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A Vacation to Remember!

August 1, 2016

From time to time, I remember my Dad speaking to me about California. He never got to go there before he passed away, but he had read books about Hearst Castle and the massive redwood trees. I was supposed to go there four years ago right around the time of my brain injury. Needless to say, I never made it there.

I knew even now a road trip wouldn’t be easy to do, but I felt this year I am strong enough to do it. I wanted to do it to celebrate my 40 years of life, but also to celebrate my Dad’s life. I took a rose from his garden and dropped petals along the way at spots he talked about, but never got to go.

We spent some time at La Playa Carmel, in beautiful Carmel-by-the Sea.  This hotel is tucked into a fairy tale residential area of multi-million dollar houses that look like mystical cottages decorated with vibrant-coloured flowers in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow.

Upon our arrival at La Playa Carmel, our bags were quickly whisked to our rooms by the bellman and a bottle of California wine on ice with a welcome card was waiting for us in our beautiful ocean view room.  I could feel my body and mind exhale as I kicked off my shoes, opened the window and let the fresh ocean breeze sweep over my skin. I had arrived in paradise!

We spent time touring the town filled with amazing shops and restaurants.  And then, we went for a stroll barefoot on the white sand along the roaring Pacific Ocean.

The next morning, as I indulged in a fabulous champagne buffet-style breakfast with fresh made waffles and made-to-order omelets, I began to reflect on the importance of busy executives taking time out of their work lives to enjoy places like La Playa Carmel. There is something so powerful about fueling your soul by taking time to relax, have fun and explore.

When I am by the water, my creative juices really seem to flow. Somehow throughout the year, I become more boxed in and conservative in my thinking when I get caught up in the to do’s of day-to-day life. I practice mindfulness to be more present and as a way of managing stress. But, there is something that vacations and retreats at beautiful places gives us that is difficult to replicate at home.

My advice – plan quarterly vacations for yourself. Think of it as an investment in you, giving yourself time to dream and be open to all kinds of possibilities. This time also helps to give your brain time to detox the busyness of life so you can bring a fresher perspective to your role as a leader.

Losing my Dad to cancer last year was a reminder of how precious each moment is. Enjoy your beautiful life. Get out and see the world. And, live your life with no regrets.

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