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.


devon said...

Charity I loved the was fun to hear all your adventures flying solo! I love it, and I am so proud of you for taking the plunge and daring to spend a week by yourself. It is liberating, I know when I did it, it was the best thing I could have done for me! However it does make you miss your friends. Now let's plan a girls vacation!! April Mae pack your bags and Charity get the altima ready and get your booty's to SBizzle already!

Eileen said...

Oh, oh, oh...your description of a lake beach, with no tide rising, the trees, the surroundings...I wonder if the folks would be better off retiring in Tahoe?

Also...Time to get a pick up truck or SUV-the photo of your packing was too funny! There was nothing subtle about "vacation" there...

I love you lots and am so glad your week went so well.

aprilmae said...

I know this is a late comment, but I am so glad God used your vacation time to restore and refresh you! We missed you in the Shell Shack!

Lori said...

Can I just say I love your style? I like the way you ended it too, I completely agree! I traveled in England for a week a few years ago - it was great but I loved getting back and telling people about it! By the way, thanks so much for the encouragement last night, I really needed to hear it!

Much Love,

Kristy said...

charity, i'm just now seeing this blog post, months after your vacation! but it was fun to see the pictures and relive you telling me the stories. i'm glad you enjoyed your break. :)