Beach day!!

I can’t lie. I absolutely love going to the beach. There’s just something inherently peaceful about large bodies of water. Last week I went to south Florida to spend some time on the beach and it was absolutely amazing. Even though I came back with a mild sunburn as a souvenir, it was worth it. One day I’ll live close to a beach and sit out every day for a little bit. 

Work or travel mode

I have to admit that I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. While I try my best to be flexible, I’m happier when things go my way. Traveling has become a pretty big hobby for me now but I find that it’s difficult to switch between vacation mode and work mode. Weekend trips are great but they tend to end too soon and it’s hard to not think about work when you have 48 hours before you have to go back. It’s easier for me to work hard for a period of time and then go exploring than to switch back and forth. I like longer vacations because I think that it actually gives you time to unwind and relax. As much as a regular job with minimal time off can be exhausting, it’s important to have something to look forward to as motivation. When I’m in work mode I’m a homebody. I’m focused and I’m counting down the days to vacation. I’m not looking for new places to explore because I’m focused on doing what I need to do in order to take a much needed break.

Cruising

This past week I had a chance to do one of my favorite things in the world–vacation. I honestly don’t know how people live life without taking a break from everything and recharging. There’s nothing like it in the world and as someone who tends to internalize everything, it’s good to take a break. For the first time in my life I took a cruise and it was amazing. There’s absolutely nothing that compares to sleeping to the rocking of the ship and the sounds of the waves from your open balcony. From the unlimited drinks to the cute guy I met, to swimming with dolphins, to snorkeling for the first time, the trip was a raging success. I’ll definitely be cruising somewhere again soon. I don’t usually post pictures but I’ll make an exception. Best trip of 2016! 

Resigning or Quitting?

It’s interesting how much better the word(s) “resign” or “step down” sound instead of “quit.” A month ago I was in a job that I really didn’t like. I often found myself fantasizing about how I would spend my days if I wasn’t confined to my cubicle answering calls and typing stuff. I really felt that my professional skills were wasting away and that I needed to do something different. I worked from February to June without any days off other than weekends and a holiday so that I could hoard some vacation time and also plot my escape from the plantation—I mean the job. So I applied for a lot of things and started actively searching for something different.  I went on vacation and realized that I had forgotten how nice it was to sleep in for a change and sleep well at night. Throughout this time period I had been interviewing for several different positions. I had a target date for leaving and was starting to mentally prepare for a change. The transition back to my cubicle was hard and I realized that I couldn’t deal with being so confined much longer. After 7 lovely days on a beach, my free spirit was wanting out ASAP. Don’t get me wrong, I typically give plenty of notice when quitting aka resigning from a job. Like at least a month or so. I’ve trained my replacements and created manuals in order to help the next person get by easier. But this was about to be an exception. All of a sudden there was a shift and I got three job offers in the period of 2 days. It was a wrap. I accepted one of the three jobs and the next day I floated into the office and sent an email saying that I resigned effective immediately. It was one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had in my life. It was like I had just been released from prison and I had a new lease on life. I don’t understand why people spend decades in jobs they hate. Life is way too short for all that. Get a plan, work the plan and get out. It’s interesting that later I discovered that most of the people I worked with on my team were being laid off. They say God works in mysterious ways.

Bonus days

I think of holidays as bonus days. While there’s usually a purpose and a reason why the day has been recognized, I’m always grateful for a non weekend day that I’m not sitting in front of my computer in my cubicle. Traditionally I’ve had jobs that required me to be there regardless of what holiday it was. Hospitals don’t close so there’s an expectation that you’ll be working on the days that almost everyone else doesn’t have to. It’s interesting for me how other countries have more holidays and offer so much more flexibility in work time than in the States. I spoke to someone recently who took two weeks off from her job and she said it was the first vacation she had had in three years. Dedication is great but sometimes you have to take a few bonus days on your own and decompress. Even if it means taking a mental health break once in a while.

New vacation experience

Recently I had the opportunity to take a few days off from work and go somewhere new. This year has been primarily spent in my cubicle so it was nice to have a change in scenery that did not include a view of the parking lot from my third floor window. Needless to say, instead of the usual vacation that included a hotel, rental car, and subsequent daily adventures, I went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Upon arrival someone took our bags and we met our personal concierge who was our designated contact person. From carrying our bags to a third floor suite to picking up a dropped fork within seconds at the buffet, the service was amazing. It’s not often that you have daily housekeepers who actually CLEAN, unlimited food (and  top shelf drinks) along with frequent phone calls inquiring if you need anything. It was just really nice. While I wasn’t able to FULLY relax because I was spending too much time contemplating my life, it was nice to only have to decide between spending time at the pool or beach. After that experience I have to say that my vacation expectations have been raised and it will be hard to top the all-inclusive experience. After all, after never having to lift a finger for a week, who would want to go back to anything else?

Travel Reflections 

I just got back from an international trip and had an awesome time. It’s always humbling and eye opening to see how people live on other parts of the planet. Aside from a few moments of genuine anxiety and heart racing panic about missing the flight home and being stuck in an airport in Turkey, the trip was a success. We had a great travel agency, met a lot of fellow travelers, and enjoyed some amazing food. A few things I learned: 1. Travel lightly–hauling a 40lb suitcase plus a duffle bag was hard and I didn’t need everything I brought. 

2. Don’t be obnoxious– whenever I heard someone complaining loudly or whining 9 times out of 10 they were American. It’s embarrassing and gives Americans a bad reputation. 

3. Get off the beaten path. Ironically the BEST Chinese food I’ve had in my life was at a small restaurant on a Greek island. 

4. Talk to the locals. Some of the best suggestions and fun I’ve had has been the result of a local recommendation.

5. Make the most of the experience. Do as much as possible but spend your time wisely. You’ll still be just as jetlagged when you return home.