Well, That’s Garbage

Paddle Your Own Paddleboard: My Attempt at the Solo Vacation

Alright. So even though I’m a fairly self-assured individual who hates kowtowing to societal pressures, an activity like clothes shopping alone makes me feel as vulnerable as Snow White in that creepy and inappropriately grabby forest.

As a remedy, I’ve tried going to a movie by myself and various solo recreational activities. Those were successful, fun and (buzzword alert) empowering.

But I have never attempted the mother of all ‘doing things by yourself’ activities … the Solo Vacation.

Sure, I’ve travelled on my own, but always for something: a workshop, a friend, a long distance romantic rendezvous (long story, an entire other article).

Yet even in my emancipated mind, vacations were only for friends, family units and couples.

What’s the deal, me? Am I going to have to wait until I go through some sort of life trauma to eat, pray and love my way through an adventure?

Why wouldn’t I let myself enjoy myself … by myself?

I decided to start small. Not a sojourn to an ashram in India, but a friend’s parents’ cottage, graciously loaned to me for three days.

I drove, unpacked, took a breath of country air and had the first panicked thought of

“What the hell am I going to do for three days?!”

Followed by

“Well … what do I want to do right now?”

Turns out, I wanted to do the following:

Day one

Sat by the water in a deck chair and a sweater with the September issue of Vogue, a glass of wine and a bag of organic cheese twists.

Intro to solo vacation: magazine, wine, cheese twists.

Highly enjoyable. Breeze and cloud formations were top rate.

Watched a really stupid movie while preparing my The Keg Steakhouse-style meal.

Barbequed for the first time. Impressively didn’t cause an explosion.

Barbeque and no explosion!

More wine.

Did some writing.

Went to bed. Left several lights on … because I’m here alone and … monsters.

Day two

Not yet loopy from cabin fever. Excellent.

Coffee and brunch food.

Went stand-up paddleboarding.

Realizations: I look amazing in a life jacket. I have the balance of a U.S. gymnast.

Visions of stand-up paddleboarding.

Saw two adorable river otters frolicking. Got 15 feet from them and foolishly said “hi.”

They swam for their lives.

Oh right. Not friendly dogs. Wild animals.

Charcuterie board success.

Charcuterie for one.

Made enough tortellini for six people.

Sat on the dock until the sun went down.

Suppressed own judgments of “not being productive enough.”

Day three

Did my stretch and strength training on the dock in the sun.

Coffee X 3.

Watched hummingbirds eat.

Read my book outside.

Getting the book out for some fresh air.

Paddleboarding in 20 km/h winds, causing an unexpected mid-morning nap.

Leftover tortellini.

Packed, cleaned, cried at the thought of having to leave.

Leaving is the hardest part.

I left feeling I could have easily stayed another three days without fear of my own thoughts torturing me.

I’m calling this experience an act of essential self-care. I’m calling it successful self-love.

My god, people, do this, regardless of relationship status.

When is the last time, even when on vacation, that you truly asked yourself “What do I want to do?”

Published in Volume 71, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 12, 2016)

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