Saturday, October 24, 2015

Top Ten Vacations

Active leisure is part of our lives. We must find time to take an extended break. Pause. Turn off. Tune out. Find a distraction. See something different. Do something different. Be active at something not done in a long time. Take a vacation. Relax, refresh, refocus, and re-energize. Hopefully good stories are shared at the end of the vacation. Sometimes vacations are a catalyst for good fortunes coming soon.

I realized the importance of vacations when I took a staycation in 2015 for the first time in my life. I was unemployed spending hours seven days a week job searching, learning new job skills, and refreshing existing job skills. I took a one week staycation listening to podcasts, watching DVDs, and watching baseball on TV. I ate at an all you can eat sushi restaurant for the first time. My staycation reminded me to pace myself. My staycation reminded me my strengths. Avoid overstressing. Do everything one at a time. I discovered my sense of urgency finding a job must have intelligence.

Here are the top ten vacations:

10. Russian River (2013). The last time I took a vacation prior to the staycation was a weekend trip canoeing along the Russian River. It was my first time visiting Wine Country in Northern California. Very calm.

9. Cal Poly (1998). A friend invited me to visit him during Cal Poly Open House weekend. I helped his club raise money during the event cooking teriyaki chicken. Cal Poly was the first time I walked inside a university in my life. Cal Poly was the last time I walked inside a university after I graduated from San Jose State University.

The Cal Poly weekend vacation was the first time I went on vacation solo. I went shopping at an outlet strip mall purchasing neck ties.

8. Oregon (2005). My parents, uncle, and aunt took a road trip from the Bay Area to Oregon as far north as Portland. We were interested in purchasing real estate. My uncle knew a real estate contact person. It was the first time I purchased goods in a retail store without a sales tax.

7. Santa Barbara Weekend Trip (1998). My mom and I planned a weekend trip at the last minute. We transported our family birds to one of my aunts in Los Angeles. We met at my grandfather's house. The next day we drove my grandfather back to the Bay Area.

The highlight of the trip was a Mustang car driving next to me from Soledad to San Jose. Sometimes I was in front of the Mustang. Sometimes the Mustang was in front of me. We separated when I took another freeway entrance. We drove together at least 2.5 hours.

6. Las Vegas Grand Canyon (1997). My family's first biggest summer vacation. We stayed at a time share during our stay in Las Vegas. We took a two day trip to the Grand Canyon in the middle of the Las Vegas vacation.

The Las Vegas Grand Canyon vacation was all a first time for me. They included first time to Las Vegas, first time I gambled, first time in Arizona, and first time in another time zone even though Arizona doesn't recognize daylight savings.

5. Washington Canada (2005). Another vacation filled with firsts. My friend moved to Washington in 2002. I visited him in Washington for the first time. The first time highlights included visiting the Space Needle, visiting Canada, and riding a ferry.

The life lesson I learned was be patient.

4. Yosemite National Park (1995). 1995 was filled with family vacations. We visited Disneyland, stayed with my grandparents in Santa Barbara, and canoed in the Sacramento River. The best vacation was Yosemite. It was my first time visiting one of the most popular national parks in the USA. Every Californian should visit Yosemite even if it's one day.

3. Las Vegas (2004). Win money in Las Vegas is a shoe-in for a great three day vacation. My Washington friend and I walked away winning money playing craps and playing Camel Races in Luxor. We also played $2-$4 limit poker at Binion's Horseshoe when we visited Fremont Street.

2. Washington Canada (2008). The timing was perfect to visit my Washington friend for the second time. I lost my job because my contact was terminated. I was lost personally. I didn't know who I was. I was a wreck. The Washington Canada trip was my ultimate distraction. The sky was the limit when it came to spending. I discovered I was a beginner again ready to start my life fresh.

1. Zion National Park (2015). My cousin organized a two day backpacking trip to Zion National Park. We backpacked The Narrows Top Bottom. Our GPS recorded 23 miles of hiking down the Virgin River.

A good vacation is when there are a lot of firsts. I checked off lots of first times and checked off items in my bucket list. They included backpacking, camping, multi-day hiking, adjusting my clock to another time zone, and visiting Utah. I also visited Las Vegas where I met my cousin's party for the first time since 2006.

I experienced what it was like feeling I want to quit. I didn't quit because I must finish the hike. There were no alternate short cut routes. I also experienced willpower. The first day was willpower and adrenaline. I learned the importance of willpower.


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