I think, quite possibly — maybe even very likely — I will have the opportunity to go to Florida for one whole week in October. WHEEEEEE!
This is a big deal because it will be my first real vacation since I started my business in September 2012. It will also be the first time I’ve visited a beach since — gasp! — 2009. Oh sweet Lord, has it really been that long? How did I let this happen?
See, if I lived in a different era (and a different state), I would have totally been a beach bunny. I love, love LOVE the ocean. The sand, the sounds, the smell, the salt water … it is truly my own little slice of heaven.
It doesn’t even matter which ocean, or which beach. I’ve been to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama; Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City in Florida; Baker and Stinson beaches in Northern California; and several breathtaking stretches of sand and surf on the island of Maui.
I adored each one, but I’m not gonna lie — Maui far outpaced all the others. I will go back there someday, mark my words. My upcoming trip will be to Bonita Beach, near Fort Myers, Fla., and I can’t wait to perch my ass in the sand there for the first time.
I’m not one of those people who loves to DO stuff on vacation. You know … take guided bus tours, visit all kinds of historic sites and museums and absorb the culture. To me, if your “vacation” wears you out so much that you need a full week of recuperation when you get back in town, that ain’t no vacation.
I like to relax to the point of near-coma when I take time off from work. In other words, I don’t want to think, I just want to be. What better place to “be” than a beauteous beach?
Hell, “bonita” even means beautiful in Spanish (I only know this thanks to Madonna), so I think I’m justified in expecting another first-class, restful experience.
What’s especially cool about this October getaway is that it will be my first girls' vacation. See, nearly every other trip I have taken since the mid-’90s has included — and has been planned around — my son. Yep, when you have a family, you take family vacations. And you take them only during school breaks.
Now that my son is an adult (the calendar says so, I swear), I am no longer beholden to his schedule. Plus, what 19-year-old boy wants to go on vacation with his mom when his other option is road tripping to Colorado with friends? Just sayin’.
So I am freeeee to do what I want, which is to go to the beach with my kickass girlfriend, Heidi, in the off season. I am SUPER excited about going with my lovely fellow voyager because I think we’re going to travel really well together. She doesn’t drink either, so we’re on the same page with partying (or the lack thereof).
I’m sure we’ll explore the little town around our condo, go out to eat and socialize a bit. But, for the most part, I envision us peacefully co-existing in paradise. In other words, we’ll both spend the majority of our time on the beach with our respective books, enjoying quiet contemplation. (If you don’t think that sounds divine, we can’t be friends anymore. Just kidding, sort of.)
You know that saying, “Ask for forgiveness, not permission?” Or that other one, “Just do it?” I think I may have to adopt a version of each sentiment as my motto in order to successfully take my first vacation as an entrepreneur.
For starters, I don’t have a clear plan on how I am going to pull off being gone (AND fully unplugged from work) for seven days. There is nobody to cover for me, so I have to plan ahead on everything I possibly can. Giving notice to my clients now (12 weeks’ worth) is more than fair, so we should be able to come up with a mutually beneficial solution to make sure nothing falls through the cracks while I’m away. For anything new that arises when I’m basking in the sun… well, it’ll wait or I’ll just have to let that ship sail without me, so to speak.
I’m also not exactly sure how taking a vacation will impact my finances. I am doing pretty OK, but I am not rolling in the dough. Plus, you don’t get vacation pay when you work for yourself, so I’m sure to take a little bit of a hit. I am fortunate to have several retainer clients, but one full week without billable project hours could potentially be a precarious experience for me.
Fortunately, this looks to be a very economical trip. We have a free place to stay, so it’s just airfare, a rental car and food expenses for us to split. And I'm a cheap date.
This opportunity pretty much fell in my lap, and I would be an idiot not to take it, even if I’m not sure yet how I’m going to make it happen. So by God, I'm going. Damn the torpedos. Or something.
And SHIT, I need a week away. Sure, I’ve managed to keep a pretty normal schedule with weekends off, plus a few free weekdays here and there. But I’ve noticed that I seem to have lost a little bit of my motivation in recent months. I’m nowhere close to burned out, but a seven-day holiday may be just what the doctor ordered to prevent me from going full-on toast.
So Bonita Beach, brace your self. Imma comin’ for ya. With any luck, this will be the first of many visits. If all goes well, I may even see you again in the spring.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.