Friday, August 24, 2012
Vacation expectations, good and not so much
When it comes to vacation, I'm luckier than most Americans. I've been at SELF for 11 years, so have accumulated more than a month of vacation time, and I take every bit of it. (At the magazine, we've reported that people who take vacation are happier, healthier and more productive when they're back at their desks, so no shame there.) The trouble with vacations, though, is that there's tons of prep before you go, not to mention weeks of day dreaming and hyped up expectations about perfect days, romantic nights, etc., etc. But on vacation, like in real life, there are the disappointing moments (crowded beach! dingy hotel room) and, worse, the moments when you feel as if your brain is still back at your desk, though the vacation days are ticking away. It's a challenge to ramp up to 90 mph before you get on the plane, than put on the brakes and shift into cruise control, where life is easy and worry free. I haven't quite done it yet, and I beat up on myself for that. On the plus side, my hubby and I went to Petra today, in Jordan, with a small group. I'd read that the walk was arduous and the temperature steamy (think: 108 degrees F.). Given that I've seen so many ruins in Italy, Turkey and Greece, part of me was thinking: Is this really going to be worth it? Well, it was. The truth is, it wasn't that hot (much of Petra involves a walk through a narrow red-rocked canyon, so you're shaded from the sun), and the walk is probably about 3 miles all told; not bad at all. And it's quite something to see huge buildings and tombs carved out of the face of a cliff (think the Grand Canyon with a Greek temple jutting out). In other words, the experience exceeded my expectations, though it didn't take my breath away. What I'm looking for is to get into that vacation zone, where thoughts drift, things happen spontaneously, and you feel good mentally and physically. Not. Quite. There. Yet. I'm feeling the pressure.