Vacation, All I Ever Wanted to…

It’s been a few days since our guests left for home. I suspect they’re experiencing the same feelings I usually feel near the end of a trip – slight sadness that my journey is coming to an end, a desire to sneak in some last-minute adventures before heading back to the office and a little bit of longing for my everyday routines. Vacations are wonderful to escape the hectic pace and hassles of task lists and deadlines, but much of the time, for me at least, they create their own unique stress and deadlines. Still, nothing beats the chance to get away from it all.

This week’s Kuhnspiration challenged you to think back to your most satisfying vacation experience and also tap into your imagination to put together that perfect vacation to come, as well. Tell me about your most memorable vacation, what it was that made it so satisfying, and where else you’d most like to go and why. Can’t wait to hear about your own adventures. As for now, my own take on the topic…

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This was a tough one for me because vacations and I go waaaaay back. In fact, it’s a hobby that I’ve mastered quite competently. Planning – love it and do so quite thoroughly. Packing – Ms. Details here rarely forgets anything. And taking the trip itself – taking advantage of every freakin’ minute and mile available to satisfy our travel goals, well, it’s simply what I do best.

I’ve gone on some tremendous trips  – on a college humanities study tour of Europe at 19, with my family for its great California and Nevada adventures of ’89, plenty of awesome ballpark trips with my hubby, and so on. But if I had to say the most satisfying, I’d say our 2001 summer trip to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Why is that? Because it’s not often that you plan a trip, get let go months before you embark, decide to go on it anyway and get hired while vacationing. Our goals that summer were simple: (1) to not let my unemployment since May (when the company closed its doors) get in the way of a planned good time and (2) read as many books as possible. If memory serves me, I brought along three humor books – 2 George Carlins and 1 Al Franken (gives you a little insight on my own self-therapy techniques, doesn’t it?) – and I read them all while sitting out on a peaceful balcony at the hotel overlooking the soothing and fog-enveloped nearby mountains.

Of course, we had a blast putt-putting, going to Dollywood, touring the quaint village of Gatlinburg and doing all of those things that tourists do. But the most fun was simply allowing ourselves time to truly REST and READ, and isn’t that really what vacations are designed for, after all – resting? We often forget that when family and airports get involved.

I had gone on a particularly encouraging job interview just before the trip but had tried very hard to put it out of my mind because every time that I thought things had gone well and anticipated an offer, I would set myself up for disappointment. This time, I at least had the vacation and my entertaining books to distract me from thinking of the possibility of finally landing a new position. The email came through about two-thirds into the trip. Not only did the man make me an offer, he actually raised the original discussed salary by a grand. I was in heaven. It was the most money I’d ever been offered up ’til then, the fella making the offer completely impressed me as a great boss-to-be and here I was vacationing with the satisfaction of knowing I would go back to the security of employment again. I’ve never again captured the same feeling I experienced for that last part of the trip, as we hit Atlanta for the final leg home and caught a Braves game and tackled Six Flags. I do believe I was living in the clouds for the remainder of that trip, and it was a lovely place to be. Now, I no longer dreaded heading back home from a vacation because I knew I’d be back in action in no time!

We’ve visited plenty of new places since that 2001 trip and after working there for four years, I ventured into a different world for employment – the media – but there’s one trip I still long to take with my husband, and I’ve even posted it on the vision collage on the wall facing my desk as a not-so-subtle reminder. England. Though I did get a chance to visit many of the famous London sites as well as Canterbury and Dover during my ’89 European trip, I didn’t get to set off on my own and see some of the pop cultural sites of interest – namely Beatles sites. I’m itching to take my husband over there to see all things Beatles throughout England, as well as Stonehenge and perhaps a return to Canterbury… money and time, money and time, money and time. Always the pesky factors – and if you manage to have one, you often can’t swing the other. But someday…that will surely be a memorable adventure to come. Someday…

So where have you been? And where are you going? I want to know all about your worldly travels which left the greatest, long-lasting imprint on you.

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
Chris

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