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A Week in London

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Hard to believe it’s been a week since I managed to cram a break resembling a late “summer vacation” into the dying days of summer. I was lucky enough to escape to London for a week with my brother and Dad.
The non-stop energy, sheer enormity,Β  and overwhelming variety of London make it an in every sense, a true escape from every day life here in Calgary.

It was a beautifully successful vacation in the sense that it was truly a break from my “normal” everyday life. Of course, strictly adhering to a “pub by noon” rule and being in a time zone 7 hours removed from the demands of every day life demands may have had something to do with that.

Aside from the blur of pubs visited (and revisted), the highlights of the trip include squeezing ourselves into a 1930’s football stadium to see Tottenham play Sunderland, taking in a mind blowing Ancient Egypt exhibit at the British MuseumΒ  (still cannot believe admission was free), and settling into a Londoner routine with a daily 10K through the downtown core to Hyde Park.

If you haven’t been, well simply put, you need to go.
It’s my goal to go back, or, should luck permit, enjoy a longer stint with the family as temp transplants masquerading as Londoners…

Now, emerging from a small dose of well earned post epic vacation depression, I’m setting about getting back into my routine here. Time to burn off some unfortunate English Ale calories.

Overdue Downtime

It’s the end of summer, yet it’s the start of summer vacation for me. This passed summer, although not officially over, was especially busy, so busy in fact that opportunities to take a holiday didn’t really present themselves, and unfortunately the one holiday I had scheduled to head home for a bit more than a week had to be cancelled.

What did I spend the summer doing? Well more on that later.

Right Now the focus is on R&R and leaving “life” behind for a week. I’m headed for a week in London with my Brother and Dad. Last time we did this trip, is was beyond epic and I’m hoping for the same this year.

There’s no game plan per se, other than enjoying time together, walking from pub to pub, and soaking in the diversity and endless opportunity for distraction that London has to offer.

This trip comes at a time where I need some time away to reset, relax and rethink the path forward.

Looking forward to the pause from the normal day-to-day. More to come, during and post pause. Fall is after all the season to fall back into normal routine…. or so 20 years of school taught me. Now back to resisting the urge to check my day job email….

A Perfect Vacation

Often the greatness of a vacation can be underscored further based on how hard it is to come back to “normal life”. For many reasons, not just the post-vacation depression, our recent trip to Maui was perhaps as close to a perfect vacation as I’ve ever been on.

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I had a nagging worry in the back of my mind days before we woke up at 4am and threw Charlie’s delicate but hard fought sleep schedule into complete disarray. How would he be on the plane? Would he hate the heat of Hawaii? Would it rain the whole time?

As it turns out, airplanes (at least for an infant of 4-5 months of age) are essentially just very expensive, super sized vibrating white noise generators. The end result for our and every traveling infant on the plane, they Sleep and Eat the entire time, aided with well timed feedings during liftoff and landing to help with pressure adjustments. I was dumbfounded, we weren’t “those parents” with the kid that found the energy to scream for 7 straight hours. Sure there was some awkward baby juggling in the tight bathroom as a I wrestled the change table down and made sure not to touch anything, but no harm. The flight attendants and really the whole airline experience was pretty incredible, to the point where Westjet may be now be my favorite airline (at least for family travel). Westjet, you are finally forgiven for losing my bags during reading week 12 years ago πŸ™‚

But onto Hawaii, and more specifically Maui. Everyone has a picture of their perfect place in their mind. Mine always has been this stereotypical tropical island. A lush island soaked in sun with a cloud shrouded mountain in the middle.

As we began our descent and cleared the haze of the thermocline the beauty of the Hawaiian islands was clear below. It looked like everything I’d ever dreamed of in the perfect place. Beach ringed, lush green, pure tropical paradise. As we moved through the open air airport, we basked in the warmed, sun and humidity. Again, another needless fear, Charlie seemed to enjoy the warmth with the odd cooling breeze.

Now, planning for a potentially cranky kid and the exhaustion that accompanies that, we made sure we were at a resort that was completely geared toward families. Moreover, we selected a hotel that essentially represented the “Don’t lift a finger, we’ve got this” mantra. The Fairmont Kea Lani was outstanding, not only beautiful but we were immediately swept up into the “You’re on vacation, stop worrying” island life feeling.

Another unexpected bonus, Hawaii is 4 hours ahead in time from Mountain Time; Translation, waking up at 6am feels like sleeping in until 10am. With almost no effort, I slipped into a vacation routine of waking up at 6am, quietly slipping out while everyone else slept, chatting up the pool attendants and reserving pool side loungers, then hitting the beach for an 8km slog leisurely beach run, dodging the crashing waves (I only came back to the hotel dry once).

In addition to sneaking in a daily sunrise run, my wife and I managed to take turns between playing in the ocean like a little kids and baby sitting little kids; I also managed to get some quiet time in every day to meditate, and just have some nice (baby quiet) time with my beautiful wife. While the luxury beach front of Maui may not be as imposing a setting for meditation as say, sitting cliffside within the caldera of Santorini, the rhythm of the ocean works well enough. πŸ™‚

My own biases aside, Maui itself is almost incomprehensibly beautiful with incredible places to eat, adventure and luxury to satisfy every desire and we only just barely scratched the surface. It’s really hard to put in words just how amazing this long overdue vacation for us was. Perhaps the best review I can offer is, We will definitely 100% be back.. and soon!