Goodbye Paradise

It’s easy to beat the sun awake in the tropics. Or anywhere in the winter. Is this balmy breeze stirring palm leaves to dance and sing a sign of winter?

December afternoon sky
December afternoon sky

Today’s the day. It’s time to say goodbye to Paradise and return to the reality of home.

For whatever reason, that reality involves a winter storm advisory. Because after enjoying shorts weather for five days, it’s only fir to return to sub-freezing temperatures, icy roads and the wintry mix the Pacific NW is famous for–when the regular deluge gives way to colder weather.

Every morning we enjoyed a walk, either along the beach or through the quieter, sleepy streets. There won’t be any of this once we get back to the mainland. Who wants to get drenched in the name of walking outside?

shadow

What Makes it Paradise

Perhaps everyone has a different concept of Paradise.

In the Bible, it could be the Garden of Eden or a place in the center of the Earth where souls waited for release.

In my world, it’s a place where the days are sunny but not hot. Where the only thing on my schedule is whatever sounds good. Where I don’t have to wear socks and shoes.

This is how much I get in the ocean
This is how much I get in the ocean

And the pace of the day reflects my mood.

There are palm trees. The sky is a crystalline aquamarine, the color of my Caribbean blue diamond. Maybe it’s a blue topaz sky since it’s December.

Waves lap against the soft shores. The briny smell of the sea underwrites a sweet aroma of baked goods.

in_the_ocean

And there are no calories. At least in my mind.

What Makes it Goodbye

Is there any song so mournful as “Taps” when a bugle plays the cadence?

It suits the mood. It’s the perfect way to say farewell.

There’s an end, so we say goodbye.

Which also means there’s a beginning. It’s an ocean away in a colder place. Pine trees will carpet millions of homes with their needles.

Because it’s nearly Christmas.

The voices of Andy Williams and Bing Crosby have even reminding us of the season when the flush of sweaty beneath sunny rays lent to amnesia.

Seats are reserved on a flight. Cats wait our arrival thousands of miles away.

There will be a hello.

But first we must say “Aloha Hawaiian vacation.”

My birthday dinner: but I'll stick with tails after this
My birthday dinner: but I’ll stick with tails after this

Those Hawaiians knew what they were doing. Aloha means hello and goodbye.

Because in this temperate land of sweet pineapple and aromatic coffee, they’re really the same thing.

Aloha.

To Plan or not to Plan

Vacations serve many purposes, don’t they? Some people use them to escape daily drudgery. Others need a different environment to relax and unwind. Expanding horizons and experiencing different settings might be a third motivation for vacationers.

In my mind, a vacation is for relaxing. I do find it easier to relax when the responsibilities of home aren’t staring me in the face. It’s great to experience new things and see a variety of flora, fauna, landscape and personality, as well.

Apparently, I demand a multi-purpose vacation. The question is: does vacation demand forethought and planning to be successful?

Again, depending on the purpose of the vacation, the answer to this question varies. Some people can’t relax if uncertainty hangs overhead. Those people need a plan.

I’m a person who makes a daily list of priorities. I relish making a slash through each one when I complete it. Here’s my list for my upcoming vacation:

  1. Relax
  2. Sit by the pool
  3. Walk on the beach
  4. Relax
  5. See the sunrise from the mountain
  6. Shop
  7. Read a book on the beach/by the pool
  8. Relax
  9. Eat plenty of fresh fruit
  10. Relax

This is what I consider an unplanned vacation (and my idea of a true vacation). It contrasts wildly with the list for our trip to Disneyland in 2011:

  1. Go to Disneyland
  2. Ride the Star Tours attraction
  3. Go to California Adventure
  4. Be sure to see the evening show at least once
  5. Go to Disneyland
  6. Go to California Adventure
  7. Head to Universal Studios
  8. Check out the stars in downtown Hollywood
  9. Go to Disneyland and California Adventure
  10. Sit by the pool

I consider that trip, and most of the trips I’ve taken with my family, a planned vacation. There were sights we wanted to see, places we needed to go and specific things we desired to do.

Coming up is a week in Maui. I don’t want to make plans. Planning is synonymous with the life I’m trying to take a vacation from. If I plan, I won’t relax and I want to relax – it is number one through ten on my list.

What’s your thought on vacationing? Are vacations more successful when they are extensively planned? What do you consider a “planned vacation” versus an “unplanned vacation”?