Hello SOTGC community,
This post was inspired by a trip I took this weekend. For some reason I have been obsessed with northern California lately. I have now taken three trips in the last two months and will probably take a couple more before the year ends. I’m not sure if it’s the mellow energy or the fact that I’m not in San Diego which is where I work and causes me some anxiety on occasion, but northern California has been calling to me lately so I’ve responded.
A few weeks ago my friend (who travels all the time for work conferences) said she had to go to Monterey for work. I heard Marin instead of Monterey (selective hearing was in place) and immediately asked if I could join for the weekend because I’ve wanted to check out the Redwood forests for a long time. Turns out she did NOT say Marin, and if we hadn’t figured this out beforehand, I would have ended up flying into the wrong airport (that would have been fun for us both).
The night before leaving, I was in the middle packing and got a text from Kacee saying “Dude, you’re not going to like this place. There is no fitness center, no room service, and no spa.” My first thought was “so…NOT the Four Seasons?!” while simultaneously typing the phrase “there is no fitness center” into the search field in Google because I did not understand what that meant. My second thought was “DUDE! I’m not THAT high maintenance!” So I decided that this weekend was going to be an adventure and the win with having no room service is that I won’t be able to order French fries or pizza at 2 AM…which somehow always happens on vacation.
When I got to Monterey the next afternoon and took a look at the lodge that was the only available option since all the hotels in the city had been booked up by the huge legal conference that was in town, I decided we would chaulk this up to a “camping” weekend and in the meantime would find a resort nearby to book spa treatments.
The next morning my first action item after Kacee left for the conference was to find the closest resort with a spa and fitness center and book massages. All I can say is “I heart Yelp.com” as this task was done easily enough. I thought “Hooray!!! Civilization!!!! I’m blowin this taco stand!!!!” I immediately showered, jumped into my workout clothes, grabbed my purse and laptop, and headed out with the intention of putting 3 years of depreciation into the treadmill, then spending the afternoon lounging around in luxury and comfort.
As I walked through the lobby of our lodge and headed toward the resort I stopped to think about what I was doing. Here I am…in a beautiful area, across the street from the ocean, with warm weather and clear skies. What the HECK was I doing heading to a resort to coop myself up inside all day?
So I handed my purse and laptop to the receptionist in the lobby and trotted across the street. I walked down to the wave line where the sand is hard enough to run on. I took turned my phone onto airplane mode, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. Immediately the smell of early morning campfire, and the clean, salty smell of the ocean innundated my senses. I took several deep breathes with my eyes closed. Letting myself remember a time when I was in my teens, when my family would spend a week each summer on Catalina Island. When I wasn’t thrown off by the words “no fitness center, room service, or spa.” When I would crawl out of my tent in the early morning as my Dad sat by the campfire sipping coffee and smiling at me as I stretched and got ready for my morning run. When the smell of the ocean, the sight of the sun rising high in the sky above the Pacific as I woke my grumpy muscles up with a brisk run was all that I cared about in that moment.
I opened my eyes and started to run. Have you ever watched someone who is used to the treadmill and the sidewalk try running on the beach for the first time in years? It’s like Bambi on ice. I must have skidded, sunk, and slipped my way through the first mile until I got the feel and give of the sand. I laughed at how awkward I must have looked to the other beach goers. I breathed in the salty air and played “catch me if you can” with the waves as they attempted to wet my running shoes while I dodged them, with some very close calls.
An hour later I slowed to a walk where the beach led up to the street across from the lodge. I was exhausted and had no clue how many miles I’d run or how many calories I’d burned. I wasn’t headed back to a suite in a luxurious hotel where a ridiculously overpriced pot of room service coffee and a bowl of fruit and cottage cheese would await me. I had spent an hour remembering that life’s joy is about the little things that have no direct monetary value. Priceless moments because of the memories they bring back and the feeling of happiness and peace they invoke.
For the first time in awhile I acknowledged that life isn’t about the conveniences we come to expect and forget to appreciate as we age. It’s about the little things, and I hope there will always be a little child inside me that screams to be let out so she can play with the waves, and who makes me truly appreciate the simple, wonderful, beauty of life.