In just over a week, Lee and I will be at the airport at an ungodly hour in order to board a plane. As soon as we step on that plane and shut off our phones for the flight that will be it -- we don't be connected again until we return home a week later.
I haven't been that unconnected since the last time Lee and I went on a real vacation together, which also happens to be the first vacation we went on together. We spent two weeks bumming around Paris, Rome and Venice. We saw great art and ate great food. We saw some not great art and ate some truly terrible food. I drank a lot of fabulous, cheap wine. Lee paid a lot for bottles of water.
A few days into our trip we stopped at an internet cafe just to send of a couple of emails and let everyone know things were fine. Aside from that, we existed in a bubble. We saw a bit of international news on the television in the morning. Sometimes. It took us two days to find out Heath Ledger had died. We were in a hotel room in Rome. There was a teeny, tiny television way, way up by the high ceiling. The scrolling news was so small you had to squint to read it. "Did that say Heath Ledger's autopsy?"
Our trip at that time was desperately needed. When I look at our pictures from the first days of that trip, all I can see is my exhaustion. I was stressed and overworked. About two weeks after I returned from that vacation, I resigned from my job. There were other factors that contributed to that decision but the vacation played a part in it. If we hadn't gone on that vacation, I'm not sure I could have done it. It allowed me to see how unhealthy my life had become.
Things are different this time. The vacation isn't as much needed as wanted. I'm ready for a break and to (temporarily) completely unplug. I want to squish my feet in some sand and stare at the ocean. I want to have real conversations with Lee where neither of us can be distracted by our phones or the television. We do that here but not as often as we should. I want to not have one of us say, "I just need to send this email..." If I want to write, it will need to be done with pen and paper, not at a keyboard. If I want to take photos it will be with a camera and not my phone.
I let a part of me go in Europe. The me that came home from Europe was reminded that life existed outside of working 14 hours a day. My life is in better balance than it was then. But part of me can't help but wonder what I'll be letting go on that beach.