Being on vacation is what I consider to be an integral part of the employment process. It’s a time to reset and recharge if you will. But being away also helps you see what’s good in your life… sometimes by accident.
I spend an 8 day span on a cruise ship sailing to the Bahamas this month, and I must admit it was much needed. The warmth of the tropics and the sheer lack of responsibility was a great change of pace, and an appropriate break from the everyday drag that life can sometimes provide.
Since I was headed into a place where cell service is almost impossible, I had made an agreement with my fiancé Erika that I would only be in contact with her in the case of an emergency due to the extraordinary expense of the charges that an international rate or a ship-to-shore line would ensure ($2.49/min.for calls and .50 for every text). Thus we would only talk once when I was in Florida at the half-way point, and not again until I was back in New York at the journeys end. This turned out to be more difficult than I had initially imagined.
Days 1 & 2 were a blur of drinking, spring sunshine, humongous buffets and getting to know our ship. Days 4 & 5 were all about Florida planning, landing and enjoying. The trip was going along as planned, then came an unexpected moment in the trip.
As the Jumkanoo Beach sun warmed us on our 2nd stop (in Nassau on day 7) I laid there and heard the soft padding of some people shuffling through the sand behind our towel positions. The gaggle of twenty something men and women set up camp within twenty feet of us and were talking and drinking rather loudly.
One of the girls was being playfully tormented by her boyfriend and began to laugh at his relentless musings about her lack of a tan. When she finally was able to obtain an appropriate revenge (most of this happening while I had my eyes closed) she laughed… and I hear the sound of home. Her laughter was shockingly similar to that of my fiancé, eerily so in fact.
From that moment forward it was impossible to ignore the sound of her happiness, and even more impossible to keep my girl out of my thoughts.
I began to wonder what my future wife was up to. Yeah, I had called her two days prior but it was short, and kinda terse, and to boot she was at the mall at the time, so she had a tough time talking, thus it turned out to be a short and sort of “pointless” conversation. I began wondering a few things as I baked in the Bahama sunshine: How as her day? Was she sad in the cold Northeast weather? Was her work busy and difficult like it can be on Mondays? Was she safe? ... and then came the biggest realization of all: I missed her, a lot.
Vacationing separately is by no means awful, but when your life has recently changed in the big way mine has, it’s hard to go back to where you have already been … when your vacation ends it’s bittersweet; hearing that laughter in person was, for me, the sweet part.