Recharge your batteries with a 24hr staycation

A well planned 24 hour escape is sometimes all you need to to recharge your batteries.

When we travel it’s most often with the kids in tow and this can sometimes leave you needing a vacation from your vacation. I’ve been feeling like this since we stepped off the plane from Chile a few weeks ago and we’re about to embark on another family adventure soon. In the mean time taking care of this family, working and preparing for the next adventure had me feeling a little less than perky these past few days. Then my husband came home form work one day and I could just tell he was feeling the same, we needed a break.

On Tuesday I decided to book us a room in Victoria, 3.5hr drive away, arranged the grandparents to have our kids for a sleepover and informed my husband about our plans for Thursday night. But I knew it wasn’t just about being somewhere else we needed to relax, not just sleep in.

By the time we left Thursday after work I had the workings of a 24hr relaxation plan. We drove to Nanaimo and picked up dinner along the way. Speeding along the highway we talked about our week not even with the music on in the background just talked and got everything out. When we arrived our room had been upgraded to a harbour view and it would have been nice to just relax and let the exhaustion of the week take over but we bundled up and headed for a brisk walk around the inner harbour in the crisp night air. Victoria is brilliantly light up at night with perfectly spaced lighting around the Legislative buildings and reflections of the street lamps off the water it never feels really dark.

A post walk drink at our hotel bar sitting by the huge window over looking the boat slips below was the perfect night cap to the first few hours of our 24hr staycation.

Before we went to bed we decided on ordering room service breakfast which is really out of the norm for us. I LOVE brunch, but the goal was to relax and I didn’t want us to hurry off in the morning to beat the morning brunch crowd. The best part is it seems hotels have come around and the room service menu was in line with what you would pay at any restaurant these days. The food was good, not spectacular but honestly having it delivered hot to your room exactly when you want while you are still in your jammies was perfect.

Part of the plan I had concocted was going to a gentle yoga class at a studio nearby. We went to Hemma yoga studio and moved through a 75 minute class with an emphasis on guided mediation at the end. We left virtually silent, practically melting into our car seats. We really didn’t talk much on the drive home, we didn’t need to, but when we arrived to pick up the kids all felt right in the world again.

I never regret taking time for just the two of us our journey together is just as important as our journey as a family there’s no destination worth arriving at to simply let our foundation fall to pieces.

Advertisements

Travel, be prepared for the changes ahead.

7 weeks after arriving home from our adventures in Chile we’re getting ready to pack up our bags for sand, sea and surf once again.

We’re not rich, we don’t have the luxury of huge bank accounts and unlimited vacation days, but we choose to make travel an important part of our lives with our children.

When we visit our friend’s homes I envy their nice couches and fancy cars. Heck, I even dream about one day having clean matching fluffy bath towels and so does my husband but we choose to spend our hard-earned money on travel because that’s who we are.

It’s not about judgement. I don’t judge others for their choices I’m simply just stating mine so when you come to visit you don’t expect nice bath towels.

Lately I’ve ben trying to put a finger on what makes traveling so vital to my core being. It’s actually a hard question to answer because not every trip is relaxing and/or exciting.

What I know is traveling opens my eyes to the struggles of other people in this world some of which have been so shocking they’ve changed my entire perspective on survival, on life. You see, I have witnessed unwavering human strength. It’s quite a remarkable thing.

While volunteer nursing at Kanti Pediatric Hospital in Kathmandu Nepal some 10 years ago now I spent some time on the burn unit. Unfortunately this was the most overcrowded unit in the hospital because many families use open flame and oil for cooking. Children often came in with second or third degree burns. One child, a little boy around 5 years old, was brought in by helicopter from the remote Everest region just before my arrival.

This little fella was lucky to be alive his mother had been holding him when she was hit by lightning, dying instantly, his father carried him for 3 days until he reached help. Over half his body was covered in third degree burns from the lightning strike. When I met him it had been almost a week since his mother had died. During our first encounter he was lying beside his father on an ancient hospital bed; my heart sank a little. I knew his recovery would be a steep uphill battle, maybe insurmountable. Over the next week I watched his father care for him with trepidation he seemed to be floating through actions, holding his breath. There were 2 nurses on the unit and they did all the dressing changes, rationed the morphine, family members were to take care of the rest, feeding, bathing, comforting, etc. When this little fella needed blood I sat at his bedside while his father went to give his and read him a few stories. When the father returned I was right in the middle of pulling the sheet up over his son’s little body, my back turned to the door, all I heard was a small yelp and a thud. When I spun around I saw the father on his knees in the doorway. I instantly thought he was light-headed from having had his blood drawn and went to him. As I bent down to help him up his arms enveloped me and he squeezed so hard it almost took my breath away. I was motionless, frozen and barely able to breath. When the translator came over to assist me learned the father was profusely thanking me for being there with his son, shaking my hand, calling me an angel. The lump in my throat was overtaking my voice and I was struggling trying to tell him his son was only asleep. He thought I was pulling the sheet up over his son’s head. He thought his son had died while he was gone. He was devastated. The translator did not know the child was alive and he was wiping tears from his own eyes when I finally found my voice again, through heavy sobs, I got it out. Asleep. Alive. Not dead. We all crumbled into a flood of tears.

I can remember the hospital room this man and his son lived in for the rest of my time at Kanti down to the very detail when I close my eyes. It’s a thread sewn into heart and mind forever.

Sometimes when things are getting a little hectic around here well, I think you know what I’m going to say. It’s not just about counting our blessings though, every trip changes me a little, sometimes a lot, focusing my ideas, direction, the way I parent, be a friend, a co-worker, a wife. If you knew me 10 years ago you don’t know me now and I’m sure I’ll be different in 10 more years because our old dilapidated couches aren’t that comfortable so I’ll be out there in the world continuing to explore, the world and myself.

 

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about” Ben Franklin

I was recently having a conversation with an elderly gentleman who was emotionally very frustrated because he was conscious of his inability to remember some very important life events. He was very sad, wiping away tears with his shaky wrinkled hand, so I sat with him awhile and listened to the stories he could remember eventually watching the tears of sadness turn to tears of joy, sharing a few hearty belly laughs before the end. You see he was an adventurer and I could relate to many of his stories and shared some of my more memorable ones with him. When we were done we parted with a hand squeeze and a brief shared look that we knew acknowledged the suffering but also the joys of our moment of shared time together.

After our conversation the thoughts swirled and swirled in my head resulting in a bit of a tornado. You see dementia, Alzheimer’s, they all run in my family and I just kept coming up with the thought “was I just having a conversation with myself in the future?”

Sometimes in the dark recesses of my mind when I forget someone’s name or the exact details of an event this little evil thread runs through “is this the beginning?” It can be a bit daunting carrying this weight around somedays. I try not to ruminate on it because what will be, will be. Maybe it’s why I’m drawn to words, stories, the truer the better. I feel a deep need to get it all down. Have it somewhere my boys and possibly their children can come to and read. See the photographs, read the stories of their adventurous family roots.

I can’t get enough of hearing about people’s adventures in this big wide crazy world. We all might not be climbing mountain tops or exploring exotic rainforest everyday but if you’re willing to step out the door with bit of saved up money and two feet and a heart beat, take some risks, rise to the challenges I’ll be waiting at the end to hear your story beer in hand.

Who knows how long we each have to live our adventures, to remember our stories, to share them with others, so get out there make stories together even those terrible scary moments you may look back and laugh about one day.

The first time my husband and I traveled together to Mexico we were backpacking around the Baja for a week. I had booked the first night hotel as we were landing late at night then it was moment to moment. We didn’t have a lot of money we were both in college and we had booked our airfare on travel vouchers we had been given after a trip to see his family in Chile when our flight home was overbooked. We spent the first night at a cheap small hotel in Cabo San Lucas and the next morning set off on the bus to San Jose del Cabo. As we disembarked the bus at the beach my husband informed me he had left all our money tucked under the mattress at the last hotel then he went and phoned the hotel and asked the receptionist to look to see if the money was still there. It was absurd. We bussed all the way back holding our breath and finding hope in the smile of that Mexican receptionist envelope of cash in hand. We walked to the first bar we saw and laughed over cold beers breathing a sigh of relief we’d have a roof over our heads that night. We just weren’t really sure where!