Debby, I’m impressed you can post from your phone!! I tried writing posts on my iPad whilst in the States and the formatting was driving me mad so I gave up and relaxed instead! Have a wonderful time in Arizona.?

        • dgkaye

          Thanks for the well wishes Annika. But I don’t post from my phone either. I’m home from the cruise and I loaded photos from my camera onto my computer. WordPress is a hassle to deal with on my phone too. But photos I take with my phone are much easier to just send to my file on my computer, and I can post photos directly to social media from my phone. I didn’t turn my phone on in Caribbean for the charges, but I’ll have it on while in Arizona next week. 🙂

  • Aquileana

    Sounds like a beautiful and revitalizing experience, dear Debbie… You are quite right as to how the sun might knock us down… I feel that I sleep better in summer, probably because of that and due to being outdoors too.
    The photographs are wonderful. And so nice that you were with other friends too… excellent that you escaped from winter in such a good way! 😀 sending love & best wishes.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Aq, thanks so much for dropping by. Yes, you would know, living in a warm climate, how it can make you tired. I’ll be posting more this weekend, as I’ve just returned, and leaving early next week for part 2 of my vacation. 🙂 Big hugs my friend. xo <3

    • dgkaye

      Lolllllll thanks Marian. Skinny? Are you kidding me? That word has never been part of my self-vocabulary. I’m not very tall and it seems the menopause dragons have bestowed 8 pounds on me these past few years that won’t budge no matter how strict I am with diet and exercise! I think I just learned how to camouflage well, as I share in 2 of my books, lol. 🙂 But thanks for the lovely compliment. <3

    • dgkaye

      Hi Adam! Thanks for dropping by. Now I hope your neck of the woods has warmed up and stopped spilling crappy weather into Arizona where I’m headed next week, lol. 🙂

  • D. Wallace Peach

    It sounds so peaceful and relaxing, Debby. I’m glad you took the time away from social media to fully enjoy with your husband and friends… and shopping. 🙂 Beautiful photos. And congrats on 5 years!

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Diana. Well it was hard the first few days not being able to log in, but once I decided not to fight it, it was truly nice to be away for awhile from the internet. 🙂 And thanks for the kudos. I didn’t realize I’d been blogging that long, lol. 🙂

  • balroop2013

    Wow! what a wonderful vacation…friends, sun and the sea! what else can you ask for! And you sailed through the customs too! Your words convey the bliss of enjoyment so well Debby…loved reading about your experiences and thanks for sharing those lovely pics!
    Congrats for the 5 year batch, a great achievement! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much Balroop. I feel regenerated and yet I’m in catch up mode with writing and emails galore, and laundry, lol. By the weekend I’ll be packing again, but at least I’ll have much better access to the internet to stay better in touch and visit blogland. 🙂

  • roughwighting

    Hi Debby! I’m on vacation too – but not a cruise, so I can spend time away from the sun an hour or two every day and work on my blog and books. But I think you made a great choice in the end to just forget social media for a while and RELAX. Looks like a fantastic cruise During my ‘sun’ retreat here, I finally got to read your book Have Bags, Will Travel. I related to some of it and laughed through all of it. I’m not a shopper, but I travel a lot, and look for angels as I approach the gangplank, ur, threshold, of every plane I enter. I believe in the importance of number combinations also, so not surprised that your 111 finally got you a ‘free pass’ to the exit line, not the ‘scary room.’ 🙂 (I’ll write a review on Amazon soon.) Congrats on your 5 year blogging anniversary. That’s a huge accomplishment! xo

    • dgkaye

      Hi Pam! Lovely to hear from you, especially on vacay. So funny you read my little travel log and now you can relate to this post. 🙂 Nice to know we’re also on the same wavelength with angels and numbers too. And glad you’re still finding time to pop in around blogtown on your vacation. I’ll be heading out to AZ next week for the month of March, and I too will be around in and out as the internet will be reliable, so morning coffee and a few evenings a week I can drop in and keep on top of things. It was nice to step away from the computer, but always too much to catch up on with hundreds of emails and such, so a land vacation makes keeping up a bit easier. Enjoy your sunshine, and I’m sure you will be posting about it. Looking forward. 🙂 <3

    • dgkaye

      Hi Wendy. Nice of you to drop by. Thanks so much for the welcome and warm wishes. I can’t wait to get to my favorite place, AZ. And also to be on land with reliable internet so I can keep up easier with blogs and writing. 🙂

  • Dorothy Sander

    Sounds like you had a blast! Such fun! I like that you meet people and befriend them on your cruises. I never really thought about what a bonus that would be. (I’ve never been on a cruise, but my hubby keeps prodding me and I have a friend who’s become addicted to them. So who knows?)

    • dgkaye

      Hi Dorothy! Thanks for dropping by. I’m like a friend magnet when I get out of my four walls, lol. I have no trouble making friendships, but am selective when it comes to sizing people up before I let them into my inner sanctum, lol. But it’s always interesting talking to people, and every once in awhile we gravitate to some who share our same values and interests. It’s no different than on the internet. We spend so many waking hours around other writers and bloggers, and eventually we tend to get closer to some through common bonds. I think you would love cruising. 🙂

  • Hugh's Views and News

    I’m pleased as punch to hear you took the time off away from social media and the internet. Enjoying the moments is what vacations are all about. Welcome back, Debby. My laundry is on its way over to you. I’ll pick it up just before you leave for Arizona. ?
    Sounds like you had a fab time and relaxed.
    May the sunshine and warmth of the Caribbean follow you.

    • dgkaye

      HI Hugh! Thanks so much for the lovely welcome. I had a good chuckle on your laundry comment. But just know, I HATE IRONING, so send over your laundry, but it won’t be pressed, lol. Oh yes indeedy, it was a great time and I’m putting together a more detailed post for the weekend with more photos and some amateur video, lol. At least in Arizona I will be able to keep in touch more and post some travel photos as I take them. I’ll have my phone on while there so I will be able to take photos and post them instantly to FB. I may even try some FB Live video! Good training! 🙂 xo

  • Sherri

    Sounds like an amazing time from start to finish Deb, even through customs! It’s great when that happens isn’t it? And I get you with the chair reserving, it is serious business indeed. Hubby always gets that job, bless him! We’ve only been on one cruise – to the Caribbean of course! – for our wedding anniversary, coming up 11 years ago. Reading all about yours, makes me want to go on one again. We met several couples who holidayed with others they had met on their cruises just like you and your friends. You look fab, so glad you had such a wonderful time and lovely to see you again, albeit for a short time before you flit off again lol! 🙂 <3 xoxo

  • Christy B

    Hi Debby! I’m smiling as I see these happy photos of you on your vacation and read about it all 🙂 It’s nice your friends took turns securing the chairs at such an early hour so you could enjoy the sunshine! Congratulations on the 5-year anniversary <3

    • dgkaye

      Hi sweet Christy. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your lovely words. Yes, it was nice to receive back after doing all the dirty work for years, lol. And thanks for the kudos. 🙂 <3

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    So good to see you in the blogosphere! Your vacation looks amazing, and you all do look rested! After a couple of days without social media or the pressure to blog, it does get easier! Judging by all the comments, all of us readers are still here and happy for you! Congrats on your 5 years as a blogger on WP!

    • dgkaye

      HI Terri. Thanks so much for the warm welcome. I’m getting ready to head west early next week, but at least I’ll be more available with land internet. And yes, I was thrilled to see so many of my friends visit here again . 🙂 <3

    • dgkaye

      You would love it Christoph. See my Sunday post for some highlight of my trip to the Caribbean. And if you’re ever wanting to know something I could possibly help you with, you know where to find me! 🙂 <3

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    Oh Wow… what a fantastic vacation you have had.. and sometimes the Universe dictates that we disconnect from the social media from time to time.. I am glad it allowed you that space to relax and enjoy time with your Hubby and your long term friends..
    And Congratulations upon your Five Years anniversary.. Well done..
    And I bet now its all systems go for your next well deserved holiday.. I know Arizona is a favorite place of yours So ENJOY and we will all be here upon your return.. Thats a promise.. LOL..

    Much love to you and you are Looking great by the way… Take care of you.. and your Hubby..
    Love Sue xxxx <3

    • dgkaye

      Hi Sue! Thanks so much, my friend for stopping by. You are so right. It was hectic trying to use the internet while abroad, so it became a treat to just go with it. It was a beautiful getaway and I’ve been home for almost a week and heading out early this week to Arizona. There was so much to catch up on and prepare for work when I return in April. But at least I’ll be around a little more while out west with reliable internet. 🙂 <3 Thanks again for the lovely wishes. Big hugs to you <3 <3

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        So happy to call by.. I have more reading to catch up on your blog.. But I have spent ALL day on and off here trying to catch up with peoples blogs that I have neglected for a while.. And I so appreciate you..But sometimes we have to listen to our inner voices and step back and allow ourselves some Peace.. I am glad you are taking time out to do just that again..
        Much love to you dear Debby xxx <3

  • Sarah Brentyn

    Sounds wonderful! So relaxing. Glad you took a break from the online world (mostly). 😉 I had a good laugh at your art of chair-saving. Ha! Awesome. Love the “random” number on your card. ? Congrats on five years blogging, lovely lady!

  • Norah Colvin

    Unlike our dislike of being watched by cameras everywhere, I’m pleased the angels were watching over you and helped you sail through customs!
    Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. You have one more year than I! 🙂

  • macjam47

    Whoa! Slow down lady, take some time to enjoy your memories of one vacay before dashing off to another. I know you won’t, so happy travels, my friend. Hugs.

  • Sacha Black

    I love that your friends did that for your hubby. What angels. LOVE that you got through customs easy too – like you, I am always pulled over. I’m a couple of months off five years – where does the time go? Congrats by the way! <3

  • elainemansfield

    I laughed seeing you’ve been “flying” with WordPress for 5 years. Easier than the airlines, I think. Glad to hear things started well for the two part journey. The only time I’ve managed extended trips with a number of destinations is by flying to one city, flying out of another, and rental cars or public transportation (Europe) in between. Be well. Rest up in Scottsdale.

    • dgkaye

      Lol, thanks Elaine. Yes, I guess I’ve been flying easier with WordPress than the airlines. And I will admit, it was a bit harried settling back from one trip, catching up with work related things, doctor appointments, and getting ready for another trip all with one week. I’m thinking my superwoman days may be tapering off, lol. 🙂

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