I pride myself on my tales of Outdoor Badassery. Slept in a snow cave during an Alaskan blizzard? Done that. Solo-backpacked the entire rim of Yosemite Valley? Been there. Scaled Joshua Tree rock walls so hot that one could fry an egg on them? Yep.
The thing is, those things were done years - lifetimes - ago. Nowadays, I'm still a lover of all things nature-y, but frankly I'd much rather enjoy the experience while I'm doing it. The thing with the hardcore outdoor sporting stuff is that yes, it's fun in a sick, masochistic way, and only the full-blown lunatics find it relaxing. The novelty of, say, diving into your truck at 2:00 a.m. to avoid the pack of coyotes that is tear-assing through your campsite wears off at a certain point. In fact, I realized that my idea of Getting Away From It All has 360'ed over the past couple of years - I'm now a big fan of fancy hotels. Give me The Se' in downtown San Diego, The Standard in L.A., The Riviera in Palm Springs anytime.
We recently returned from a vacation and a Vacation in Colorado. The vacation: driving (two days) to the town of Dillon, there to spend a few days with my sis and her family. It was good times. We went boating, hiked up some montains, saw some sights, and generally relaxed while all of the kids did kid things, like throw rocks into a stream. I'm pretty sure the sure could have done this for days, and every thrown rock would still contain a lifetime's worth of excitement. So sure, in fact, that I'm meeting with a group of investors and we're going to build an amusement park, and it will be the most cost-effective amusement park ever - a mile long ditch, filled with water, rimmed with piles of rocks, $10, all you can throw. Like I said, good times. Except that it wasn't 100% relaxing, because we stayed in a condo owned by people they knew, and had to clean, and on a couple of occasions actually cooked. So we'll say 95% relaxing. We decided to extend our trip a day, and thus, had a Vacation along with our vacation. Here. Sproing! And thus, another item struck from my 40/40 List: stay at a Ritz-Carlton.
I won't bore you with the details - apart from the two little dead girls that kept popping up in the hallways, and the hours I spent at the laptop typing ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY over and over and over again, it was lovely. (If you want the skinny on the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, go here.) And it reinforced this whole notion of The 40/40 List and its peculiar entries. Would my life be any less complete if I hadn't slept on 1000 Thread Count Sheets and eaten a marvelous ahi tuna steak at the highest Spago in the western hemisphere?
Yes. Yes it would.
Because I needed a Vacation. We all do. At some point, we all should pamper ourselves, reward ourselves for slogging through the mundane day-in day-out. And there had been a lot of that lately. As you may have discerned from my last post, I have not been particularly chipper these days - while that was written after we'd returned, my malaise had been building for a while, due to things that I'm not at liberty to discuss. That in itself - the Cone of Silence I've placed on myself - caused me further consternation. Along with the therapeutic value of having this space to rant and rave about the bad stuff in my life (thanks, Dear Readers, to both of you for listening), it feels like cheating - like I'm ghostwriting my own life here, leaving out the Bad and The Ugly, only giving you the Good. This being selective, cherrypicking the life I present...it's what bloggers do, I suppose, and I've stopped reading more than one blogger who I felt was painting a Cleaver family portrait of his actual life, and...well. It goes back to the struggle that all autobiographical writers face - how much of yourself do you reveal, knowing the damage it might cause, to yourself and to others?
Like I said, I needed a Vacation.
And it did wonders - I'm still working my way through some things, but I'm feeling more like myself these days, slowly, an emergence like disentangling oneself from a deep sleep. I'm not saying that mountain air and a five-star hotel will cure all that ails you - it didn't do much for Doc Holliday - but it sure does help.