The 3 R’s

1Last week I went on one of those types of breaks where you need to find your sanity and start over again. Ever been on one? I go on them every now and again… This one was pretty major though, as I’d been putting it off for about oh, say, 8 months. You know what happens when you put off shit? It blows up in your face and you wish you had dealt with it in the moment. ;) The plan? 6 days out of the office. No work. No email. Minimal social media.  The goal? Perhaps inner peace, rainbows, unicorns and anything else that would fit in that realm. It went like this….



  1. Wake up at the crack of dawn.
  2. Check email. Bad.
  3. Check email again. Double bad.
  4. Start thinking about the last time I took a vacation. Like a real, unplugged vacation. Whoa, a long time. Like 3 years ago. Bad.
  5. Realize that I need to re-program myself. Gah.
  6. Do nothing.
  7. Pretend like I’m ok with doing nothing.
  8. Spend a considerable amount of time deciding on an outfit.
  9. Rush over to my photographer’s studio to get headshots done. Laugh, smile, push my bangs out of my face — and repeat.
  10. Meet up with Kate and head to Sunset Beach.
  11. Discover that gold shoes aren’t winter beach attire.
  12. Do nothing.
  13. Do nothing.
  14. Go to sleep way too late. Like, WAY too late.


  1. Sleep in.
  2. Pickup rental car. Drive to America.
  3. Stop in Blaine, WA to check out the cutest cafe: Little Red Caboose.
  4. Drive to Birch Bay, WA to go for a run. This is what happens when your love for running takes over your brain.
  5. Run through Birch Bay State Park. A blissful 8k along the ocean.
  6. Hang out. Do nothing.
  7. Drive to Bellingham, WA.
  8. Find brekkie: Old Town Cafe.
  9. Stop in at Fairhaven Runners. Try on 67 pairs of runners and realize that Saucony Kinvara’s have made me very very picky.
  10. Drive to Marine Park to catch the sunset.
  11. Drive to Burlington, WA to hit up Lululemon outlet. Unnecessary.
  12. Stock up on pantry goodness at Trader Joe’s. Fall in love with every hipster boy in the joint.
  13. Head to Target to get the essentials – shampoo, conditioner, bobby pins, a nightie, the usual.
  14. Mentally prepare for Border Patrol.
  15. Get sent ‘inside’ at Border Patrol. Pay taxes.
  16. Take wrong highway and end up en route to Hope.
  17. Arrive home exhausted out of my mind.
  18. Ignore iPhone.
  19. Fall instantly asleep.


  1. Sleep in.
  2. Roadtrip to Ikea Coquitlam to do a return. Not so fun fact: Ikea Richmond has been on strike for the last eternity and they’ve cut services, including returns. 35 people also doing returns. Grateful that I brought earbuds and Ben Howard is on Rdio.
  3. Decide that I should stop by Metrotown Mall; haven’t been there in forever. Bad idea.
  4. Spend a couple hours at the mall. Hours I will never get back.
  5. Waste precious life moments in traffic.
  6. 4Drop by Home Depot in search of some man help. Spend a considerable amount of time chatting with Jared and Manny about wood screws, studs and the weight of my headboard. Leave with supplies and think, “Dave, needs to help me with this.”
  7. Stop by lululemon SSC to hug a friend. Necessary.
  8. Drop off rental car.
  9. Walk home in the crisp cold — perfection.
  10. Receive new headshots and squeal with excitement {…thank you Chris Thorn!}.
  11. Head straight to bed at a really reasonable, if not, early hour. Sleep is critical for a high functioning brain!


  1. Sleep in. Realize that I slept more soundly than I have in ages.
  2. Deal with my chaotic home.
  3. Think about drywall anchors. Determine that I don’t actually know what to do with them.
  4. Get distracted.
  5. Do nothing.
  6. Do nothing.
  7. Check Twitter and see a tweet from Chris Guillebeau about mistake flights aka danger land aka stop now, cut your credit card up, proceed with caution.
  8. Tell myself that I need to stop booking flights and race entries on a whim.
  9. Go back and forth on what cities I should visit in 2014.
  10. Hesitate.
  11. Decide life is short.
  12. 7Book flight to Australia. Boom.
  13. Message Cecilia to see if she’s running the Goteborg Half Marathon.
  14. Hesitate.
  15. Book flight to Sweden. Double boom.
  16. Weee!
  17. Do nothing.
  18. Nap.
  19. Do laundry.
  20. Wait for flight tickets to arrive.
  21. Refresh.
  22. Refresh.
  23. Refresh.
  24. 12 hours later, flight to Australia is ticketed!!!
  25. Refresh.
  26. Make Kiva donation. Lend Bon in Cambodia money to pay her daughter’s school fees.
  27. Refresh…


  1. Accept the fact that I only slept 90 mins last night and move forward with my day. Oh hey insomnia, you’re BRUTAL.
  2. Refresh.
  3. Refresh.
  4. Get frustrated that second tickets haven’t arrived yet.
  5. Refresh.
  6. Realize that these mistake fares have added stress to my life.
  7. Refresh.
  8. Realize I’m no where near organized for my day when my sister and niece call to announce they’re at my front door. Oops.
  9. Head to Terra Breads for tea lattes and sweet treats.
  10. Take the AquaBus for a little tour around the harbour.6
  11. Adventure in the Kids Market at Granville Island. Play play play.
  12. Pick up local goodness from the Market — fresh pasta from Zara’s {to die for}.
  13. Visit the Aquarium — turtles, dolphins and beluga whales, oh me, oh my.
  14. Family dinner.
  15. Head to bed at ‘mom time’ — 9pm!!!


  1. Wake up — rested. Amazing.
  2. Check email. Flight to Sweden is finally ticketed {36 hours later}!
  3. Decide today is the day I learn about drywall anchors! Google. Realize I’m going to have to use a drill bit. Ugh.
  4. Decide today is not the day I learn about drill bits!
  5. Do nothing.
  6. Deal with a whole pile of life shit I’d been putting off.
  7. Feel better.
  8. Go for a quickie run around the seawall. Every step counts.
  9. Do nothing.
  10. Head to appointment with the Life Doctor. Ehhh.
  11. Meet up with Alex for tea and real talk.
  12. Stretch it out at yin with Elle Basten.
  13. Realize that I haven’t thought about work in days.
  14. Head to bed filled to the brim with gratitude.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

My staycation was no where near perfect, but I can definitely say it was — progress. I went from being absolutely wired, high-strung and frustrated to being carefree, happy and motivated. I had been going back and forth whether I was going to get ‘life stuff’ done while I was away from work… Part of me knew I needed a break from personal work, as well as, professional work. The other part of me knew that my personal work needed to get organized at some point and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it. I decided the latter was going to be able to help me move forward into 2014 with a bit clearer of a mindset.

My first day on vacation was hard, but no surprise, it got easier. I think a lot about how I have programmed myself and organized my life. My usual is go, go go, while being continually consumed in conversation, relationships and technology. The feeling that I had on my first day off scared me. I didn’t know what to do with myself — and felt, absolutely lost. Where was that girl who loves to read and write? The one who picked up calls from friends instead of ignoring them? Gone?

When I actually reached that moment of checking out of work and focusing on me, I realized I was exhausted. I felt grateful for the opportunity to check out of work for a week. I felt thankful for a support system who continually looks out for me {regardless of how delusional I’m being}. I knew I had to commit to — relax, recharge, renew. Those 3 R’s would be the key to coming back to  ‘life’ filled with enough energy for my day to day and excitement for the future.

I forgot about what I wanted to get done over the week and decided that anything {or nothing} was acceptable. I committed to myself that I would take it one day at a time and that I would allow myself to change plans if I wanted to. I gave myself the green light for sleeping too much, getting caught up in a book, getting lost in my thoughts and eating peanut butter cups in my bed {guilty as charged}.

A few things that have been top of mind this week:

  • Examine what you tolerate.
  • Be selective in your battles.
  • Do more of what makes you happy.
  • Rest is just as important as training.
  • Slow down — start living.
  • Embrace simplicity.

A huge thank you to two friends — much gratitude to Jen for always pushing me to take care of me and to Elliot for continually reinforcing the importance of soul recovery.

Thinking about taking a staycation? A few tips before you head into solitude:

  • Start prepping for your vacation days before you walk out of the office. The easiest way to head out on vacation worry-free is to feel comfortable with where you’re at. Catch up on work, ensure critical areas are being covered and make sure to set your out of office.
  • Leave your computer at the office. Do you need it while you’re away? I didn’t think so.
  • Disconnect your work email and calendar from your smart phone. Yep, remove it.
  • Turn off all smart phone notifications. I’m not one to use notifications to start with, but seriously, you don’t need to be notified of every single freakin’ Instagram heart. It’s added noise in an already chaotic world.
  • Run errands. You don’t want to spend your whole vacation running errands and crossing things off your to-do list. Try and do it ahead of time!

While you’re away, make sure to:

  • Walk away from your smart phone. You know what? When you’re ‘doing nothing’, you don’t really need it. No need for Google Maps, Facebook status updates or checking the weather 64 times a day. Turn on airplane mode and travel back in time to 1991 when we weren’t all obsessed with technology.
  • Minimize plans. Don’t book yourself all day, every day with adventures, activities and commitments. You won’t have the opportunity to recharge.
  • Be a tourist in your own city. Get lost in a new neighbourhood, adventure to the beach or mountains or check out a new cafe. Every city has treasures that are waiting to be discovered.
  • Treat yourself. You deserve it.


  1. I once made the mistake of stopping at Metrotown Mall – I had never been since I moved here. Oh man! Never again. ;)

    I enjoyed this play-by-play! Definitely sounds similar to how my stay-cation would ‘progress’. Great tips for enjoying and making the most of it!

  2. Jillian Walker December 7, 2013

    It’s gotta be quiet at some point during the week. ;) I have yet to find that sweet spot…

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