By Jelane A. Kennedy
Going away for a weekend sometimes can feel like a luxury. Favorably a week is in order, to feel rested or rejuvenated. My ideas about this all changed one weekend when going away seemed impossible. The plan had been to leave Friday night to go on a weekend camping trip. The trip was something Eileen and I both had been excited about for some time. By Friday exhaustion hit after a long week and we began to argue just because we were tired and cranky. Finally we looked at each other:
“I can’t do this, I’ve had enough!” Eileen stated bluntly.
“We don’t have to go. We didn’t make reservations. Lets just make it easier on ourselves and stay.” I responded.
At which we stopped, went for a walk in the neighborhood and picked up a movie. The next morning the sun was out and the skies were clear. It was a beautiful day. It was the kind of day that feels like the perfect Fall Adirondack day, blue skies, warm but crisp air and the musky scent of falling leaves. Refreshed from a good night sleep Eileen asked, “What do you want to do today?”
With a smile of inspiration I said, “I’d like to be in the Adirondacks. What if we stayed overnight? Packed light; have a campfire and maybe tomorrow morning go for a hike? The weather is supposed to be like today for a least the next 24 hours.”
“Camp ONE night?”
After breakfast we did a quick survey. The sleeping bags were already in the camper van. So were the basics like tea & hot chocolate. Toss in instant oatmeal, a can of peaches, walnuts and there was breakfast. Grab trail mix, fruit and cheese for a hiking lunch. Next was to gather a quick campfire dinner or stop for a salad and pack the s’mores. Plus dog food and treats for Lucy our golden retriever.
We gave each other a half an hour to pack hiking clothes and what we would need for an overnight. By lunchtime we had each showered, packed and helped the other with Lucy’s bag and our meals. Before long we were on the road up north.
By mid-afternoon the perfect campsite was paid for and registered. The drive up had been hassle free with little to no traffic. Unlike the typical Friday night drive up the Northway, which can be bumper-to-bumper cars. It took about 20 minutes to set-up camp. Before long we were taking Lucy for a walk and playing fetch in the lake. All of the cares of the week melted away as the sun played off the water with each toss of the ball. After gathering tinder a beautiful campfire was in the making.
The next day brought sunshine and a hike along with another swim for Lucy. By lunch we were joking about Friday night and how chilled out we now felt. On the way home we stopped at our favorite little restaurant for a quiet dinner and a final walk down to the beach. We decided to take the back roads down to Albany to miss the traffic. It was early evening on Sunday as the camper van pulled in. There was enough light to easily unpack. A hum of satisfaction and good spirits hung in the air. The 24-hour vacation had been born.
Now anytime or any season when we feel like we are in a rut or overwhelmed with things at home or work, one or the other of us will say “let’s do a 24-hour break”.
Here are 5 suggestions for a 24-hour vacation:
1.) Lower your expectations.
2.) Pack light, less is more.
3.) Pick someplace nearby, not more than 2 hours away.
4.) Set a small budget.
5.) Be open to the experience, everything can be an adventure.
What we learned is that sometimes we have to adjust our expectations. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It amazing what even a small break can do to refresh, rejuvenate or change perspective. Where could you go?
(c) 2013 Jelane A. Kennedy