Due to a variety of circumstances, I recently had about five weeks during which I had absolutely nothing to do. I decided to embrace this free time and I dubbed it my “staycation,” pledging to take advantage of my surroundings and enjoy my time off. Tomorrow I look forward to again becoming a contributing member of society, but there are several things that I will miss from this little experience. For instance, I don’t know when in my life I am going to have such an open, free schedule again. Possibly not until retirement. And with that being said, I will always look back on my Colorado staycation with no regrets because I know that I really tried to utilize my free time. The staycation was not only about hiking and getting out in the mountains though; I actually learned a lot about myself and life in general.
Take advantage of where you live.
Since I live in Colorado now, it was pretty easy for me to get excited about exploring my surroundings. There’s tons of great areas to trail run around Denver and awesome hikes located a reasonable distance away. During the staycation I spent a lot of time in the mountains hiking, rafting, and running. Highlights in Denver included concerts, dinner parties with friends, museums, Rockies games, exploring mountain towns on I-70, and shopping trips. I spent a fun afternoon wandering through the Denver Art Museum one day. I think the important thing to remember is that cool things are in your backyard. Find fun things to do in your city and learn to love where you live! It’s all about your attitude.
Learn to spend time with yourself.
While I was on staycation mode, many of my friends in Denver were busy working and interning during the day. However, I didn’t let this stop me from pursuing a sweet staycation agenda. I feel that many people, myself included, waste a lot of time wishing that they were doing activities instead of actually just getting out and doing them. Over the past year or two I have really adopted the mantra that you shouldn’t limit yourself to only doing things with other people. If you really want to do something, just go out and do it! You don’t have to always wait for other people – it is perfectly acceptable to be alone. This is not to say that I am a loner or anti-social. For example, I love hiking and I will hike with my friends any day of the week. Just ask the members of Troop Beverly Paula. But if none of my friends are free and I want to go on a 14.5 mile hike, I’ll happily do it by myself. I can’t tell you how many times when I was hiking alone that would I get stopped on the trail by people asking incredulously, “Are you hiking alone?” To which I always wondered, why not? I think it’s important to be at peace with yourself and able to be alone in order to be truly happy in life. And let me tell you, my long hikes during the staycation gave me plenty of time to reflect and be at peace with myself!
Say yes to new experiences.
Throughout my staycation, I have truly learned to not care what other people think and to do things for myself. Like I enjoy trail running and I miss running with other people, so I found a running club to join. Was it intimidating the first couple times that I went? Absolutely! But it has also been so rewarding already. Or this past week I went to a concert with some of my friends. We were actually about to leave the venue when we decided that we might as well go back and try to hang out with some of the band members. That turned into ending our night on the O.A.R. tour bus, making friends with a local artist, and subsequently getting invited to a closed concert on Saturday night. All because we turned around and gave the experience a chance. Admittedly I am still perfecting this lesson, but I think in most scenarios it comes down to one simple question: what do you have to lose?
Anyway, when all is said and done, I think I leave my staycation a much better person. A little wiser, stronger, and ready for whatever life throws at me. Also sporting some gnarly tan lines. Thank you altitude. SPF 45 just doesn’t cut it here.