Until fairly recently, I didn’t used to really know how to take vacations.
I’d go on trips where I wanted to pack so much into each day, each hour, that I was exhausted when I got home. I’d need a vacation just to recover from my vacation!
Really, what I was doing was traveling, visiting — not vacating.
Now I know better. Now, vacation is a stretch of time (at least a week) spent somewhere other than home, where I banish my alarm, banish scheduling, and just let myself be.
If I wake up and feel like going back to sleep, that’s what I do.
If I wake up and feel like getting up and going off to do something, that’s what I do.
If what I feel like doing is wandering around a garden, awesome. Or sitting in a cafe sipping decadent drinking chocolate, or wandering a bookstore searching for out of print books for my collection, or any of a host of things.
Sure, I look into my options in the city where I’m vacating, but that’s more so I know what my options are than out of an attempt to make a plan.
You’ll note I’m using “vacate” instead of “vacation” as the verb here, and that’s on purpose. To vacate is to leave, to give up, to make empty, and that’s what I’m doing here – leaving my routine, giving up my desire to have everything planned out, making my schedule empty so I can just be.
Everything slows down. Days seem a lot longer than they do at home. It’s wonderful.
My current vacating city of choice is Portland, OR. It’s full of all sorts of interesting things to do and see, but it’s also a surprisingly quiet, green, slow place. There are awesome brewpubs, gorgeous parks, unusual shops, you name it.
Plus, of course, there’s Powell’s.
I’m in Portland now, vacating with my sweetie, and it’s glorious as ever. I’ve already been to Powell’s once, but will likely find myself there again. My haul today:
- Ultimate Aikido, Secrets of Self-Defense and Inner Power by Yoshimitsu Yamada
- Training with the Master: Lessons with Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido by JOhn Stevens and Walther v. Krenner
- Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti
- A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba by Kisshomaru Ueshiba
- Aikido Self-Defense: Holds and Locks for Modern Use by Bruce Tegner (this book is part of why I love Powell’s. It’s a small-press publication from 1961 and looks from the pictures like it bears little resemblance to the Aikido I study. A great addition to my collection!)
- Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks
- State of the Art by Pauline Kael
- Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland
- The War of Art: Break through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD
- The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Practice by Cheri Huber
- Hogarth Essays, Second Series: Rochester: A Conversation Between Sir George Etherege and Mr. Fitzjames by Bonamy Dobree (Another delightful oddity I never would’ve found anywhere else, this book was published in 1926, and appears to be a fictionalized conversation between two of Rochester‘s contemporaries. Its binding is in terrible condition but the pages are in excellent shape.)
- And, my prize from this run: A first edition of Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. I’ve given in and am collecting the hardcover first editions of the British printings of the Discworld books. This one is in great shape, with a well-preserved dust jacket. So pleased!
Time now to put my feet up and relax for a while before we walk over to dinner (we’re staying at the Mark Spencer, which is in downtown, only a couple blocks from the main Powell’s store!) at some local pub or other.