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Celebrating International Women’s Day on Isla Mujeres

Passport to the new you, courtesy We Move Forward

This is a sponsored post written by Janna Zinzi on behalf of We Move Forward.

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Isla Mujeres Changed My Life

Isla Mujeres changed my life. Sounds dramatic but it’s true. I visited the island for the first time as part of the We Move Forward 2013 conference team. Based on what I saw online, I knew that I was heading to a natural tropical wonderland. It was a welcome respite from the cold, gray winter in New York City, and an escape from being on the hamster wheel of life. You know, that same daily routine where you find yourself working harder and harder but not really going anywhere? I had no idea how much this trip would transform my life. So much so that 10 months later, Isla is now my winter home.

beachside on Isla MujeresThe funny thing is that I didn’t find Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres found me, believe it or not thanks to Twitter. I’m online most of the day because I work as a communications consultant for various women’s organizations but in October 2012, an account called “We Move Forward” tweeted at me. I saw that it was a women’s conference based in Isla Mujeres and I was immediately intrigued. In my other life, I’m a burlesque dancer with Brown Girls Burlesque, and in my bio my “character” is from Isla. I believe in synchronicity so I started to chat with We Move Forward founder, Janeen Halliwell, about participating in the conference and coming down to the island. I was over the moon…psyched.  Going to Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, for an International Women’s Day conference was a dream come true.

Transformational travels

I was so excited to finally arrive in Cancun and boarded the shuttle to the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal. The easiest way to get to Isla Mujeres is via the ferry that runs every 30 minutes (at least until 10 p.m. when it runs hourly until midnight). Once I got on that boat and stared into the mesmerizing turquoise and royal blue water, I couldn't stop smiling…or taking pictures.  Its depth and beauty are truly captivating, I was transfixed. For me, the big city hustle and bustle seemed like planets away and I didn’t miss it one bit.

dockside culture ~ Isla Mujeres styleOnce you arrive it’s easy to see vestiges of Isla’s former life as a quaint fishing village with dirt roads. It’s much more developed now, mainly due to tourism, but it still maintains a small island feel unlike its commercial neighbor, Cancun. You disembark “downtown” or “en el centro” which is a collection of delicious restaurants, thriving bars, artisan and souvenir shops, hotels and beaches. We Move Forward was an ideal introduction to the island for me because Janeen has lived here part-time for over 10 years.

The conference takes place amidst of the gorgeous beaches of Playa Norte with tranquil aqua water and smooth tan sand. It’s lined with fun beach bars; Fenix being my favorite because of their out-of-this-world ceviche, tasty margaritas and awesome live music every day. It’s a short walk to Avenida Hidalgo, the main tourist drag, with restaurants of every flavor and bars playing all genres of music. You’ll find various upscale Mexican and Caribbean fusion cuisine, along with mouth-watering watermelon or hibiscus margaritas at Lola Valentinas, pizzas and crepes at Café Italia, or muffins and piroschkis at the Rooster Café. Seafood lovers should try the waterfront Cockteleria Justicia Social on Avenida Rueda Medina, near the ferry. There’s fresh fish daily and you actually see the fishermen pulling up in their boats.

What you’re searching for is already within

All this amazing scenery, food, music and culture is the perfect backdrop for a conference that is all about living your best life and connecting with your passions. It wouldn’t have had the same impact if I was sitting in a hotel conference room in New York City, or Minneapolis, or Denver. They are all great cities but there’s something significant about the beauty of Isla Mujeres that allows for introspection and transformation. The calm rubs off on you. Things that seemed so serious before you got here seem manageable. Not in an escapist way but the nature and pace opens your perspective once you allow yourself to go with the flow. That’s not easy for a speedwalking and speedtalking New York businesswoman who earns a living following the 24/7 news cycle and Internet chatter.

inspiration, passions and truth Being surrounded by such natural beauty makes unplugging a lot easier, even in the many places that do offer wifi. There’s so much to see and experience that you want to take it all in. You want to drift off and daydream to sounds of the waves or the sway of the palm trees, to lose yourself in the sea’s spectrum of blues, or smell the vibrant hibiscus flowers. There is space to reconnect with your center, making it an ideal setting to prioritize our self-care. It’s also the kind of place you want to share with people you care about so they too can experience Isla’s magic.

Being able to take some time to appreciate the natural beauty of this island has inspired me to make some real changes in my life. The conversations from We Move Forward 2013 encouraged me to be honest with myself about my dreams and desires. I learned that women of various ages, backgrounds, marital or financial status, geographic locations are often dealing with the same issue of prioritizing others over ourselves. We’ve been taught and internalized that living our passions and speaking our truths is selfish…something only “bad” girls/women/mothers do. And our spirits slowly wilt. Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, is a place to reclaim yourself and your life. And We Move Forward is the spark that can reignite your inner desire to live out loud. It did for me.

Want to learn more about the We Move Forward Movement? Visit them on social media and start chatting with their community members:

Connect with GoGirlfriend on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation.  

To comply with a long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, GoGirlfriend will be traveling to We Move Forward (WMF) as a social media correspondent and brand ambassador. Our expenses will be sponsored by WMF but all opinions expressed are those of GoGirlfriend.

About Janna Zinzi

Janna Zinzi ~ @JannaZinziJanna Zinzi is a strategist, storyteller and a scribe who spends time between Isla Mujeres and New York City. You can learn more about her at SwirlPR and BrownGirlsBurlesque or follow her adventures on Twitter @JannaZinzi and on Instagram as goddessjaz.

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Wonderful article on Isla Mujures written by an amazing woman !!

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