For the last twelve glorious days, stuff the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make involved what beach to spend the day at, what reef to snorkel, and what camera might I like to use. Zach and I just got back from our first real vacation in years and I don’t want to go back to the real world. Where is my Mai Tai?!
A couple of months ago, we decided to go to the Big Island and blast through a boatload of credit card points we’ve racked up over the years. We’ve been to Hawaii once before, on a trip I won at a tech conference (!), and managed to see Oahu, Kauai, and Maui on a whirlwind tour. This time, we stuck it out on one island and I’m so glad we did — the landscapes are so diverse and raw and beautiful, and I feel like we could’ve spent a month there and not seen everything.
On a whim, I only booked the first four nights of our trip before we left and decided to chance the rest. I used to travel that way quite a bit, not knowing where I would end up next. That spirit has taken me to some of my most memorable destinations — to the south of Sweden, to remote beach towns in Goa, to Casablanca and Marrakesh, to a tiny town on the Italian Riviera where I hung out with old men playing bocce ball during a train strike.
It seems I’ve become much more of a control freak over the years because the thought of NOT KNOWING EVERY MINUTE of our itinerary was making me crazy. My inner dialogue was more of a screaming match, and my blank Google calendar taunted me every day. WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO?! In the end, I chilled out, did my research, and felt at peace with a little ‘planned’ spontaneity. Plus, I ordered this book. It’s AWESOME.
In the end, the decision to play it by ear turned out incredibly well. After our first four nights at a VRBO house in South Kona, our spontaneity earned us a ridiculously low price on an oceanview room at a swanky resort (thanks, Hotwire!) and a last-minute opening at a lovely private house on the Kohala Coast. There were black sand beaches, green sand beaches, volcanoes, sunsets and humuhumunukunuku?pua?a. We drank freshly-roasted and locally-grown Kona coffee every morning watching the geckos, tasted tropical fruits and veggies I’ve never even heard of before, and grilled dinner nearly every night at home. And OH! the snorkeling.
Of course there were a few bumps along the road as we both tried to relax into vacation mode and re-learn how to spend 24/7 with each other. The trip gave me a lot of time to think about my health, my creative projects, and our (stalled) renovation. It made me want to work less and play more. To spend more time with friends and family. To watch less television and get off the internet. To read and to write more. To make big checklists and cross things off, things I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
This vacation was a much-needed opportunity to begin thinking about how to recalibrate the balance in my life. At certain times during the past year, I’ve felt like I’m in a crazy workaholic spiral, which is not healthy for my body or my mind. It’s time to reconnect, to create, to turn off the distractions and get moving.
Thinking is only the beginning. Now it’s time to get off the couch and DO.