While this was a quick trip, mostly aimed at getting to run the Reggae Marathon, it ended up being a vacation that relaxed me almost as much and felt almost as fulfilling as a full week away. In an effort to keep this short and get this post up ASAP, I’m going to categorize the insights I gained this weekend.
From books: I read Charlotte Hilton Andersen’s The Great Fitness Experiment, which I’d highly recommend. I’ve been reading her blog for years, but her book contained some new content and I found it really inspiring – expect a longer post about this sometime in the next few weeks. I also read Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God, which I really didn’t like, despite its high praise recently from Charlotte’s blog. There were a few insights I gained from it, but overall I found it too New Age-y for my taste.
From magazines: Some neat holiday gifts for health/fitness geeks. And some cool exercises to switch up my gym routine! I was proud to get through several magazines that I really enjoyed (Shape, Self, Women’s Health, and Fitness), all of which helped inspire me and made me feel empowered to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
From the hotel: You don’t have to stay at a fancy resort to get a non-sketchy experience. Up till now, I’ve usually picked the brand new, super luxe, sterile resorts that don’t really have much character or local flavor – but I feel safer with a known name. The Negril Tree House was definitely older, and the room furnishings were a bit worn – but I got an incredible experience thanks to the friendliness of the staff and their desire to provide great service, and for about half the price I would have paid to stay at the Riu (even after meals). Instead of pointing to the rules about when breakfast was served, they put out breakfast at 4am the morning of the race as a courtesy to all the runners who were staying. Furthermore, I got to meet and know the owner – how often does that happen at a megaresort? This isn’t to say that I’ll never go to one of those places again, but it definitely gives me a lot more options now that I know I can have a perfectly safe and nice time at an independent property.
From solo traveling in general: Three words: I LOVE IT. No, really! In the past I’ve always been kind of afraid to do things completely on my own – when traveling, I typically avoided takeout instead of going out to a restaurant by myself. However, in the past few months, I’ve had a lot of meals on my own and actually enjoyed the experience. Then, my close coworker inspired me with a solo trip to Istanbul, so I responded by trying a solo cruise. There, I met several interesting people that I ended up hanging out with most of the time, therefore depriving myself of the solo experience – so I thought I’d give it another go. On this trip, I wanted so badly to get the full solo experience that I actually felt hemmed in when other friendly people wanted to engage me! I hope this doesn’t mean I’m becoming a hermit! 🙂 But seriously, I want to start making an effort to go on short solo vacations at least once a month – they make me feel so independent and strong, and definitely rejuvenate me. Next up for consideration: a solo skip trip to the mountains, ideally in some sort of spa setting where I can get in a yoga workout off the slopes. I did a quick round of yoga on the beach when I woke up this morning, and really enjoyed it.
Now, anyone want to come join me on some sort of running/yoga/skiing/otherwise sporty vacation anytime? Promise I won’t hibernate the whole time! 🙂