Katelyn & Frankie: Choose Cuba over the Groupon.
We read recently that travel to Cuba might become more difficult. Just with the current red tape, getting to Cuba can already seem daunting. Here's a good guide to getting over that. If you’re tempted to skip Cuba and opt for an all-inclusive Groupon to whatever has a beach, we get that. But hear us out. A vacation can be used for a simple refresh, a momentary break from the grind, and it can have a greater use. If there’s one thing we learned from our time in Cuba, it’s that amazing things happen when you maximize the utility of something.
The intent of people-to-people travel is not to just do tourist activities, but to meet Cuban people, talk about life in the United States, and learn about life in Cuba. Achieving the latter was more refreshing than a beach.* Instead of just hitting the reset button and returning to the grind, we returned home a little bit better prepared to take on that grind.
*We did beach too, Google Varadero and be jealous.
One big take away is that we left Cuba inspired to be more resourceful.
Park benches are meant to be sat on. Museums are meant to be visited and quietly walked through. While these functions are widely accepted as enough here in the States, you should know that in Cuba, the singular use of anything is challenged.
Until school lets out, park benches are used for, well, normal reasons to sit on a park bench. After school, they quickly transform into soccer goals for teenagers.
Across the street from the park, you might be surprised to hear music blasting from the Museo de la Revolución. And if you try to enter to museum through the side door, you will be turned away unless you’re wearing your dancing clothes. Why is this? Spaces that are not being used for exhibits in the Museo de la Revolución are being used as spots for other purposes, like group salsa dancing classes.
Benches can be sat on, and scored on. Museums can be places to reflect on the past and places to dance while enjoying the present. Old stuff can age and evolve at the same time.
We left Cuba with a new understanding of the term old. Contrary to what we often accept as true, old things don’t need to be replaced just because. 55’ Chevys don’t have to become untouchable relics. Cubans use them daily to get from place to place. Yes, this is real...in case you’re thinking that these cars are just on travel brochures and postcards.
If that’s not enough to convince you to put in the slightly additional effort to choose Cuba over that Groupon:
You should know that Cuba is the only place to learn what good cigars and rum should taste like. And going there will leave you inspired to play more park soccer, drink more mojitos, and dance more.
P.S. Best piece of advice we received before we left was to print everything.
Huge Thanks to Frankie and Katelyn for their post! If they didn't convince you to get to Cuba ASAP, I hope the gallery experience will. Make sure you're subscribed to SavvySunflower, so you can be the first to immerse yourself in a visual gallery of Cuba.