The last six weeks have been fairly stressful at work. Lots of traveling, short deadlines, long hours during the week and more than a handful of weekend hours as well. Then there are the standard conflicting directions and a small shouting match tossed in for good measure. I wouldn't trade it for the obvious alternative, let's just say that right up front. All the same, my long awaited vacation is just around the corner, only four weeks away and surely the longest four weeks of this year. It can't get here fast enough.
In 2007 I hated my career and the direction of my life so I packed up and moved halfway across the country to kick-start everything in a complete personal do-over. In 2008 after six months of unemployment I found the position I hold today but with virtually no discretionary cash I settled for a nephew's four-day wedding cruise to the Bahamas for the one and only vacation of that year. This year Qantas has been giving away tickets to the South Pacific and I copped one for myself to spend two weeks in New Zealand and Australia. More than any other vacation in memory this one is purpose-built to help me feel my life is slowly on track back to some sense of normalcy.
The view is Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, New Zealand. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
I used to work for the airlines. That means that any given weekend I could be in any corner of the country and more than a few foreign ones while still being able to make it back to work on time Monday morning. Despite having to stand by for every flight I learned how to make the most of a weekend, a holiday weekend, four days over Thanksgiving and, the specialty of the house, turning three chargeable days of vacation in to nine. I could go anywhere in the world anytime I wanted.
I left all of that behind...voluntarily. "Civilians," as we called anyone outside of the business, were lucky to take short trips within their region of the country and save up big for one huge family vacation not including the home-for-the-holidays routine. I'm a civilian. And I'm still trying to figure out how well I am or am not adjusting to having to wait all year for that one big splash, if it can be afforded at all.
It's not necessarily polite in any economy to boast and broadcast long, elaborate or exotic vacation plans where others may not have the means or the time. That is not my intent. My own plans were severely jeopardized after a $1200 car repair bill came my way. All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind, up to and including cancelling the trip and swallowing the investment in plane fares already made. Kind of like "Apollo 13" when the center engine cut out prematurely during blast off, I hope that I've just suffered my one glitch for this mission.
When you're down to the last 100 miles of a long road trip those tend to be the longest as well. Can't wait for the journey to be over but still somehow almost regretting that it's coming to an end. Like anyone with time away from work in the offing, I certainly feel that I have earned this opportunity. There is much work to be done between now and then but hell, I'm already feeling like a fourth grader the night before Christmas.....can't half sleep!