With all this talk about anxiety that is life (or grad school), I felt like it might be a good time to talk about another type of stress relief--vacation! While music is a great coping mechanism, especially in the "immediate" and the "short-term," everyone needs a break from time to time. For most of us, we may have experienced Fall Break only a few short weeks ago, and the holiday season will soon be upon us (Thanksgiving in a little over 2 weeks, Christmas in 6?!). But what about in between the holidays...those weeks that we seem to just exist, mindlessly, turning in one paper after another, or floating from one day to the next, never really knowing what came before or what comes next?
To put it simply, we need a vacation! I know, I know, you're thinking, "Lauren, vacations cost money, and quite frankly, I cannot afford (both financially and schedule-wise) to get away for a week (or even a few days)!" Despite the fact that some of you may think I don't actually do any schoolwork, I do understand financial and scheduling constraints associated with vacationing.
In regard to financial constraints, I'm not sure if any of you have heard, but there is a new phenomenon gaining popularity--staycations. According to the ever-resourceful UrbanDictionary.com, a staycation involves, "Staying at home during your vacation instead of traveling to a pleasure destination. This can be caused by high gas prices, or just a shortage of money." The idea of a staycation sounds pretty cool; stay home and play games with the family, cook, watch movies, read books...or be a tourist in your own hometown, looking at the city with rose-colored glasses and exploring sites you've always said you're "too busy" to visit.
I hear staycations can be pretty fun. In fact, one of my good friends said her family did a staycation as a way of saving money for an upcoming wedding they were planning. They all seemed to really enjoy it, and it severed to be a great excuse for family bonding time. Who can argue with that?
And yet another alternative to the vacation is...the daycation! Again, our friend the UrbanDictionary.com defines daycation as, "A short trip out of town for only a day. Leave in the am and return in the pm." Daycations encourage the exploration of new or different locations, but typically don't break the bank or put a wrench in your schedule or standing commitments. So, for the mid-range financially burdened one, or the busy-yet-needing-a-break one, daycations may be the answer.
Daycations are probably the most challenging for me to wrap my brain around because I'm such the concrete/sequential individual who isn't entirely adept at changing plans on a whim. However, the daycation seems most properly excecuted as a last minute decision to have a daylong adventure. Thankfully, I have a bit of a diverse group of friends, many of which challenge me to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while. ;-)
That being said, I'm finally getting to the true inspiration for this entry. Yesterday, Lendy and I went on a daycation! What started out as the idea of an opportunity to visit the mountains of Virginia for photographing the beauty that is fall foliage turned into a day filled with interesting sights and sounds, as well as a lesson in spontaneity.
Recovering from an interesting night of playing "gallon" (ha!), we didn't get on the road quite as early as we might have anticipated. But hey--it was just the first of many ways I learned to accept the "plan to not plan" for a day. Leaving Wake Forest, we headed northish, making our way up to Caswell County and our first stop in Danville, VA. Lendy showed me her childhood stomping grounds, including the schools she attended and a true southern style general store before stoping to have lunch with her mom and younger brother.
From there, we headed northeast toward the mountains of southern Virginia. On the way up, we drove through Martinsville (home of Martinsville Speedway, for all of you NASCAR fans out there). Out of appreciation for my family, I asked Lendy if she minded a quick detour to take a picture of a sign at the speedway. Being the all-accommodating-and-awesome Lendy that she is, she selflessly agreed to take me to the speedway. After grabbing a quick snapshot of the sign at the main entry, she offered to drive down closer to the track in hopes of getting more pictures. As it turned out, some very nice lady was out near the entrance to the track, and when we asked her if we could walk up to take pictures, she offered us the opportunity to drive Mike's (Lendy's husband) truck out onto the track to get a better look at to take better pictures. Umm...excuse me? Yes, I did just say that. We walked out on the track, and drove a complete lap around the speedway!?!? AHHH! I literally thought I was going to hyperventillate. It was A-MAZING! My family is so jealous, lol. What a freak occurance! ...And thisss is why sometimes, I have got to learn to be more spontaneous!
After a quick pit stop (ha!) at the little Dunkin' Donuts express, where Lendy made her own iced coffee (don't tell Ravi!), we continued our journey. As we began our ascent, the trees got prettier and the roads got windier. At the top of the mountain, we came to Chateau Morsiette, a beautiful restaurant and winery. Lendy and I walked around a bit and took part in their (very busy) wine tasting experience. On the way down, we stopped at Maybry's Mill, an old grismill (whatever that is). There, we had the most awesome photo shoot, though I guess that's being a bit boastful because most of the pictures are of me acting a fool...aka having my very own ANTM photo shoot. lol. I tried to be artistic by taking some creative/artsy photos, and of course, I captured a few of the lovely lady, even though she swears she's not worthy of being featured in the shoot. (In the words of my crazy roommate, "WRONG!")
Eventually, we made our way back down to *Pelham, NC, Lendy's hometown, for dinner with her mother and brother. Our experience at Frank's Italian just might have involved way too many french fries and fried pickles, but it was well worth the experience. We ended the night with a dive through a Lendy-titled episode of "Hoarders," looking for the treasure that would become our office Christmas tree. Lendy's mother welcomed us into her lovely home, and I was able to dig through some not-so-embarassing photos and childhood memorabilia. Tehe.
Our daycation came to an end only 13 hours later, as we arrived back in Raleigh just after 11 p.m...which finally gets me to the point I have been trying to make all along. Even when we think that we're too busy, we don't have enough money, or there just isn't the time, we all need to take breaks. Whether it's a full fledged week at the ski resort over thanksgiving, or a day trip to the beach, or even an afternoon playing games and watching movies, vacations are inevitiable--and necessary. I'm not saying we should keep procrastinating or spend hours on Facebook (heck--I, and you, will do that no matter what), but I am saying that we have to treat ourselves every now and again. Thank you, Lendy love, for teaching me Life Lesson #57826. <3 br="">
Guess I really am getting an education after all..
~Oh and...I saw my first shooting star! :-D3>