Hi, Everyone!! I’m back from my vacation and have so much to share with you I’m bursting at the seams! I really missed my little blog and all of my readers. I hope you had a great week, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with each of you
I wanted to post a single photo that would capture just how amazing the past week has been. While I do have several photos to share (these will be sorted out and posted on Wednesday), I have something that I think is more appropriate for today – a memory:
On our second day of kayaking in the bay just off the Gulf of Mexico, we asked the owner to direct us to an area where we could see things we hadn’t experienced the day before. She was kind enough to give us coordinates to her favorite location. After recording them into our GPS she said, “Just start heading 2 miles that way,” and pointed on a fixed area out to sea.
We started paddling, and about 40 minutes later we began to notice how far from land we were. The water that day was utterly still and looked like glass and the only sound we could hear was that of our own voices. After a while, my husband said, “We’re here,” so we came to a stop, threw in our anchor and let ourselves drift a bit.
It only took a few minutes before I silently pointed towards a place where I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a break in the water. Then, as if on cue, they were all around us. From that moment on we realized we were in the midst of something wonderful.
Coming up for air were numerous Loggerhead sea turtles. We watched in silence as they rose to the surface, purged their airway of saltwater, took in a deep breath of fresh air, then disappear below the surface. Suddenly one loggerhead, weighing roughly 300 pounds became curious of our kayak and surfaced less than two feet away; then just as quickly, she disappeared back under the water. For those few minutes it was as if the rest of the world disappeared; it was just us, and them. What a gift it was to be able to experience something like that.
We picked a perfect place to completely unplug from life. The area we visited is called ‘The Forgotten Coast’ for a reason. No high-rises; no amusement parks; no neon. Just quiet, sandy beaches, friendly locals and the freshest seafood around. It’s also a nature-lovers dream vacation. Without effort we saw a pair of bald eagles scouting for fish on the beach every morning; we watched dolphins swim west at dawn, and east at sunset. We walked the beaches during low tide looking for seashells while stingray and blue crab swam around our feet.
As you may remember before I left, I decided that this vacation was going to be a no-plan, Winging It comfort zone challenge. So, how did I do? Well, first I want to share with you part of an email I received the day before I left from a very wise, very thoughtful Munchberry:
Nothing can go wrong because there is no itinerary to relaxation. Perfect. You lay around, you stroll, you kayak the tranquil bay, you go to places that you pass by and pique your interest, you window shop, you head out for impromptu picnics and lay back, look at clouds (hand in hand) and do some dreaming.
If you tried to plan out a trip like this, you would ruin it. This is not a vacation – it is a get away from it all where relaxation and peaceful feelings ensue.
And you know what? She couldn’t have been more right. I didn’t fully understand what she meant until after my return but trying to plan this trip would have indeed, ruined it. We left our house with bags in hand, not knowing what to expect from moment to moment, and that became a good thing. Since I had already decided to let go of that pressure – that need for my trip to be perfect, I wasn’t crushed when our luggage ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota instead of our destination airport. Arrangements were made and it did arrive eventually, but there was a Target store on the way, so we bought a few things to get us by until then. Had I not reminded myself of my decision to just roll with it, my whole outlook probably would have been different. I remembered the importance of this challenge and what I wrote on my blog before I left…
I need to let go of the illusion that things will go the way I want them to just because I have a ‘plan’. My husband and I don’t get much time away together, so when we are lucky enough to get a vacation, I put way too much pressure on myself to make sure that everything goes perfectly. In reality, all it does is stress me out, and since I’m still in the process of eliminating negative and stressful situations from my life, this needs to be worked on.
…and looking back I could have easily thought to myself, We haven’t been gone 5 hours yet and already our luggage is lost. What else is going to go wrong? Sadly, my attitude – not what did or didn’t happen – could have set a negative tone for the rest of our trip. But that didn’t happen because I didn’t allow it. I couldn’t change the fact that our luggage was somewhere else, but I could certainly control how I was going to react to it.
When I was 27 and at my heaviest weight I went on vacation with my practice husband. We flew to San Francisco which should have been one hell of a trip for an Indiana girl, right? But all I did was obsess about my weight the whole time I was there. Instead of living in the moment and appreciating what I had right in front of me, that obsessive thought instead became the highlight of my vacation. Life is a gift. Either I wallow in it or I live it; my response to it is my choice.
I can proudly say that I passed this challenge with flying colors and it taught me a lot about the way I choose to see my life, but even though I went into this challenge with the idea of going with the flow, you all helped me set that plan into motion – and keep it there. So, please share in this success with me because your comments and support really helped!
As I mentioned earlier, Wednesday will be Picture Day. I haven’t finished sorting through the many digital photos and video that I took. We all know how boring it is to look at someone else’s vacation pictures, so I want to share my best ones with you. Until then, I’ll be catching up on your blogs, trying to get my body adjusted back to this cold weather, convince the dogs why they should get over being mad at us for leaving, and catching up on my favorite shows: The Office, Parks and Rec and Big Bang Theory. In other words, back to reality – dare I say, a slightly sweeter reality