This week I’m in Arizona on vacation. What I mean by “vacation” is: I’m not at a conference and adding on a couple of days of travel, and I’m not visiting any relatives (I’m off the hook, as I have no relatives in Arizona). I’m in a place of my own choosing, engaging in non-pre-planned leisure activities. I’m staying at a luxurious (to me) hotel in Scottsdale, The Hotel Valley Ho.
On my imaginary fitness vacation, I was going to take advantage of the 3-hour time change from Boston to transform me into an early morning activity person. Imaginary early-morning-Catherine had big plans:
- daily hikes 7–9/10am (because of the extreme heat– 95F/35C by 10am).
- back-to-back yoga classes afterward, ending around 1pm.
- hanging out at the pool under an umbrella, reading my kindle.
- Minimum work tasks done (no more than 30 mins/day).
- heading out mid-afternoon to museums in the area.
- Early evening laps in the pool, followed by easy yoga before bed at 10pm.
Let’s examine these in order. First, daily 7am hikes.
Here’s where I imagined spending the 7–9am slot:
Here’s where I actually spent the 7–9am slot.
I did a lot of resting, lolling, internet surfing, idle reading. I even ordered room service breakfast one morning. Lucious.
What about those yoga classes? I did do back-to-back yoga classes the first day. I got reacquainted with kundalini; it was hard but interesting. Then there was a one-hour yoga nidra with sound healing. What is sound healing? Someone plays gongs (very cool) and crystal bowls (less cool to me) and talks in a quiet voice. For an hour.
I imagined this experience creating blissfulness. Instead, I spent the whole yoga nidra class lying on the mat, thinking about lunch. Pro tip: don’t do a yoga nidra/sound journey class while hungry. There were no repeats of this plan.
What about pool lounging? How did that go in reality? Here’s the pool I thought I would find fun for chilling out.
Instead, after lunch, I chilled out here and here:
Honestly, I did work in my room during the heat of the day. I’m teaching an online logic class for summer school, and the students require care and feeding each day. I knew this when I went on vacation, but in the imaginary version, this work took only about 10–15 minutes a day. On my real vacation, it took 1–1.5 hours. There was also some end-of-fiscal-year paperwork to do, which always takes about 4 times as long as I expect. No biggie– it’s what real life is like.
I also found the big pool area too loud, too hot, and too public for me. I really wanted a retreat from the world, which surprised me. But I was lucky in that I had a retreat– the above-pictured spaces. I read and napped and worked some and chatted on the phone (yes, I’m an outlier who uses phones for real-time voice communication). It was great.
What about those museum trips? Not so much. I did go to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s western desert home. It is marvelous and I highly recommend it. But I didn’t make it to other museums. In the end, I preferred meeting up with some friends in the area for drinks and early dinner. It was so much fun, hanging out and laughing and talking and eating super yummy southwest Mexican food.
Okay, fine. I needed a rest, and I got one despite my imaginary vacation plans. But what about the evening pool laps? Did I do those?
Yes, after a fashion. I went to the other pool 2 of the 3 nights I was there. I had the place all to myself, and there was no music, no bar, no nothing. Just me, palm trees, water, dark sky, and stars. I did lazy laps, and lots of floating. Here are a bunch of pics. The water in real life is blue, but my iphone preferred purple. Hey, no problem– it accurately reflects the cosmic grooviness of my swim experiences.
This pool was one of my favorite vacation experiences ever. It was relaxing, quiet, sublime. yes, I did some laps– at a chill lazy pace– followed by lots of floating. Ahhhh.
I learned a good lesson this week: sometimes, we need a vacation from everything, including our own vacation plans. What I ended up doing was so satisfying– I rested, I read, I swam and floated, I yoga-ed a bit, and I took a lot of photographs. So much fun.
The second half of my Arizona vacation is a trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona with friends and their three kids. It will be more active, less spontaneous, and certainly less quiet. I’m ready, having rested well on my real vacation here.
Readers– do you plan imaginary vacations and actually do them? Do you change plans a lot? Ever? Never? What counts as a real vacation for you? I’d love to hear from you.