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Posts tagged ‘Vacation’

My Upcoming Nature Trek: 4000 by 24

I love Nature.  My sanity and spirituality are grounded in wandering through nature and appreciating what all it offers.  In fact, I used to take Nature Treks every May.  But when I moved into educational management in 2002 with a 12-month contract (rather than a 10-month contract as a teacher), the chances to get away dwindled.  Then some health issues started surfacing in 2006 and my trips grew shorter and farther apart.  Over the last few months, however, I have started getting back into my role as a Roadside Naturalist.  First, I took an overnight trip to Yosemite and then another to Sequoia National Park, both in an effort to make sure my bad knees would not undermine my getting out in Nature.

Those short excursions went well.  I am excited now to be heading out in the morning for a longer rejuvenating trek into Nature.  I will be visiting some new places such as Canyonlands National Park, Pike’s Peak, and Starved River State Park as well as some favorites such as Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon.  Along the way, I will stop and see friends in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, and New Mexico.  I will be gone for 24 days and will be covering at least 4000 miles.  This is going to be so much fun!

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the adventure.  I am not fully certain my knees will hold up and let me explore everywhere I have planned, but I figure I won’t know what is possible unless I try.  The packing took some strategizing as well.  I needed to take enough “stuff” for almost a month, but packed in such a way that I can cart in to each hotel only what I need overnight.  Good thing I like planning and details.

One night last week—as I enjoyed some Orange Chicken and Beijing Beef for dinner—I opened two fortune cookies.  They confirmed for me that this trip will be a grand adventure:  

fortune 1

fortune 2

You might be wondering why I am alerting my readers to this upcoming trip.  I wanted to explain why I will not be posting very frequently.  I know! I know! I do not post very regularly as it is, so what’s the difference?  My usual tardiness just sort of happens.  With this trip, I am expecting I will not get much posted until I am home.  However, I will have internet access everywhere I stay, so maybe I will finish some drafts I have started or share some photos of my trip while I am gone.  My more official sharing of the photos I take on this adventure will be posted after I am home.

As I head out on this adventure, please keep your fingers crossed for me.  My goalis to find spring flowers, beautiful skies and clouds, and marvelous vistas on my journey as well as enjoy some long overdue visits with good friends.  I doubt I will get to photograph the bear who has been raiding the bird seed at my friend’s in Colorado, but the scenery will be terrific regardless. I am just hoping I am not delayed by a late snowfall or an Illinois thunderstorm.  But then, changes in weather often produce great photo opportunities.

While traveling, I am sure my mom and dad will come to mind.  Dad would love to be taking pictures with me at the various national parks I will be visiting.  Mom would love the flowers I am sure to find, such as tulips in Iowa.  I am also hoping my aunt’s lilac bush cooperates with some blossoms when I am in Illinois.

One of Dad's Nature Photos

One of Dad’s Nature Photos

When I am in Arizona, I will probably wander through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert as a tribute to my parents.  The last time I visited those locations was with them.  They were not hurt in the accident, but they totaled their car when they were in Arizona visiting friends. Rather than drive a rental or fly home—they felt those options were too expensive!—they called me to come pick them up.  I was able to juggle my schedule, hop in my car, and do just that.  But we played a bit on the way home!  I am sure they will be there with me this time around as well!

Finally, I hope you have some plans for a vacation sometime this spring or summer as well.  We all need to get away at some point to preserve our sanity!  What are your vacation plans?  If not heading off somewhere, what do you do to unwind and regain your sanity, balance, perspective?


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 “Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”   Maya Angelo

“When all else fails, take a vacation.”   Betty Williams

“There was nothing like a Saturday – unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That of course was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.”    Nora Roberts

“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”  Mehmet Murat Ildan  

“I’m going on vacation. I’ll bring you back a souvenir suitcase. It’ll be full of love, but otherwise appear to be empty.”  Jarod Kintz  

“Every person needs a time out, away from stressful jobs, pressures from employers or clients, home responsibilities, etc. Everyone deserves to enjoy, visit unknown places, try other things, meet a lot of new friends, and feel at the top of the world. Life is full of fun, excitement, and adventure. Thus, vacation is an experience that’s worth remembering for a lifetime. It heals a weary mind and soul.”   Alon Calinao Dy 

“Her purchases just about busted her vacation budget, but what else is a vacation for, if not for overindulgence and mindless extravagance?”   Candace Schuler

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”  Earl Wilson

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”  Robert Orben

“Vacation: Two weeks on the sunny sands – and the rest of the year on the financial rocks.”  Sam Ewing  

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a vacation….enjoy the simple things in life.”  Catherine Pulsifer

Summer: A State of Mind

It’s mid-July already and I have no plans to go away for any sort of vacation.  In fact, I have no plans to consciously go out and play on a staycation either.  In part, my time and energy are not available for any sort of “’cation,” given a long-term project I am involved in. In part also because I am working to settle some family matters that need day-to-day attention for the short term.  But mainly, I have decided to just have fun and act like I am on vacation!

You see, I figure summer is really a state of mind, regardless of weather and time off.  I live in Bakersfield, California, so summer means heat, temperatures typically hovering around 100 degrees or higher.  But those numbers stick around through September.  When I think about “summer,” various connotations come to mind.  Summer means rest and relaxation, extended time with family and friends, carefree days, long often cool nights, spontaneous play, and lots of good food. 

When I really think about summer, I realize it does not matter so much if summer is simply one day off a week, a three-day weekend or an actual week or two off from work. It is what you do with the time you have that makes it feel like summer.  It is the attitude brought to the activities!

So, with the few weeks left until fall semester starts, I am trying to use my time and attitude well—and enjoy my summer.  With my virtual vacation, I do not get bad sunburns, sand in my shoes or shorts, or itchy mosquito bites.  I do not waste time standing in long lines and fighting crowds.  I do not spend more money than budgeted because something unexpected comes up on the road.  I am not exhausted getting back from my vacation but needing to get back to work anyway.     

This year, I am enjoying my summer by doing the following:

Enjoying some wine or a cold beer or a margarita with friends, as we talk into the wee hours—it is just that we are on the phone not face-to-face.  Long conversations with old friends are always a treat!

Sitting outdoors at night to watch the night stars and hearing the brook babbling through my apartment complex and the croaking frogs that have taken up residence there.  There are no lightning bugs in California (except in a ride at Disneyland), but they are nice evenings nonetheless.

Enjoying the sweet luscious ripe delicious fruits of the season, such as watermelon, peaches, strawberries and black berries.  The avocadoes are good too, and the tomatoes.  Yummy.  I am making salsas and fruit salads and loving every bite.

I am not getting out to movies or ball games or visiting gardens or national parks, but I am re-visiting past activities end enjoying them all over again via some of my photos.  The Arboretum is close by but Valley of Fire State Park and Monument Valley are great places too!

In the evenings I am staying up to watch movies and read fun escapist novels.  I just saw Casablanca again! I have some of my other favorites to re-watch lined up and ready to go as the mood strikes:  Victor/Victoria, A Knight’s Tale, Fried Green Tomatoes as well The Fugitive and Die Hard.  I will rent some that I have not seen over and over again too!  And lately, I’ve re-discovered Janet Evanovich’s fun novels about Stephanie Plum, the unlikely bounty hunter living in Trenton, NJ.  Of course, these indulgences are possible any time of year, but they are more typical for me during summer’s down time, so they feel like summer vacation fare whenever I do indulge.

Sleeping in is always a treat, not just a summer extravagance.  But in the summer, after long nights up till the wee hours of the morning, sleeping in is so much better.  Given this summer I have Fridays off for the most part, I am able to stay up late and enjoy the morning with no alarm clock. And naps!  Naps are always a treat, especially on lazy summer afternoons.

The flowers of summer are great too.  Lingering wild flowers as well as roses, sunflowers, and daisies are evident around my complex and throughout the city whenever I do head out to work or play.  Bringing the flowers indoors is just an added bonus.

Finally, I plan to treat myself to a souvenir.  I typically like to buy jewelry, maybe something in turquoise or onyx—some natural stone.  I do not have to be out and about to do that! 

Okay, I know that this list does not sound like a thrilling summer.  But I can either relish these little activities or I can complain I am not getting a summer vacation this year.  I choose the former.  And I am hoping and planning that next year at this time, I can be taking an actual trip.  But I bet I will enjoy these activities then too.

So what are the everyday summer activities that remind you of the fun and spontaneity of the season?

What are you doing to make the most of the rest of summer?

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