Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Switcheroo

I’m going to Europe on Friday for a 7-night Mediterranean cruise. More about that later.


If you don’t travel much for either work or pleasure, it probably seems like I’m always on vacation, after all, my blog is more or less destination/activity-focused. However, if you’re a travel writer or travel publicist or even just a frequent-flying executive, then you’re privy to my little secret: just because I’m not at my desk does not mean I’m on vacation. You may see the photos of me posing atop a lighthouse or swimming with dolphins or scuba diving, and YES, all those things rock my world. It's natural that I only photograph the fleeting moments of fun... you don't get to see me sweating to death while holding a light reflector at an interview subject for 90 minutes. And trust me, readers, I’ve done right by you over the years by not taking pictures of the majority of my working hours… which mostly take place hunched over a computer to the increasing detriment of my wrenched spine.  If you could only see the spreadsheets and PowerPoints that consume me so, you might thank your lucky stars that once in a while I get an on-location assignment. Cubicles are not photogenic and don’t warrant blog posts most of the time.
All that said, God knows how much I LOVE working from the shores of a white sand beach! There’s nothing so pleasant as organizing my detailed organizational binder from the front seat of a rented golf cart while hustling to the next interview. And how could I ever say with a straight face that I don’t adore being on an all-seafood diet? Frankly, I wonder if I’d be able to sustain this harried life in NYC if I didn’t sometimes have the chance to work on “real” island time every few months.

Sometimes though, a girl just needs a week to stare at the ocean or the mountains or the rainforest, alone, with no one to keep her company but Jesus and Jane Austen. I’m not exaggerating when I say I have never been on a vacation where I didn’t work at least part of it. You know how I feel about leaving my electronics behind… paralyzed and terrified. For months, I’ve been attempting to plot this long-overdue mental escape for myself and I swore that this would finally be the journey where I really, truly didn’t work on work. I was adamant that the Blackberry would remain at home and that I wouldn’t even check my work email, and instead I would set aside hours upon hours where I would do nothing but ponder life and family and priorities, with the ultimate goal (of course I have a vacation goal) of returning as a normal person who didn’t always have to be working on something.

Part of the reason I wanted to take this escapist retreat is that I haven’t had much time to process the events this year. We lost Gram in February and Aunt Cathy was just diagnosed with lung cancer. Almost all non-work related travel has been for family emergencies, and my schedule has prevented me, for better or for worse, from really mourning or reflecting on all the changes.

Once I firmed up travel dates with the bosses, I decided on my trusted standby destination for my solo vacation, Kauai, because I know it well and my uncle is there to hang out with if I get lonely. I’d planned to book a condo all to myself and just play house, listening to old standards and jazz on Pandora, reading as many books as I felt like reading, cooking up some plans and dreams and tuning out the obnoxious drone of Twitter and Facebook. All during the video shoot the past two weeks, I was daydreaming of my week of solitude and true, blissful peace.

I returned from my video shoot on Sunday night and typed up my packing list for Hawaii – rollerblades, swimsuits, sunscreen, books, iPod charger. Only 5 days to go!

So how is it that I’m now going to Europe? Stay tuned for details on the old switcheroo.

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