The Vacation Blues

I’m two days home from California and yet I feel a lifetime away from a week ago when I left.

I’ve been to Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in less than four months. Granted, people go to these places all the time, and sometimes all of them in the course of a week. But I’m just Lynn from Podunk, PA, and I don’t get out much. These last four months have been overwhelmingly not normal.

Usually when you return from vacation, aren’t you supposed to feel refreshed and ready to work your job again and live the ordinary life you left behind for a few days with more energy and patience? I’m still waiting for that vacation peace to hit me. So far, I’ve just been bored and impatient.

In a perfect world, I’d go to LA every other week. I didn’t expect to love it like I did. Before I left, my perception of LA was that of a smog-infested and congested city with impatient people and a few movie stars. From the second I got into the Alamo shuttle bus at LAX to the moment the plane left the ground bound for Pittsburgh, I learned and learned and learned that LA is nothing like I imagined.

Yes, the 405 is a busy road. People drive fast. They drive worse out east (sorry east coast readers, but it’s the truth). Yes, there is smog, but there are also palm trees and mountains and flowers that I couldn’t stop staring at. I know it’s a really large city with a lot of really big problems, but how can you not get caught up in the beauty of the Hollywood Hills, the San Gabriel’s, and the Pacific Ocean? Do you just get used to it all? Does it all become rote and ordinary? If so, what’s left of beauty to appreciate?

Even Beverly Hills, with its opulence and wealth, was welcoming. Lunch at The Ivy was no different than lunch anywhere else except that someone famous might walk in and cause a slight stir. That and the gimlets were $14 a pop. Patrons ate, drank and talked to their companions, same as anywhere else. The atmosphere was comforting, as were my dining companions – my daughter and my friend Michael.

I expected to be intimidated and lost. I thought I’d get homesick and want to leave the next day. Instead, I hated leaving and wished I had more time. It’s been a long time since a vacation did that to me. 

I’m not sure what to do with this feeling of spaciousness. It’s like I’ve spent the last 7 years in a bubble and I’ve finally been let out into the air. There is so much to see in this world and I feel stuck. Do you ever feel that way, living where you live and doing what you do?

LynnmichaelHere are a few more vacation photos. Michael and Lynnrickme before saying goodbye in Beverly Hills; me with my cousin Rick (whom I haven’t seen in 18 years) at my nephew’s birthday party;  and a photo of my beautiful diva granddaughter wearing the sunglasses and jelly shoes I bought her at Kitson. She promptly took off the jellies after this photo and started eating them. I guess that’s what keeps me grounded.  She’s the cutest damn thing ever and I could never leave her for longer than a few days.

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Sorry to be such a downer tonight. I’ll get over my angst soon, I’m sure. I have to learn to balance the fantastic with the reality. Given I didn’t experience much fantastic the last seven years due to my self-imposed isolation when I was obese, this will take a little time.

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7 thoughts on “The Vacation Blues

  1. I’ve never been to California. It just amazes me how much beauty there is in this old world that people just don’t see. Maybe people are just too hurried or thinking of things that don’t really matter. I’m often amazed at just noticing things I’ve never seen before on roads I travel every single day! My Mom has always said that the Good Lord never meant for this world to be dull and she sure is right! I love to go places and see things I’ve never seen. I think it’s always a good sign when your vacation seemed too short….just means you had one heck of a great time!

  2. How can you not get caught up in the beauty of western PA – the view from Mount Washington, the drive though the tunnels with the city exploding before you, the beauty of the waterways…. Everywhere is beautiful if we take the time to see it. I just think we don’t see it at home because we are seeing it through the lens of the bajillion other things we have going on in our lives at that moment. But on vacation, you get to see the sites through different eyes.
    I’m so happy you had such a good trip.

  3. I think it is this dreary east coast weather that might have you down. I feel the same when I go to a place that is beautiful most of the time. Florida, California or to the islands. You feel like I am in fantasy land and I envy the people that live there because they get to experience it every day. When I was in Tucson this past December, I asked my mother in law…why do we live on the east coast?… why not here? But then I would miss my beach. It is super hot there too in the summer.You would miss your forest and mountains.

  4. Lynn, I worry that I might not ever be able to move on after living on the road. I go to all those places in a week regularly, and I think I might be ruined for “normal life” at this point.
    And I identify with your “let out of a bottle” feeling with the weight. I can walk further than I can see. I know that, but I remember the first time I went to my car to drive to a restuarant down the street from my hotel and thought, WAIT a minute: if I can see it, that means I could walk to it. It really is being let out of prison. Even for the road warrior.

  5. I totally can relate. I lived in LA for 4 years and was going thru some pretty heavy family stuff and didnt 100% enjoy it or live it. But I Tried. In fact thats where I started gaining weight. 100 lbs of it actually. So Go figure. I found When I was in LA as Im a east coaster now. That I missed clouds, I missed the changing of leaves, I missed Wind, I missed yes..snow, I missed Rain, every day seemed to me just like the last –and somehow somtimes it put me in a fog. Weird how we are all different? I LOVE the mountains and the desert. And the ocean. So thats the balance for it in my mind. Its sunny every day but you can have different surroundings. It awakes different senses I find the West Coast. I LOVE Arizona. Those mountains are amazing. LA will always have an aching in my heart like I left some of it there. Which I did actually. And thats ok. We all leave pieces of ourselves to the places we travel too. Traveling is a VEry Refershing thing to do. I love it. I remember when i was in Armenia when I was 22 (now 38) and I met this beautiful guy. And we were in some shell shocked area reminents from an earthquake. But it was also so beautiful and I can still rememeber the day, the wind, the warmth of the night that evening. It was a young couples wedding a group of us went too. And we had no recollection that we were in torn down area -the music the dancing the food. Thats what traveling does for you I think. I encourage you to do it more the Writer in You Will LOVE it. You will fall in love with so many places and find a piece of yourself in them and leave it behind. ITs such a Cool Thing. Thats my take on Travel and what it does for me. By the way..lost 129 pounds liftime for 4 years. 🙂 Happy Travels Lynn!!

  6. I never liked LA. I grew up in Arroyo Grande, a few hours up the coast from Los Angeles. I love where I grew up, and I enjoyed visiting the beach. But now I live up against the Rocky Mountains, and every morning (afternoon and evening) I marvel at the beauty of this place in the mountains. Funny thing is I don’t really miss the beach all that much. To me California will always be the funky small towns of the Central Coast, and the funky small towns in Northern California up in Redwood country.
    Enjoy your travels!!

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