Cómo estás? Yep, we’re back from Nicaragua, where I got to use my non-existent Spanish skills. Seriously – how did I get through school without studying one lick of Spanish?? Makes me want to sign up for an online course immediately.
So, we had a FANTASTIC time in the land of volcanoes and howler monkeys and gorgeous beaches populated by tons of hilarious red-legged crabs. It was paradise! A much needed and well deserved get-away for my husband and I, as we celebrated our 10th anniversary and the fact that we’re both turning 40 this year. And it was interesting to pay attention to how we were on vacation – relaxed, present, engaged – and the small decisions we made that allowed us to be fully in vacation mode (aside from the obvious: the lack of responsibilities and the demands of daily life!).
I’ll share some lessons learned – mostly, with the intention of reminding myself as I move back into my crazy, busy life. What do you think: is it possible to live our daily, householder lives from that relaxed, present, and engaged place? To live like we’re on a perpetual vacation? Maybe, maybe not. On some level, though, I do think vacation is a state of mind.
LESSON #1: Eat everything, in moderation. This phrase has become almost a cliche, but hey – that’s because it’s a wise way to live, methinks! In the weeks leading up to vacation, I had been eating a very clean, very healthy diet – partly, in preparation for all the beach time I knew was coming! I arrived in Nicaragua feeling healthy, strong and happy in my skin…and then proceeded to eat and drink whatever I wanted while we were there. Mostly, this meant having 3 full, delicious meals a day (bigger quantities than I’m used to), maybe some dessert or a cocktail with dinner. I didn’t deny myself anything, but I also discovered that I didn’t feel the need to go overboard and pig out, either. I just listened to what my body was asking for, and discovered it was quite happy with all the fresh, local fish, the scrumptious passion fruit juice at breakfast, the mellow Nicaraguan coffee, the ever-present gallo pinto (red beans and rice). Now that I’m home, I’m going to employ this same kind of intuitive eating experiment and see where it leads me. Buen provecho!
LESSON #2: Try something new. When I’m in a rut, it’s that feeling of being bogged down by responsibilities while at the same time, feeling trapped by the never-ending routine of life. It’s the same-old, same-old. Traveling to another country is one way to shake things up a bit, x1000. When that’s not an option (e.g. 99% of the time!), it IS possible to try new things right here at home – rock climbing, belly dancing, restorative yoga, singing lessons. Or, in a miniscule (and totally free) way: take your camera with you on your daily errands, write in your journal more often, learn Spanish online (!), cook a new dish. Anything we can do to see the world – and ourselves – a bit differently will help to bring us out of a rut.
LESSON #3: Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot! This last one has been a daily struggle for me that I’m now turning into a daily intention, after my experiences attempting to surf in Nicaragua. Yep, I’ve been talking about learning to surf for months – and we finally got out there and did it!!! It was just as challenging as people said it would be, but way more fun than I even imagined. Honestly, the best part (aside from being propelled by a wave and actually managing to
kneel crouch stand on the board for more than 3 seconds) was letting go of all my inhibitions and not caring that I looked like a total idiot (see above – wipeout!). It helped that we were at a beach where there were tons of other beginners and people learning to surf for the first time – there was this unspoken bond forged between all of us out there who were getting slammed by wave after wave. It was totally comical! At first, I felt myself getting frustrated for not getting the hang of it, but once I let go of that (and came in, got a drink, wiped the salty snot off my face, etc), I found myself laughing out loud every time I fell over and having a total blast. The related lesson here is to take the risk and put ourselves out there in life, for with risk comes reward and JOY! Below is my best wave that was caught on video. :
What about you? Do you think it’s possible to employ some of the vacation spirit in day-to-day life? How have you been successful – or unsuccessful – in letting your down time inform your ON time?