Welcome to Friday, everyone! I’m in Washington D.C. this weekend for my freelance gig, and the timing worked out perfectly for me to be able to stay a day longer to celebrate my grandmother’s 84th birthday with her. I’m looking forward to enjoying some family time.
As a result of my grandparents living just outside the city in northern Virginia, I grew up going to D.C. pretty regularly. The history and civics nerd in me loved everything about the National Mall, and I still get excited to wander through the Smithsonian and take in all the monuments. I probably won’t have much time for sightseeing while I’m here this time (though I do hope to get a glimpse of the cherry blossoms before I leave), but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for our nation’s capital and look forward to sharing some of my favorite spots with you soon!
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been loving this week!
This article by bestselling author Eric Barker shares six science-backed ways to help ensure that you have a fantastic vacation. It’s full of great advice; the whole time I was reading it I kept saying, “Yes!” out loud. I think the dog was confused.
Barker’s tips for enjoying your vacation are to allow yourself plenty of time to anticipate the trip, take your personality into account when choosing your destination, don’t hyper-focus on getting your money’s worth, schedule activities, be intentional about savoring your time and experiences, ensure that you have a significant emotional high point and a positive ending to your time away, and ease back into your regular life when you return.
I can definitely relate to the first tip; as I’ve said before, I get as much or more enjoyment out of planning and looking forward to a trip as I do actually going on it. I love having something exciting to anticipate, and crossing off days on the calendar until my next vacation certainly qualifies.
I also really appreciated Barker’s perspective on choosing travel that fits your personality. Especially today, when we are bombarded with images of the amazing places people are visiting on social media, it can be easy to think that your vacation has to go a certain way to be enjoyable, fulfilling, or cool. (Do people still say “cool”?) Don’t be afraid to pursue what will make you happy. If you’re not a roughing it kind of guy, don’t put yourself in a position where you’re sharing a beach cabana with twenty cockroaches and zero hot water. If you prefer the great outdoors to busy cities, choose a girls’ trip to hike in Alaska rather than shopping in Paris.
My final favorite part of the article was Barker’s advice to “savor.” Even though traveling is probably when I am most likely to be living in the moment, I also know that I can be guilty of focusing on capturing the perfect photo, contemplating what’s next on the agenda, or (perhaps most frequently) dreaming about what I want to eat and where and when I’m going to eat it. It’s so important to stop for a moment, take a breath, smile at the person with whom you’re traveling, and just enjoy where you are and what you’re experiencing. Don’t forget to savor these moments that you worked so hard to plan and afford.
Check out Barker’s full article for more great insight!
2.) Planning a friend’s honeymoon!
Soon after I announced the launch of Full Life, Full Passport, a friend of mine reached out and asked if I would be interested in planning her September honeymoon. I was very touched that she would trust this important trip to me, and of course I said yes!
A couple of weeks later we met over some banging falafel in Center City Philadelphia and I peppered her with questions. Did they have anywhere in mind? What sort of budget did they have? How would she describe her and her fiancé’s travel styles? What would make this honeymoon truly special for them?
Since then, I’ve been hard at work doing research and plotting out a two week honeymoon in Maui. As I have never personally been to Hawaii, it has been fun to read more about it, consult with friends who have visited or lived there, and put together a two week trip that I hope the newlyweds will love.
I also will admit that Maui was the major Hawaiian island I knew the least about; I was familiar with the reputation of Kauai as an unparalleled natural wonderland, had planned to one day visit the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor on Oahu, and want to witness the magnificence of Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Maui somehow got lost in the shuffle… until now.
I hope my newlyweds don’t mind that I intend to stow away in their luggage and set off on my own Hawaiian adventure once we arrive. Maui seems like an absolute paradise, with so much to do. Our friend Charlotte described it as a microcosm of all the best things about Hawaii (an impressive volcano, amazing beaches, beautiful scenery, great food) but with a small-town, homey feel. Based on my reading, she seems to be right. Maui just may have bumped its way up my Hawaiian Island Priority List.
More on this itinerary as it develops!
3.) Running with the C25K App
Confession time: I am not a good runner. I have never been interested in running for the sake of running; I don’t mind it when I am dribbling a basketball or play-chasing our sheltie, but I really struggle with getting jazzed about going for a run. I would rather dance, swing a kettlebell, take an exercise class, or eat ice cream on the couch.
Don’t get me wrong, I am jealous of people who have found that joy. My dear friend Charlotte (the same one with the Maui advice) blogs about running and has discovered an incredible community of fellow runners in her adopted hometown of San Diego and through social media. My uncle started running a couple of years ago and got bitten hard by the bug, to the point where he grumbles when his training programs call for a rest day.
Real talk, any time I’ve started a fitness routine I have looked forward to the rest days.
I do wish I loved it, though. I wish that I was the kind of person who could just jet off on a multi-mile run that allowed me to clear my head, care for my body, and come back bursting with endorphins. I wish that a half marathon or even a ten-miler seemed like an attainable goal… and I wish that running thirteen miles sounded even remotely fun.
Despite my general aversion and lack of skill, I have spent the past two years trying to become a better runner. It’s so good for you, and such an inexpensive way to get or stay fit, that it seems silly not to have running as a part of my exercise arsenal. My friend and former colleague, Erin, is partly to blame for this, as it was she who took our workplace’s 2016 February health challenge to a whole other level and signed up for a 5K, persuading me to join her. To be honest, running a 5K was something I had been curious about doing, mostly to prove to myself that I could actually do it. I signed up for the May race feeling far from confident that I would ever be able to run three miles in one go without
But guys – I did it! Somehow, I was able to run the entire 3.2 mile course (including a hill – that was not part of the agreement) without stopping. M was by my side the whole time, which was really helpful, and I was so proud of myself as I crossed the finish line and
nearly vomited he wrapped me in a huge hug.
The C25K (or Couch to 5K) app was indispensable in helping me to prepare for the race, and I have used it on numerous occasions since then to assist me in my pursuit of running bliss. If you’re not familiar, C25K is a free app that provides a training program that will take you from zero running ability to 3.2 miles in eight weeks. You start out slowly, alternating a minute of jogging with a minute and a half of walking for twenty minutes on the first day, and gradually increase your jogging intervals until BAM! On day three of week five you’ve run for twenty full minutes! I remember being shocked the first time that happened, as before starting this training I had never run for longer than the eight and a half minutes it took me to complete the mile in our high school fitness tests.
Lately, I’ve been using the app to get myself back into running shape. Our new apartment complex has a nice fitness center, bikini season is around the corner, and working from home has meant that I’m at risk of being a lot more sedentary – and eating a lot more snacks. Time to get down to business after allowing the busyness of life to keep me away from the gym.
And who knows? Maybe another 5K is in my future.
Thanks again for joining me! Enjoy your weekend, folks!
Which of the “How to Have a Great Vacation” tips most resonated with you?
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Are you a runner? What’s your secret to enjoying your runs?