I couldn’t bear to spend a milestone birthday at home in Northern Virginia, so I found myself in Miami Beach for a few sun-soaked (and sweaty) days. It was good to get away again. Years ago, I was in Miami on a project and had to stay over a weekend. The client pointed us to Miami Beach, and I’ve been back a few times since then.
Here are some thoughts from my last vacation:
Beach + sun = rejuvenation for me
The last few months have been quite stressful both personally and professionally as I wrote in a previous post. I’m coming off this last trip incredibly at peace and relaxed (let’s see how long that’ll last!). Even better yet, I’m full of ideas again for new personal and professional projects. That in itself made the trip worth it.
Even more, the trip gave me a natural stop to put the last few months behind me. It’s not that the world was getting me down. I just needed an escape. My previous vacation to Ocean City, Maryland was about familiarity and family connection. It’s also about a three-hour drive from my house. Miami Beach on the other hand with its sun, hot temperatures, Hispanic culture, excellent food, and an influx of European tourists give me no reminders of what’s going on at home. It was a nice break from reality that Ocean City can’t entirely give me.
Nickle & dime airlines
Ok. I’m a big guy. There’s no denying it anymore. Consequently, I’m not a fan of flying. I paid for an upgrade from economy class on American Airlines. It felt like a guilty splurge at first. I also had the option to pay extra for priority seating. The seat upgrade gave me some much-needed room for my large frame, but I left feeling like I was being nickel and dimed by the airline.
I’ve traveled for work during various chapters of my technical writing career. It had been about a year since I had last flown. While I was happy with the seat upgrade itself. I felt nickel and dimed by the airline.
Reading for pleasure
Summer has always been a big time for me to read for pleasure. I’m not so happy with my neighborhood pool right now to the point of not signing up again next summer so you can say that I’m a bit behind on my reading. While on the plane and sitting on the beach, I got to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, 12 Strong, Homey Don’t Play That!, and Saturday Night Live: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. I especially enjoyed reading SNL stories from back in the days when they were funny.
I put all thoughts of DevOps, AWS, cloud computing, digital transformation and the other technology topics that occupy much of my waking moments aside for a few days. I used to love Saturday Night Live, and In Living Color, so I found the behind the scenes very interesting a welcome distraction from my normal reading.
New ideas coming to me
I don’t want to say that Miami Beach or even the beach is my muse. However, I came home full of ideas which made me feel good. Some of the ideas will show themselves on this blog and Medium (hopefully!). I also have some article pitches I need to formalize so I can start sending them out.
This last trip also gave me the energy to start dabbling in WordPress and Drupal again. The blog you are reading is heading back to self-hosted WordPress in the next few months. My professional home page is likely heading back to Drupal.
Food and culture
It’ll be ten years in October since I’ve drunk alcohol after quitting for health reasons. Therefore, I’m not vacationing with a drink in my hand like the old days. While in Miami Beach, I took advantage of the Cuban restaurants and seafood places. Ocean City dining for me is all about going for legit Maryland crab cakes since I can’t get any in Northern Virginia.
Vacation lessons learned
Looking towards 2019, taking time off during the summer is definitely part of the plan. Taking breaks and tuning out for a while from my day-to-day work and writing lives has been a good thing for me. The beach and water are worth the time out for me as I feel so much better at the end of my vacation except maybe for the thought I wish I could stay for a day or two longer.
Photo by Oliver Ragfelt on Unsplash
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