Tag Archives: Vacation

Digital Detoxing

It’s been a little more than a week since I’ve been back from vacation. I was fortunate enough to go to Mexico with my childhood besties. I intentionally didn’t set up my cell service because I knew I needed a break.

Thankfully, nothing burned down and no one died while I was gone. I had anxious moments where I thought something terrible happened and no one told me. Clearly, my family knows me better and would have texted one of my friends.  

I feel like everywhere you turn today, there’s research that shows the importance of shutting down. It’s one of those things you don’t realize you need until you do it. Now I want to integrate it into my everyday. Here are the four big takeaways from my digital detox. 

  1. Better connections: My friends and I were together most of the time and no one really used their phones. This meant we talked a lot, about different topics we don’t always get to at brunch when we’re home. It was nice to connect with them on another level. I also know I’m a big talker so I had to read my friends and know when enough word vomit was enough.
  2. Mind, body, soul is real: If one of these areas is out of whack, then they’re all out of whack. When we got there, I had a really bad headache and couldn’t even appreciate that I was on a gorgeous beach in the middle of Mexico. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all important and connected. It was a good reminder to pay attention to each. 
  3. Be a kid again: Thankfully my friends can be silly and fun without any prompting.cliff jumping We laughed more times than I could count! We also went down water slides and jumped off fake cliff (picture to the right proves it). It doesn’t matter how old you are, go outside and play every now and again. It feels SO good! 
  4. Non-attachment: I don’t need to be glued to my phone. The social media world kept spinning without me. Not every last thing I do needs to be on social media. Logically in my brain, I know this. But it was so freeing to not be conditioned by email or texts or other notifications. I’m *trying* to bottle up this digital freedom feeling and remind myself to not be so connected all the time. 

Have you quit the technology for a period of time? Helpful? Horrible? Please share! 

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Cruising is a Girl’s Best Friend

I spent last week cruising the Caribbean with one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I was more excited about: my unlimited drink package or being able to lay in the sunlight for hours at end. I just couldn’t wait to get away and unwind.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

One thing we didn’t plan for on the cruise was spring break. Being a bit removed from the college life, we completely forgot that the March is when most colleges have their spring break. Lucky us! Our ship was filled with college seniors letting loose and partying one more time before graduation. Most would be annoyed by this rowdy bunch but I was intrigued. I never went away on spring break during college. I wondered if I was ever as carefree as the group of girls we made friends with. Maybe..?

One thing about being on a cruise: If you’re remotely friendly or social, you will have an entourage following you by the end of the vacation. We literally had all sorts of people hanging out with us throughout the cruise. What can I say; we’re a good time!

At one point during the trip, I believe our new friends referred to me as Oprah. What an honor! I was talking to them about life after graduation. There’s advice people beat into your head, mostly around finding a job, being financially responsible and not burning bridges. What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part about graduating college and becoming adults is transitioning your friendships. In college, everyone has the same goal: to make it out alive (aka to graduate). After college, those goals and priorities shift and look different for each person. You’re going to have friends who get married right after college, choose to go to graduate school and some who might be a little lost. I said this to my new friends from UGA and the reaction I

Some of our friends from dinner

Some of our friends from dinner

got was priceless. No one had ever said that to them. Admittedly, they are worried about their friendships, people moving away and life changing. As I talked to them with one of my college best friends next to me, I was honest: it’s hard, you’ll argue, breakdown, freak out and cry..a lot. But just remember, not everyone grows up at the same time. No one’s dreams should look the same. Understanding and respecting that is the key to holding on to those friendships post college.

I love vacations because it gives me a chance to reflect about life. If I didn’t meet these girls, I don’t know if I would have thought about how graduating impacted my friendships. I might not have realized how blessed I am to have friends who respect each other’s decisions and understand one another’s journeys. It wasn’t a vacation of a lifetime, but I got to push pause on reality, let my thoughts unravel, dance until the sun rose and unplug from technology.

Tell me about your most recent vacation! Any big revelations or did you make any new friends?

My favorite picture of Haiti

My favorite picture of Haiti

London is Always a Good Idea

Have you ever wanted to just get on a plane and go, not caring where you went? That was my mindset earlier this year when my friend Lauren suggested we go to London to visit our Temple friends who were studying abroad. After some planning (I’m lucky, Lauren did everything), we were off on our London adventure earlier this month.

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

To say we were excited was an understatement. It was the first vacation we both were taking a vacation in a while and it certainly felt good to be able to afford such a trip. God bless Lauren for finding these AMAZING London passes that got us into pretty much everything: Kensington Palace, Winston Churchill War Rooms, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Thames River Tour, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We managed to pack just the right amount to sightseeing into our week. To top it off, we also made our way to Paris midweek!

I’m not sure I can put into words how amazing this journey was. We didn’t rush but we didn’t waste a single minute. Each day was spent exploring, wandering and seeing incredible, historical masterpieces. No picture could capture the expansiveness of Tower Bridge, the view from the London Eye or the perfect architecture of the Eiffel Tower. You have to see it to believe it!

I went into this vacation wanting to decompress, to remember how fortunate I was and to enjoy a week away with one of my best friends. Maybe it was that I needed this trip or that I vowed to have an open, carefree attitude throughout, but whatever it was, my little week-long trip taught me about..

– Silence: People on the Tube (London’s subway) don’t talk to one another, aren’t on their cell phones and in turn, the ride is pretty quiet, much different from a Manhattan subway. I find silence very uncomfortable; it makes me feel like something is wrong, so I am constantly trying to fill the silence. Instead this time, I just let it be on the Tube and while wandering around. This almost calming silence allowed me to fully absorb everything I was experiencing.

– Intention: I’ve written about being more intentional and intentional choices before. But, for some reason that idea hit me again while abroad. It struck me most at Tate Modern where there were floors of Picasso and Dali masterpieces that were 100% intentional. With every stroke, they gave meaning, political or otherwise, to each one of their works. Seeing that made me want to be more intentional with my time, thoughts, everything.

– Friendship: I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know this before but I’ve found such an amazing friend in Lauren.

The only picture of us that wasn't a selfie!

The only picture of us that wasn’t a selfie!

I couldn’t imagine taking this trip with anyone else. There was a level of appreciation we both had for this trip, which made it 100 times better. She also managed not to kill me (big plus!) and we absolutely laughed our way through London.

– Travel: Another thing I knew but hadn’t experience in a while: Travel is essential to growing, evolving your perspective and becoming all you can be. It doesn’t matter where you go, who you go with or what you do, just go. While I feel like London is always a good idea, truthfully ANY travel is always a good idea! I now want to plan several more vacations because I came home feeling so recharged, appreciative and that I had learned something.

London was never on my bucket list but I am so glad Lauren pushed the idea on me. It was an exceptional week filled with history, wandering and overall good times. Now I can’t wait for the next adventure!

What places are on your bucket list? Any recommendations for my next journey? Please please please share!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Foodie Loving on Catalina Island

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

Long time, no write! But I promise I was off doing something phenomenal that I am dying to share with you. Last week, after working an event in California, I spent the weekend relaxing and touring Catalina Island. When we ventured to the island early Saturday morning, we had no idea what was in store for us until we stumbled upon the Catalina Food Tours. I am so grateful we did!

Catalina Food Tours runs all over the island for three hours while participants sample different dishes from six local restaurants. The food was amazing but the atmosphere was even better. For a smaller tourist destination with a limited target audience, Catalina Food Tours knows how to serve its population and build its brand. I believe their keys to success included the following:

  • They instantly built credibility by having a local run the tour. Our knowledgeable and hysterical guide Jordan has lived on the island for some time and has eaten at all of the restaurants on the tour. He was passionate about sharing his wisdom on Catalina and its culture. Because of that, you knew he was giving you the best.
  • Every stop on the tour was intentional and had meaning. While we did stop at each restaurant, we also stopped at different spots on the island that had historical significance. We didn’t just walk around but rather learned about Catalina’s rich history. The conscious decision to plan out each step of the tour made it easy to follow and allowed us to learn so much more than the best places to eat on the island. By learning more, it made me personally want to return to Catalina and explore the island further.
  • For a small island with limited access to technology, the tour’s use of social media was great.
    Beautiful Catalina

    Beautiful Catalina

    They gave participants a brochure with foodie fun facts as well as all their social media information. Jordan also was actively posting while on the tour. They update regularly and happily repost or retweet their followers. The beauty of Catalina coupled with its rich history makes it easy to want to follow and learn more.

While each of these ideas is simple, I found them to be executed flawlessly by Catalina Food Tours. For a small island off the coast of California, they really know how to build their reputation and attract people to their tours. I had an amazing time on the tour and hope to return one day soon!

Beating the Summer Blues

Tomorrow is the first of August and I haven’t been to the beach yet. My normally sparkling tan is practically non-existent. Laying out in the sunshine during the summer is one of my favorite pastimes. Yet, it has rarely happened this summer. Why? Because this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time.

summertimeWhile I’ve had part-time summer jobs since I was thirteen, this is the first summer I’ve worked full-time (also known as my first summer as an adult). I will not complain about trading my bathing suit for a blazer since many are without jobs. However, it can be annoying to see others around my age hitting the beach or going for a mid-day swim while I’m in my cubicle.

As young professionals, working during the summer is something we have to accept and become comfortable with. Or else we will absolutely lose it! After reflecting on summer 2013 so far, here are some tips I came up with for combating the summer blues.

1. Fun is not just for the summer: Sure, there are a lot more enjoyable activities to do outside during the summer. But the opportunity for fun presents itself during all seasons. Try not to focus so much on the time of year but rather what activities are available for you and your friends to try out.

2. Take time off: I repeat: Schedule some time off during the summer! Maybe you can’t afford an actual vacation. That’s not an excuse to work all the time. Plan a stay-cation and go bast in the sunshine. No matter how busy summers are at work, I promise you can work with your supervisor to get some time off. You won’t feel like you’re missing out and you’ll come back to work recharged.

3. Take a walk: Yesterday after I picked up my lunch, I took a quick walk around the block. It was suchbeach a beautiful day that I couldn’t resist. I was away from my desk for 15 minutes and I can guarantee no one missed me. I took advantage of the perfect summer day and felt better when I returned to work.

4. Use time wisely: As tired as you might be on the weekends, don’t waste away on your couch in the air conditioning. Get outside and get moving! Plan day trips with family and friends. Try something new that you never thought of before (hello 5K!). Don’t mope around complaining about “missing summer” when you’re sleeping away the free time you do have.

While summer is nearing its end, I have a bunch of fun things planned in August, including time off! How do you survive summer at work? Is it actually harder than the other seasons? Share your thoughts!

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