Do you ever have one of those vacations where you come home and feel like you need a vacation from the vacation?
Yeah, I just had one of those.
Don’t get me wrong—I love going on vacation. But it’s still great to return home to my family and my nice, comfy bed.
Two weeks ago, I attended a work conference in Seattle, Washington. The conference was jam-packed with sessions from morning to night. I learned a lot, and it was great to see my work colleagues, but conferences can be extremely exhausting.
Anyhoo, after the conference, my work friend H and I rented a car and drove to Portland, Oregon for a girls-only vacation.
I was so proud of myself for driving a strange car through 2 states without getting lost or eaten by bears. Really, I deserve a medal for this act of bravery.
The Pacific Northwest was like a whole other world, and I picked up a few life lessons along the way.
Put down your iPhone and enjoy nature.
Wowee, I’ve never seen so much green! Every surface of Seattle and Portland was covered with moss and leaves and life! It was beautiful, and being out in nature really made me appreciate how amazing the world is…if we’d just take a moment to really see it.
Focus on the present, not the past.
We took a drive to Mount Hood and stopped at the famous Timberline Lodge. This impressive resort hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Despite the long history of being a premiere destination for skiers, Timberline is best known as the haunted hotel from the classic horror movie, The Shining.
You’d think that the resort would capitalize on the Hollywood connection, but there is no mention of The Shining in the brochures, on the Web site, on anywhere in the hotel. We only found a sentence about the movie in an Oregon sightseeing book.
Although the owners of Timberline could make a lot of money by attracting film buffs, they instead focus on making their sports-enthusiast customers happy. I can understand their perspective. Who wants to be stuck in the past reliving old memories? I could fill my blog with stories about my rotten childhood, but I’d rather focus on living a happy life now. All we have is this present moment.
Be silly—you’re on vacation!
The greatest Portland landmark by far has to be Voodoo Doughnuts.
Oh my gosh, the place smelled like Heaven! They had a whole variety of vegan doughnuts. I haven’t had a doughnut in…wow, almost 20 years! Here’s a picture of the one I got.
Yes, it’s a giant chocolate-covered cock and balls. And yes, it was cream filled.
OK, this post is getting a little raunchy. Let’s take a look at these innocent children’s books I saw.
Hmmm…. Well, then. Moving on!
Celebrate your culture.
There’s a lot of cultural pride in the Pacific Northwest. Check out these spirit-animal stones.
My spirit guide is totally the skunk…or maybe the space coyote.
There’s also a large Asian population in Portland. Here’s a Chinese archway we saw downtown.
Get over yourself already.
I wish I could say that I was the perfect vacation companion, but I was not (sorry, H!). It rained every day of the trip. Every. Single. Day. All. Week. Long. I was less than thrilled to be soaking wet and cold everywhere we went, and I certainly acted like a grumpy bitch.
I got a bit of perspective when we visited the Japanese Gardens. The flowers and ponds were amazing and so very Zen. I could feel myself relaxing although I could feel the rain seeping in through my jacket…and my jeans…and my shoes.
The weather situation could be a metaphor for life. Bad things happen to everyone, but so do good things. We’ll be happier if we can learn to adapt and persevere in trying times rather than complaining and focusing on how miserable we are.
People will always surprise you.
I was thrilled by how many restaurants in Seattle and Portland had vegan items on their menus or even separate vegan menus. Here’s a delicious tofu hash I had for breakfast.
It was so refreshing to see how open they are to other dietary needs. Way to be accommodating! (But Portland, we need to have a serious talk about all those smokers.)
Don’t believe the hype.
Sadly, there were no sparkly vampires hanging out in the woods waiting to seduce me. Maybe next time.
The only real bummer during my trip was that I had to work during the conference and vacation. I’m the “middleman” for a lot of my projects, and things tend to fall apart without me (not good, I know).
If you’re able to, I recommend leaving work behind and truly enjoying your personal time off.
When was the last time you went on vacation? What did you learn?