Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Summer of Tevas

Years ago I decided I need to prove--to whom, I'm not sure--that I could go on a vacation that did not revolve around shopping, eating, and drinking or, alternately, working on a summer tan and through a reading list, lounging by the lake at an old friend’s cottage in Maine, known affectionately as the Palace, where the most physically active I got was swimming out to the floating dock at which point turning pages of a book was the only calorie-burning activity in which I engaged. Unless mixing gin and tonics counts. I decided it was important to show myself that I could enjoy an adventurous and physically active vacation. Rather than enjoy a few days lake side or in a favorite city, I could (Velcro) strap on some Tevas and be rugged and daring and come home with great stories and pictures to prove them.

So I went on line and planned a solo leg of an extended trip to the Pacific Northwest…which means I didn’t eschew shopping and cafes completely: days in Portland and Seattle were still in the mix! But I did go hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, and hiking up (part of) Mount Hood. I went white water rafting down the Deschutes. And I didn’t fall out of the raft. All of these little adventures I did by myself.

And that was it. I don’t regret for a minute those days in the Oregon desert or the orchards irrigated by the runoff from Mt. hood and Mt. Jefferson, but I haven’t been on a similar adventure since. Rather, a few years later when another big vacation was in my budget I decided it was okay to take a metropolitan vacation again, to visit museums and outdoor cafes, boutiques and bistros. But I branched out and instead of visiting a city in the states that I know and love I explored London and Florence and Rome. I had the time of my life.

So while growing older has its drawbacks, like failing vision and sphincter strength, there is nothing quite like being yourself and being comfortable with that. I love doing the things that I love and not making excuses, and I enjoy not feeling like I have a single thing to prove to anyone including myself. Two weeks into my summer vacation I am happy to report that I have enjoyed the great weather and spending time (almost daily) by the pool and have read three books so far from my summer reading pile. I have no trips planned other than to restaurants.

That is, there will be no bungee jumping this summer. Or ever.

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