Sweet vacation ends.
Lovely unstructured time.
We will meet again.
Sweet vacation ends.
Lovely unstructured time.
We will meet again.
We returned from our motorcycling trip to South Dakota/Wyoming one day early because we were back in Minnesota and relatively close to home. We decided that sleeping in our own bed and seeing our kitties was a more important priority than getting the most out of our camping reservation at Sibley State Park.
Someday we will probably check out that park, and camp there. But I was happy to get back to my own bed, my kitties, laundry facilities at home, my car which I can drive anywhere (unlike my husband’s Honda VTX). Vacations are wonderful, restorative and good ways to get out of the routine of our lives, and get some new experiences to fuel our creativity.
I have to admit that limiting my online time in an intentional way really challenged me. I like being plugged in, able to see the weather forecast or my email at a moment’s notice.
I like having access to a GPS while I travel, or restaurant recommendations via Yelp, or AirBnB searches when the camp sites are too wet for comfortable tent camping. The internets make our lives so convenient. We take them for granted.
The only time we turned on a t.v. was in the Travelodge in Wall, when we wanted to check out the rain forecasts. I don’t really watch a lot of t.v., and I don’t miss it. Occasionally I like a series on Amazon Prime or Netflix, but we don’t have cable, and I typically watch more t.v. in winter when the weather limits what I like to do outdoors.
Mostly I prefer books (and blogs) and other non-commercial sources of entertainment. I only took one book with me: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I have read it before, but savored one chapter a night as I read it a second time. Lovely book & I highly recommend it if you have not read it. Ever since I read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I have been in awe of Monk Kidd’s work.
I also enjoy thinking as entertainment. My imagination provides unending sources of enjoyment. There are stories I plan to write down. I complained to my husband once that, without my laptop, and with only my handwritten journals to write, I could not seem to capture my thoughts fast enough. But I did journal every day, sometimes twice.
So one aspect of home that I am enjoying about being home, in addition to catching up on reading my favorite blogs, is my keyboard, and the ability to get my thoughts down a bit faster. I also really love access to my kitchen, and being able to make my own salads with pumpkin seeds (hard to get a decent salad in South Dakota), and cuddle time with my kitties.
However, that aspect of reconnecting with my self, while surrounded by nature, is priceless. During our final night in Big Stone Lake State Park we had the entire tent camp ground to ourselves! It was awesome. No kids, no obnoxious drunk adults (fortunately that only happened one other night of camp), a cozy camp fire, lightning bugs after dark and abundance fresh air, trees and space.
Home sweet home is sweeter when you appreciate all you have after being away.
Cheers & happy weekend, amigos/as!
On Monday night, hubby and I opted out of a wet, windy camping experience and booked a B&B in De Smet, South Dakota. Sunday night we’d spent the night in an AirBnB basement that was basically a retirement community (9 units) on the main floor. It was better than a wet camp site, for sure. The hosts treated us so kindly, they even washed and dried our clothing while we were at dinner. I had asked if we could borrow a clothes dryer, but their hospitality went beyond that.
The actual B&B was a different experience. One of the owners arrived an hour after our scheduled check in time and began telling us how difficult her life is, and how hard it is to have a B&B and another rental property. Her sad story implied we were a burden rather than welcome guests.
In the morning, the kitchen area was locked, so I went across the street to buy coffee. Two other sets of guests were present at breakfast, but she barely interacted with any of us. It was odd, and I believe she must be going through a difficult time in her life. My husband suggested she probably needs anti-depressants.
That might be true. I kept trying to maintain my attitude of kindness and compassion, but I have to admit, it was hard. When people receive money for you to stay with them, while I don’t expect excessive gratitude, I do expect not to be treated as a burden. We had found 3-4 AirBnB options the night before that were cheaper and would probably have worked fine for us.
I had opted to “splurge” on a real B&B because I figured we would at least get a decent breakfast. Well, it was a passable breakfast. At least the room was cozy and clean. The bathroom was also clean. I will say that.
The moral of the story: whatever attitude you project out into the world is likely to be reflected back at you. It’s not to say that every interaction is a reflection of your own behavior. But when your interactions imply that others are a burden, they will not want to return. It’s certainly no way to run a hospitality business. A bit of gratitude goes a LONG way.
When was the last time you took yourself truly “off the grid”?
This means: no computer, no internet, no phone. Just fresh air, big sky, and lovely space all around you?
Remember when phones used to be objects mounted on a wall of our house somewhere? When they didn’t constantly go everywhere that you do, like digital leashes?
I do. But for the 16-18 years (?) I have carried a mobile phone with me. It has become indispensable. I sometimes ask: What did people do before having cell phones? Where did they get their information before Google?
Sometimes it is good for us to allow our minds a little boredom, a break from the constant stimulation. This Wednesday, I am recommending you try that, for 12 hours or maybe 24 hours if you are really brave. Power it all off. If your work is dependent on being online, you may have to save this for a weekend.
Then: observe what happens to your thinking, your emotions, your conversations.
Phone addiction is a real thing. It works on a principle called intermittent reinforcement. You may not even realize how those little pings and dings affect you until you turn them all off.
But it can be cured. The answer is to go without, and to have regular breaks from all of that stimulation. In the same way most of us get a 11-12 hour fast each night after dinner and before breakfast, we can “fast” from technology. And it has distinct benefits for your concentration, energy and relationships.
I encourage you to give it a try. While I am on my break this week, I am trying it as well. Given that my favorite meditation app is on my phone, this is tricky. But I can always record my meditations in my trusty little notebook, pen and paper old-fashioned style, and then log the sessions later.
Please let me know if you try this and what you discover in the comments.
It is my birthday and if things go according to schedule, we will be landing in an AirBnB in Huron, South Dakota by evening.
Since I am mostly off the interwebs, this is a pre-scheduled blog. No Sunday haiku this time, but I know you won’t complain, ‘cuz it’s my birthday. 😉
Some things I am especially grateful for in the past year:
Hello there, lovely peeps!
We are off on vacation starting today, so I am off my laptop and mostly off the web for the next 12 days. I might post a photo now and then of our journeys. But today, on the eve of my birthday, it is off to pack the motorcycle trailer and hitting the road by mid-morning.
Have a great weekend! Cheers & enjoy your summer. I know I will!
My Love for this Man:
It sometimes Surprises me.
In the Evenings.
Quietly resting with Cats.
He fills me with Calm.
All Over my Page.
And also in the Margins.
My Heart Overflows.
To you, mi Amor. On the eve of our vacation trip. I really look forward to our time together during our upcoming adventure.
I recently implemented Wellness Wednesday as regular feature to my blog to give it some rhythm and focus during my week.
This week, since I have a vacation coming up starting on Saturday, I want to focus on the wellness practice of scheduling vacations at least twice a year, and being committed to taking them. This can be challenging in the U.S., where we do not have mandated vacation time by law, and companies have discretion about how much vacation to grant.
However, whether paid or unpaid, time off is a very important part of self-care that allows us to recover from stress. It also allows for time away from the day-to-day grind that can sometimes sap our energy and dampen our creativity. A change in setting and in the rhythm or pace of our week can provide the necessary variety to rejuvenate our ability to generate new ideas.
I used to believe I could not take a vacation, that people could not cope without my absence. Now I look back on that as a youthful delusion. Planning ahead, putting it on the calendar, and committing to taking it means I anticipate activities in advance. I allow others on my team to be resourceful and solve problems in my absence. I make sure to communicate on any pending projects where input may be required.
In order to fully enjoy vacation, I typically do not check email and I use that ubiquitous auto-responder for my email box. I used to invite people to call me for urgent issues, since I do not check email. I no longer do that. If something is truly urgent, they will probably call. But since I am not a physician (like most of our customers) and lives are not on the line if I am not in the office, fortunately, very little rises to that level.
When planning vacation, if you can take 2 or more weeks off in a row instead of just one, at least once a year, do it! One week of vacation allows for tasks to pile up while you are gone, and you may have a full inbox, because people will wait for you return rather than seek someone else out in your absence. For a two week vacation though, I find that people either solve their own problems, or find someone who can answer their question, and it seems there is less of a “build up” while being gone.
Another reason to take 2 weeks, if you are anything like me, it literally takes me the first 3-5 days to truly get my mind AWAY from work, and get into the rhythm of vacation. If you only have one week off, take means only 4-5 days to truly enjoy yourself once you find that rhythm. If you have two weeks (or more), you can truly immerse yourself in the pace and enjoyment of your vacation.
For me, this June’s vacation will be a chance to connect with my husband and share some new adventures on our motorcycle. We will see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse (South Dakoka) and Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. I’m excited – I have never been to either one.
Do you have vacation plans for this summer? What will you do to make sure you are ready?