I began my first real vacation in three years a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely wonderful. I’ve taken time off in the past few years, but nothing involving travel and adventure. I won’t let so much time go by again.
My daughter, Vanessa, came to visit and in the past that has meant the two of us staying in my tiny RV Wanda and going to the zoo or movies for fun. This time she had a full eight days to spend with me and I structured that time so that we did not spend a moment in Wanda, which was a blessing for me. I made a point to stay off the computer as well, with the exception of posting a few pictures on Facebook.
We went to Yosemite, spent a couple of days with relatives, and then we headed to Napa Valley and on to Ft. Bragg. We spent one night in Yosemite’s Curry Village and the other nights either with relatives or in motels, the last of which was the luxurious Westin on the Sacramento River. They have beds that a person could easily spend their lives in, plush to the max.
Getting to experience all this with my sweet kid was great. What I found was most pleasurable was being away from my daily experience, away from my home, away from the cares of everyday life. I escaped, for a while, the regularity of my existence and stepped into other worlds. We had more than one adventure; searching for a place to eat in Napa and stumbling on to Downtown Joe’s – excellent breakfast, sitting for a bit along a quiet portion of the Merced River as it ambled through Yosemite (pictured above), exploring the awesome Ft. Bragg Botanical Gardens, finding a world-famous restaurant - The French Laundry - and ecstatically photographing my chef daughter in front of it and among their gardens across the street.
Returning home was a jolt, but a day or so later, I was dog-sitting for my sister and found myself zoning out on their On Demand. Since I don’t have a television, I took the opportunity to watch Seasons 3 and 4 of the absolutely amazing Showtime series The Big C and every available episode of Storage Wars. I came away with a brain washed clean of all the realities of my own life, as if my mind was a giant blackboard and someone had taken a big eraser to it.
This two week period brought home to me what I’ve always known but sometimes forget to act on; that rest, relaxation and adventure are necessary ingredients to a sense of renewal everyone needs in life. It’s difficult at times to recognize how badly run down we are, especially if we don’t consider ourselves to be working at our full potential. That, in fact, can be even more stressful on a person than clipping along at a frenetic pace.
Last night, I ended my two weeks of self-imposed vacation, after spending an entire day watching Season Three of the FX show Damages on my personal DVD player. As soon as I mentally declared myself back from vacation, my mind started frantically working. I had several amazing ideas for books I’m working on and a new one. It was exhilarating.
All this from two weeks of escape from reality and one, only one, Bloody Mary!