Don and I are getting ready to head off on a long-awaited trip to Greece this afternoon, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and his 75th birthday. After 30 years of marriage we know that the lead-up to a big trip can be a bit rocky as my obsession with checklists and detailed plans kicks into high gear and his anxieties flare up, but we have (mostly) learned to manage, Once we are on our way our better selves (usually) reappear and we thrive on the adventure of seeing new places and the relief of being away from our day-to-day routines, responsibilities, and stresses.
This time the lead up to our trip has been different, and much more pleasant. My sister and her husband arrived from Canada on Friday evening. They’ll be using our home as their vacation home for most of the time that we are away, and we’ve enjoyed spending time with them this “overlap weekend.”
For the first time that I can remember I am heading off on a big trip almost totally relaxed. Usually our guest room is packing central and the bed is covered with suitcases and clothes until right before departure, but this time I had to get everything packed up before our visitors arrived so I could stash the closed up bags in our home office. While I did do a little bit of shifting things from bag to bag over the past couple of days, having everything pretty much packed and ready to go meant I could really relax in the lead up to the trip.
And a relaxing few days it has been!
Friday night we tried out a new, very good Mexican restaurant after picking my sister and brother-in-law up from the airport. Saturday afternoon my sister and I enjoyed a spa day and massages at a local day spa thanks to the gift cards I had been accumulating for many months, while my brother-in-law and Don checked out a classic car show and then had massages at the franchise place where we are members. Then we walked down to the ocean and saw an amazing sunset before a nice dinner at home.
Yesterday morning, and again this morning, it was beach time. We live only 3 1/2 blocks from the ocean and we walk the dog along the Esplanade above the beach every weekday morning and once or twice a week in the evening for sunset, but we don’t get down to the beach itself anywhere near as often as I would like. I am a water baby, and being in the ocean truly washes all of my cares away.
The past couple of days have been spectacular beach days. The air is a warm, and the water is a cool but refreshing 67 degrees. Mornings are my favorite time at the beach because the winds are calm, with no wind chop on the ocean and little of the accompanying kelp and murkiness. There has also been no surf, so the water was crystal clear.
Swimming is my go to exercise – I love the feel of the water, the way my body stretches as I move, and the opportunity to let my mind wander without distractions. I swim laps in the pool at our gym several times a week, but my true joy is swimming in the ocean.
So it was a real blessing to be able to swim out to the buoy both of the last two mornings, clearing my head and getting my heart pumping. Both days I saw plenty of fish, and this morning I also saw a school of about two dozen stingrays gliding along beside me – just awesome!
So I head off for our trip relaxed and refreshed…and thinking that I need to plan a “glide path” like this before every trip.