Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty.

How was your trip?

How was my trip?

How was your trip?

Hold on, I lost my script. Oh, here it is – my trip was why isn’t my life filmed. 

There is a lesson to be learned after my vacation to the Florida Keys and Ft. Lauderdale and it’s this: you eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty.

Nutrition labels. Calories. Gluten. Sodium. Dairy. Fat. Carbohydrates. Screw ’em. Screw ’em all. You’re in vacation mode. Feed your body. Pour drinks down your throat.

It’s called vacation-you.

If you want key lime pie for breakfast, you eat key lime pie for breakfast.


If you want blackened mahi fresh off the boat, grab a reel and start fighting.


One fish won’t do. The mahi mahi doesn’t turn into counted calories on vacation. Eat a cooler full. Vacation-you can eat it all.


Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of Screamin’ Reels IPA while the mahi cooks because vacation-you always looks like the cover of GQ magazine.


Don’t like beer? Grab a Jamaican and ask him to slash open a coconut for you. Lick that sweet coconut milk off your lips and make sure you tell him thank you. Vacation-you should always be thankful to eat when you want to eat and drink when you want to drink.


Don’t forget to rest the body of vacation-you. That’s just as important as eating and drinking. It’s as essential as water.


It’s a vacation rule. You eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty. This simple life lesson is told for a good reason – an ambulance ride with a 10-year-old.

It was Sunday, a travel day. It was the day we left our home in Kansas City with plans to arrive at Hawk’s Cay Resort in the Florida Keys.

We arrived at Hawk’s Cay around dinner time. We had our condo keys in one hand and a complimentary vodka lemonade in another. The kids followed us onto the property, dragging their luggage and lemonade. We were starving. Dinner took priority over unpacking. We could smell french fries. We had a mission.

We walked along a sidewalk. Emma’s body hit me. Her head slammed a rock. She was quiet. I screamed for Scott to turn around. My body couldn’t move. I saw blood on Emma’s legs. Scott lifted Emma’s head up. Emma whined.

“Scott, she fainted. I think she fainted.”

Concerned guests stopped and asked questions.

“Did she faint? Has she been in the sun all day?”

“I’ll get the hotel staff.”

Emma’s face faded to grey. Her lips turned white.

“Hold…uh..head. Down. Feet. Up.”

A woman with some sort of European accent put Emma’s feet in my arms.

“Hold. Feet. Up. Ok? I medicine. Nurse.”

Scott asked Emma if she was ok.

“I can’t see anything. I can’t see. My head hurts. Dad, my head hurts.”

Paramedics showed up with a stretcher and took her vitals. Scott explained that we just checked in after traveling all day. Emma’s face was still grey. Her eyes were closed. The paramedics evaluated Emma.

“After assessing her, we’re not comfortable with letting her stay here. We think she’s dehydrated but we can’t take the chance with her head. She’s needs to be taken to the hospital.”

Emma was carried out on a stretcher. People stared. Parents held their kids out of the way. I walked behind the stretcher. I was in shock.

“Mommy, how did that girl get hurt? Is she hurt?”

“What happened? Oh, I hope that little girl is ok.”

Within twenty minutes of checking in the resort, I rode with Emma in an ambulance down one of the most beautiful highways in the world. Cars moved over. Sirens were blaring. Emma was still. Her eyes were shut the whole time but she was answering the paramedics’ questions. I held Emma’s hand. I prayed I wasn’t re-living the nightmare my niece had almost three years ago – bleeding on the brain. My niece survived after emergency surgery.

“She’s not bleeding on the brain, is she? That happened to my niece. This can’t happen to me again. I can’t do this.”

“Her vitals are still good, Mrs. Burton. All signs are pointing to dehydration. We just want to make sure. It’s a good sign she’s talking.”

Emma received an IV at the hospital. Her CAT scan didn’t show any bleeding on the brain. The resort sent Scott off to the hospital with turkey wraps, chips, applesauce, yogurt, and waters. They sent enough for the entire family. The manager asked Scott to keep the resort updated on Emma.

Emma was back to her normal self a few hours later. The IV turned her face pink again. She was awake, talking and laughing at Kate running around the hospital without shoes on. The doctors and nurses reminded us to keep her fluids up, especially in the sun. Keep food in her. Wear sunscreen. Relax.

You eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty. It’s a vacation rule. It’s how vacation-you survives.


Emma was fine the rest of the vacation. We kept a close eye on her and made sure she had something to eat and drink. We soaked in salt water because everyone knows that always helps vacation-you.

You can’t get that in Kansas.



Wait, donโ€™t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Vacation-us is back in the Sunflower state, far away from any hospitals in the Keys.

6 thoughts on “Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty.

  1. WHOA, woman! So many different emotions as I read through this post! First, it looks like an awesome vacation! I totally agree that you gotta eat when you’re hungry and drink when thirsty but not only while on vacation. I eat pie for breakfast while not on vaca – just saying!

    Awesome fish, btw!

    Re: Emma, Holy Shit!! I so know the panic and feeling when your baby faints in front of you and looks unresponsive. So terrifying! Nothing we want to witness ever again, right? So glad she’s ok. xo


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