On Friday I boarded a glorified lawn dart home from Vancouver, having spent the previous week taking part in two separate conferences: the Community University Expo (affectionately known as the C2U Expo) and the Canadian Evaluation Society’s Annual Meeting. It also included a week catching up with friends whom I don’t get to see nearly enough.
However, this particular post isn’t about the conferences as I’ll likely write about those on my other blog. This post, instead, is about all of the other stuff that happened while I was away.
First and foremost, I got to see friends I don’t get to see nearly often enough. I know I already stated that in the introductory paragraph, but it warrants repeating. My hope is that by writing it down multiple times, I will be reminded to take a break from the eleventy-billion things I’m juggling to take the time to spend with the people I care about. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be jumping on a plane every other weekend to visit my friends (although we probably shouldn’t rule that out as a possibility), but it does mean that I should at least take the time to contact them on a more regular basis because they have a way of grounding me, inspiring me, and pushing me forward even when I think I’m about ready to give up. They also challenge my ideas, and when necessary, offer me a swift kick in the ass. Which leads to my second point.
After several conversations with Dr. Beth, Nancy, Anne, Rick, and Robbie, I came home with the realization that I need a vacation. Not a work-vacation which could describe the bulk of my recent travels, but a real proper vacation; one where I don’t have access to work, and one where I can step away from the barrage of emails I typically receive on a daily basis. I want to go away and forget about the reports, the papers, the planning documents, and the whatever the hell impending deadline is next on my list. Instead, I want to go somewhere and empty my brain of all of that; replacing it with anything that isn’t a responsibility.
Based on my previous adventures, I think what I need most is a trip akin to Everest Base Camp, or Machu Picchu, or Hua Shan. Of course, some of you might be thinking that’s not a vacation because of the physical toll it might take to summit a mountain. And you’d be correct about the toll – it can be and often is exhausting. But it’s also exhausting in a completely different way. It’s a physical challenge that punishes and exhausts me in ways that nothing else can, but it also allows me time to breathe and focus on a very specific task. I think this single focus is the key to my rejuvenation. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting on the beach and watching the ocean waves hypnotically wash along the shore, but if I truly want to rejuvenate, I think I need the single-focused challenge that comes with summiting a mountain. And there’s also something to be said about the views from the top, and the holy shit, I just did that realization.
Whatever the case, I need some time to step away from my projects to rejuvenate, to recenter, and to enjoy the world around me. Where that means I’ll end up is anyone’s guess. But you can bet that my next few days and weeks will be filled with research until I figure out what new adventure awaits.