Before I left for an extended weekend in Portland, I could feel myself ramping up. I needed a break from work (and the daily grind) a while ago, which is why I booked this trip. BUT, I’d been working solidly since then. I had actually pushed through the (perceived) need to take a break. Now that vacay was here, I didn’t want to pull away.

I considered rescheduling the trip. I was thinking….. “I don’t need a break; This is bad timing; The weather JUST broke in Phoenix, and it’s nice here now.”

Thankfully I study psychology, and burnout, and wellness, and work-life balance, so I decided to do an experiment. I decided to GO on the trip, even though I truly didn’t want to.

I mean, it’s Portland! I love Portland. And I had plans with friends.

But it was hard. I was in a flow with work, and things were happening in Phoenix. And, I noticed that I felt felt tunnel vision, over-focus, and my body was tense. And I was irritable.

So, I opened my suitcase, thinking I would rather stay home and get ahead with grading papers. (Woah! Something clearly off here.)

As soon as I started to pack, I started to feel travel magic. This is term I use to describe the feeling that almost always comes with traveling (for me). It takes me out of my bubble. I drop expectations, become aware of how little control I have over most things, and feel open to whatever is about to happen. Things feel new and exciting. Getting my brain out of the day-to-day groove…. just opens things up.

As I broke out the different-weather clothes and started thinking about what I would be doing over the weekend….. I continued to feel the shift.

When I got up to catch my flight the next morning, I still felt resistance, but I also felt excitement. And wonder. And even more excitement.

On the plane, I processed, journaled, and reflected on what had been happening in my life over the past few months. This composting of thoughts and feelings brought me into the present.photo 2-5

As we started our decent into Portland, I looked out the window for the first time. I saw a snow covered mountain peak RIGHT outside my window. It was thrilling. Looking past it, I saw evergreens, more mountains and lakes. Woww.

At the airport, I walked off the plane straight into recycling bins, including a compost bin (YEAY). I could feel the easy going-ness of the people. There was live music playing. It was beautiful. The artist looked at me, we made eye contact, and smiled at each other. I walked downstairs and hopped on the Max, which was taking me right into town. So easy….

A high school girl got on the train near Gresham. She was wearing black leggings, a red top, glittery make up, purple nail polish, and listening to her ipod. She was gentle and peaceful, and sat looking out the window. She reminded me of so many people I meet in Portland. I loved her and felt happy she was on the train.

My first day was a decompression day. I was sped up, especially in relation to the people around me. I  like I was on steroids, especially in the midst of the Portland Mellows. It was actually kind of challenging to have a few hours with nothing to do.photo 3-5

It took about 24 hours to calibrate to the world around me. I realized why vacationing at home doesn’t yield the same effects. The eco-change, people change, and weather change… all helped me to get out of my bubble. (The bubble I didn’t even realize I was in, while I was in Phoenix.)

It was an incredible weekend ~  filled with friends, yoga, vegan food at Prasad, runs in Forest Park, jaunts to Hood River, apple-picking in the Gorge, and sitting outside by a fire drinking tea with some of my favorite people.

And now, on the plane, on the way home, I’m thinking….

I’M SO GLAD I WENT.

I feel mellow on the inside. I feel happy, fulfilled, open-minded, creative, inspired, and thankful. I feel in the present. I feel like I’ve weeded my stress. It will grow back, but I’m centered, and I feel like who I really am right now.

Before I left, I was in overdrive. I’m not in overdrive anymore, and it feels awesome. 🙂

 

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