Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solo in Tahoe

So this past week was an incredible adventure for me. I decided to take my first solo vacation ever...and the lucky destination was beautiful Lake Tahoe!

Why vacation alone? Well, making vacation plans with friends this summer just didn't work out (timing was bad), but as the summer progressed it became more and more apparent that not only did I need a vacation (change of pace and change of scenery), but also some much needed time alone. Those who know me well, know that I need my time of solitude, which is a bit of a Myer's Briggs enigma, since I seem to be the epitome of an extrovert at first glance, but I also have the heart of a true introvert when it comes to valuing solitude and reflection.

Anyways...Tahoe was a fabulous place to be as an introvert and extrovert, so it worked out well for me! I packed up the car on Sunday morning, and as usual I totally over-packed. But who cares how much space you take up when it's just you in the car!! Of course some would look at my little Altima and think I was trying to convert it to an SUV! Yes, I couldn't hold back--I had to bring the paddle board and my bike....both turned out to be very handy!

After a long 7 hour drive, I arrived in Tahoe. I stayed at a great Casino Hotel (mainly because it was cheap), but it had all the amenities I'd want...big room, nice pool/spa and close to the lake(and did I mention it was cheap?). I actually spent very little time in the hotel and a lot more time outdoors.

My typical day consisted of sleeping in as much as I wanted, having a leisurely morning of reading, prayer, reflection...and then around 11 or noon everyday, I'd say to myself, "what should I do today?!" It was always fun just coming up with a plan out of the blue. I rode my bike everywhere--more than I drove my car. There were lots of scenic bike paths that I could take along the lake to the various beaches and I loved not having to worry about parking.

In the evenings, I would typically go out for a late dinner to wherever sounded good. I had Sushi 2 nights in a row---after all, it is vacation! At first, the thought of eating dinner alone was a bit intimidating and somewhat depressing.....but I always sat at the bar of a restaurant and people around me always initiated conversation, which was pleasantly surprising to me, and totally made my meals fun! A lot of people were a bit enamoured that I was vacationing alone, so that was a good conversation piece....along with exchanging stories of the activities we had done or wanted to do while in Tahoe.

Highlights in PHOTO...

Parasailing--Gives a surprisingly calming, yet breathtaking view of the world below. Soaring over 600 feet above the lake, I found myself somewhat speechless and all I could do was praise God for the majestic world around me.

Sailing--A two hour sailboat ride around the lake, left me thinking that sailing may need to be in the cards for my retirement plans!

Paddle Boarding---My first time taking the board on the lake, it was such a different feeling and experience than paddling on the ocean. Tahoe has extremely clear water, so I could see down to the bottom, even in deep water, to huge underwater rocks and boulders. Above water, I was surrounded by pine covered mountains and scattered clouds...sigh. I could do that everyday and never get tired of it! (sorry no pix...didn't take my camera out on the water)

Biking----can I just say that I love the concept of biking to and fro? It's so much easier and more simple than driving; and just getting to the destination becomes part of the adventure/enjoyment. I also purchased a basket for my bike on the way up to Tahoe. Best purchase I made all week (besides parasailing)--it totally revolutionized my bike travel experience! I could now go anywhere with just about anything!

Hiking--Although I love hiking, it seemed a little too risky to hike alone, so I only did one short hike along the lake to beautiful Cascading Falls. There wasn't a whole lot of water, but as it poured over slide rock and stone, it was the most beautiful bubbling brook sound! Well worth the hike.

Beaches, beaches, beaches---Although I live on a coastal beach, there's something about a lake beach that is just so great. The weather was hot, the water was perfect and the tide never came up to steal my dry sand. I sat for hours just reading, re-applying sunscreen and soaking up the the outdoors!

Lessons learned this week:
1. Getting time away and going alone for the purpose of reflection, solitude and prayer is GREAT and so important for my soul. My biggest desire for my vaca was to have a time of rejuvenation and hopefully gain some perspective in my times with Jesus...and that's exactly what happened.

2. Vacationing alone is somewhat over-rated. Even for someone like me--who is pretty independent. Whenever I experienced something beautiful, adventurous or amusing, I found myself wanting to share it with someone. Thankfully, I met a lot of friendly and fun people along the way, which I believe was God's way of providing company when I needed it.

3. I LOVE my friends and family and I'm so grateful for them!!!! Being alone for even a few days highlights this fact and I found myself being more thankful than ever when I thought about returning home to friends.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tag - I'm it!

The ABC's of April

A. Attached or single? Single, and ready to mingle!

B. Best friend? I am so blessed to have so many amazing friends in my life! I can't even name them all.

C. Cake or Pie? I would pass over both for Girhadelli brownies or strawberry shortcake.

D. Day of choice? Saturdays in Shell Beach - sleep in, bike ride to Farmers and the Bean, hit the beach with the roommates, dinner on our deck, and Sundays to look forward to.

E. Essential items? A good book, sunscreen, mascara, my laptop.

F. Favorite color(s)? Any shade of pink! But I love wearing turquoise, red, orange, and blues (but not all together, although I do love blue and orange combos).

G. Gummy bears or worms? Both - I love gummy candy.

H. Hometown? Arroyo Grande, aka The Big Ditch or AG!

I. Favorite indulgence? Chocolate covered strawberries - I can't stop eating them once I start.

J. January or July? I love both, but now that I have summers off, July wins out.

K. Kids? none, aside from the 20 kindergarteners I am about to spend every weekday with.

L. Life isn't complete without? Jesus

M. Marriage date? n/a -see question A

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 2 younger brothers

O. Oranges or apples? Oranges, especially the ones off our tree this summer

P. Phobias? Great white sharks, although they don't stop me from going in the water. I am more concerned about my dad meeting one than me.

Q. Quotes- wait a few weeks and I will have some from my students

R. Reasons to smile?I am so incredibly blessed with friends, family, and a place I love, and I have a teaching job starting tomorrow.

S. Season of choice? The Indian Summers of Shell Beach

T. Tag 5 people: Charity, Devon, Holly, Kristin, Debra

U. Unknown fact about me? I was a State Champion in archery when I was 13.

V. Vacation of choice? For total kick-back and relax, the lake with friends, family and lots of good food, good books, and good waterskiing. For an adventure, anywhere in Central or South America for several weeks where I can experience the culture and language.

W. Worst habit? It is not a habit since I don't do it, and it is probably not the worst thing I ever do, but I really need to floss more often.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? I have never had either, and I am not sure how I feel about either one. X-rays make me think of broken bones, which probably hurt, and ultrasounds of babies, which are not in my future any time soon!

Y. Your favorite food? My dad's Santa Maria style BBQ'd tri-tip, with all the fixin's!

Z. Zodiac sign? Taurus.