My love and I recently spent a long weekend in New Orleans. I visited the eclectic city before Hurricane Katrina, but my love had not and wanted to celebrate her birthday exploring a new city. We marveled at the architecture in the French Quarter, tasted local delicacies (seafood gumbo and beignets are criminally delicious) and acknowledged the beauty and past atrocities of the Oak Alley Plantation. One night, I found myself alone in our hotel, with only my thoughts. My love, intrigued by the vibe of Bourbon Street, went out with friends and I stayed behind (my desire for peaceful, and a times solitary environments, is widely understood and supported). As I gazed at the city's skyline, a few thoughts swirled in my head.
1. I did not realize how much I needed a break. And not just from my current gig. Or the exhausting process of finding my next career path. I needed a break from RESPONSIBILITY. 90% of the time, I'm a responsible adult. My energy is consumed by work, completing chores, paying bills, taking care of my dogs, managing my health and everything else that comes with being a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and productive citizen. These are labels I hold dear, but everyone needs a break from the realities of life. New Orleans was a reminder to recharge on a consistent basis.
2. My vacation credo will not change. The week leading up to my vacation was hectic. My goal was to leave my projects in good shape. I never want to be a bottleneck for work that needs to get done in my absence. More importantly, I want to be 100% comfortable with my out of office message: I'm out of the office and will respond to your email when I return. This is my vacation credo. When I'm on the clock, work is my highest priority. When I'm off, enjoying a new experience demands my complete attention, without regret.
3. Travel is only a passion, when its a priority. I pride myself on immersing into new locations and cultures. For example, when I visited Argentina, I made Spanish fluency a long-term goal. However, LIFE interfered with my passion. Granted, in the last year, I've dealt with a family member's passing, my dog's declining health and a job situation that remains tenuous. But, that is all the more reason to enjoy my life and pursue my purpose. I can't control what life has in store for me, but I can minimize regrets, one trip at a time.