I am a self-confessed workaholic. I often do not know what to do with myself when I have that sporadic day off. I have four days off from work this week.
Sawyer and I took the time off and have ventured down to Philadelphia PA in order to start pulling together a few threads for the beginning of our newest planned adventure: moving away from small-town Vermont in favor of the city. While Sawyer has spent time in Philadelphia before, I’ve never been outside the well-known, well-traveled airport. So I packed my little carpet bag with two pairs of jeans, three shirts, the necessary unmentionables and pulled on my plain slip-on shoes that are most comfortable for long days of trekking around town.
I definitely stressed Sawyer out with my excessive worry about leaving the kittens at home with a friend to look after them and uncontrolled fretting over not having planned out a scheduled itinerary of things to do, places to see, and people (property managers, landlords, and business managers alike) to speak to about information on how we could transition smoothly into city life. I spent an anxious evening in a local Starbucks (the only place with free and readily available WiFi) after my arrival to Pennsylvania feverishly searching Google results for apartment rentals in the Philly area. Sawyer’s words of wisdom: “Lets just go to the city tomorrow morning and walk around to see what feels good.” Man, was he right.
7AM arrives and we’re up and ready to beat the morning commute into the city. Of course I had found a nice place online that I thought was worth checking out. After walking Sawyer’s old undergraduate campus and fondly rehashing college memories, we headed just out of the little college town to the bordering neighborhood where the apartment complex I had found was located. A wonderful property manager named Tara was more than willing to take us out-of-staters under her wing. After giving us the rundown of the amenities, room availability, cost listings, and other general information, she then gave us a couple locals-only secrets on where to find the best Philly cheesesteaks in town.
With the gentle reassurances from Sawyer, the wonderful visit I had to the apartment complex with Tara, and a wonderful local bookshop discovery a couple of blocks down the street, I have been able to relax into what might resemble a vacation-mode. After our day in the city, we retreated back to our cozy WiFi-enabled Starbucks to fill out a rental application and I was able to write this down while Sawyer sat quietly across the table reading a book.
I have found that simplicity while vacationing, especially on a mission-oriented vacation, can and should be the center of attention. Vacations, even this one that Sawyer and I are on, are meant to be rejuvenating breaks from our everyday life. There is no reason to be – at this moment – stressed over where I will be living in several months time. Right now, I am enjoying adventuring a beautiful new city, minimizing my stress by focusing my energy on finding tiny havens where I might or might not find myself once I’ve settled into my life here. What I’ve found to be most important, however, is to focus on the moment here and now rather than looking into the future. With this in mind, I have noticed much more than I would have done when I was burdened with the unnecessary stress of an uncertain future. With this shift in attitude, I am excited about the future – rather than anxious – and am continually finding beautiful things around every corner.
Tomorrow, we plan on heading into the Old City area to stroll the streets and appreciate the deep roots of our country that stem from the area. This has been an incredible learning experience for me, and I feel more rounded as a person because of it. The simplicity of a vacation doesn’t depend on the minimization of your bags but the mindset to create for yourself a purposeful retreat from your daily life. With that in mind, I have been able to simplify my vacation in Pennsylvania from stress-ridden to stress-free relaxing fun.