If the last year has taught me anything, it’s been the importance of “just doing it”. In efforts of avoiding any Nike copyright infringements, let me explain.
I’ve stopped waiting. I’ve stopped waiting for someone to notice me, celebrate me, save me. I’ve stopped seeking permission to be happy, worthy, enough.
As a serial monogamist, vacations were always one of my favorite milestones in a new relationship. Exploring a new city within the comfort of another’s arms. Watching with eyes that shine as bright as childrens’ do. Building a shared experience, laughing at the inevitable failures along the way.
Somewhere in that time, my wires got crossed. I understood a new restaurant, a cozy hotel, or any associated extravagance as reserved solely for romance. When I found myself single (and committed to learning the lessons that singledom had to offer), I realized how much I missed that adventure.
And so, I stopped waiting for permission to celebrate. I’ve since made a tradition of solo staycations, and I plan to stay committed for years to come.
Continue reading for the Top 10 Staycation Tips for an equal-parts-restorative, equal-parts-empowering solo adventure!
1. Drive an hour away. It’s far enough away for a change of scenery, but close enough for a three-day weekend.
2. Determine your “dealbreaker” feature(s). Knowing what helps you relax is key. Jetted tubs? Cozy robes? Fireplaces? Lake views? Once you determine your location, call around and see what’s available. These calls are quick and shameless, and prevent unnecessary disappointment upon arrival.
3. Pack luxurious (non-)essentials. Once you set your date, take a moment to write down a few things that would make you feel most comfortable/prepared/celebrated. Some of my favorites: a new book, a Bluetooth speaker, Lush bath bombs, champagne, etc. Having this list handy before packing helps reduce any last-minute stress. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use a glass cup as a speaker. It’s anti-climactic and quite disrespectful to my bangin’ playlists.
4. Feed your soul. Take this time to do the things you love in a town that’s unfamiliar. Practice your photography, browse local antiques, enjoy a hike, or attend a painting class. Bring your headphones and let your imagination take hold of the day.
5. Try a new cocktail, restaurant, and coffee shop. Yes, all three! This helps keep you from a natural temptation to seek your familiar comforts. In doing so, I found two new favorites: an elderflower, gin, and ginger ale drink, and a coffee shop with an incredible mission.
6. Abandon your presenting self. Another benefit of getting away: it’s easier to stop caring about what people think when they don’t know your name. The embarrassing moments make for good stories later anyway.
A few favorites from my recent staycation: meeting a fellow Lenny Kravitz-stan, making friends with the owner of an Opal shop, and gaining the sincerest concern of a hotel receptionist.
I’ll share the first story, since I live to laugh at myself. I was eating dinner alone at a bar (three drinks in) actively crying while reading the Alchemist. To my own credit, I’d never read it before and wasn’t expecting my reaction. I’m aware I was an absolute caricature in that moment.
The party nearby was looking for any excuse to binge drink, as I could hear them wagering bets throughout the Iowa game. At one point, a man yelled “if you can tell me who sings this song, shots of Patron on me!”
The pretty blonde girls batted their lashes and shrugged. I closed my book. Was it possible that none of them had heard “It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over” before?
I wiped my tears, leaned in, offered “Lenny Kravitz”, and told the girls to Google-Image him. “You’ll like what you see,” I said. I took my free shot and decided it was time to walk back to the hotel before I became a full-blown comic strip.
7. Be flexible, don’t over-plan. I write a mean to-do list. Sometimes, it feels it’s like my full-time job (other times it is). It’s best to plot three or four items and leave the rest open. Those unexpected moments can often bring the most joy (like sitting in front of the fireplace watching Netflix’s Repair Shop!). Such is life.
8. Mix up your routine… within reason. While on vacation, there’s no need to abandon the parts of your routine that support your wellness. Exercise, journal, and listen to your favorite podcasts as time naturally allows. Trust me, the mix of scenery will keep it exciting. I’ll never forget where I was when I learned I actually hate Frank Lloyd Wright (listen here!).
9. Be generous. If not for the fact that the world needs it now more than ever, then do it because living in abundance allows the universe to return the same. Tip more than you normally would. Donate where you can. Leave cash for the housekeeper.
10. Practice gratitude. How precious is your independence? The privilege to escape? The warmth of the world around you? Honor your past for allowing you to arrive here, and send love to your future as it continues to grow brighter.
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho, 1988.