You Know You Need a Vacation When . . .

Photo by Montana Vince
Photo by Montana Vince

Recently I shared that, due to a pre-cancerous condition coupled with strong family history of breast cancer, I will soon be undergoing a preventive mastectomy. The adventure started with a call from my doctor on April 30th.

From that point on, as you can imagine, I thought of little else. By the end of May, not only was my mind consumed with thoughts about my condition and the upcoming surgery, but I began to see signs and symbols everywhere.  For example:

Mammogram or Blue Sky? Photo by Suzanne Vince
Mammogram or Blue Sky? Photo by Suzanne Vince

This picture was taken in early May at a writing retreat I attended in Lake Tahoe, California. I glanced upward and saw not a gorgeous blue sky but a mammogram picture.

Image courtesy of Google Images
Image courtesy of Google Images

At the beginning of June, on an early morning run, I began seeing water marks on the pavement from sprinklers that somehow seemed to form the perfect outline of a breast.

That’s when I knew it was time for vacation.

Fortuitously enough, I had one scheduled in a matter of days. Timing, they say, is everything.

On June 14th we arrived on the beautiful island of Kauai and promptly checked into our beachfront cottage at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF).

Image Courtesy of Google Images
Image Courtesy of Google Images

The PMRF is the world’s largest instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range (where they do lots of secret squirrel stuff) AND they happen to have 25 fabulous ocean-front cottages on a pristine, nearly isolated beach. Take a look:

PMRF Cabin (view from living room). Photo by Suzanne Vince
PMRF Cabin (view from living room). Photo by Suzanne Vince
Beach at PMRF (Barking Sands). Photo by Suzanne Vince
Beach at PMRF (Barking Sands). Photo by Suzanne Vince

And did I mention it’s only $85 per night? But, you must be active or retired military (any branch).

Shortly after we arrived, I took a long walk by myself. When I turned around I noticed that, while some of my footprints remained in the sand, most had been washed away by the tide.

Photo by Suzanne Vince
Photo by Suzanne Vince

It was like a parable for life. One day we will cease to exist. All we ever have is this moment. And how we spend this moment—this very moment—will determine whether we will leave a footprint behind or be forgotten forever. And I was reminded that every moment (especially our struggles) are put before us to learn and grow from.

That night we went to the free, walk-in Outdoor Movie Theater to watch the Croods. Very cute movie with a good message: Come out of the dark (fear) and live in the light (be open to new experiences and put fear in its proper perspective). That, and pets make everyone’s lives better.

Walk-in Outdoor Movie Theater at PMRF.
Walk-in Outdoor Movie Theater at PMRF.
The Croods, playing at the PMRF Outdoor Movie Theater. Photo by Will Vince
The Croods, playing at the PMRF Outdoor Movie Theater. Photo by Will Vince

The next morning, after sipping coffee on our private beach and watching sand crabs build their castles under the sand:

Underground Sandcrab Castle. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Underground Sandcrab Castle. Photo by Suzanne Vince

I took another walk and found my first Hawaiian seashell:

Hawaiian Seashell. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Hawaiian Seashell. Photo by Suzanne Vince

Spent the afternoon reading the fabulous debut novel from Laura Spinella.

Beautiful Disaster, by Author Laura Spinella. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Beautiful Disaster, by Author Laura Spinella. Photo by Suzanne Vince

To have your debut novel published by Pocket Books (Penguin) says something about the quality of the book and I was NOT disappointed. Her prose just sings on the page and I literally (channeling my inner Rachel Zoe) had to lock myself in the bathroom to read the last 20 pages because I was crying that hard (but in a good way).

And spent the evening dining at the seaside restaurant, Shenanigans, on base.

Sunset at Shenanigans on PMRF (Barking Sands). Photo by Suzanne Vince
Sunset at Shenanigans on PMRF (Barking Sands). Photo by Suzanne Vince

Some of the other highlights of the trip included:

Two hikes. The first was in the beautiful Waimea Canyon:

Waimea Canyon. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Waimea Canyon. Photo by Suzanne Vince

The 2.5 mile hike on the Kukui Trail, while beautiful, was arguably the most challenging physical endeavor I’ve undertaken (including Ironman). While 2.5 miles doesn’t seem that long, the trail is covered in gravel and you descend 2,000 vertical feet in that short distance.

In a word, it was brutal. And beautiful. It was brutiful.

The second hike was on the Kalalau trail on the incredible Napali coast. Another challenging course—mostly because it was raining and our shoes were caked with mud—but the views were spectacular. Here are a few of the many photos we took:

Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince
Kalalau Trail Hike. Photo by Suzanne Vince

Other adventures included:

Stand up Paddle Boarding:

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Watching the sun set:

Photo by Suzanne Vince
Photo by Suzanne Vince

Watching the full moon rise:

I

Photo by Montana Vince
Photo by Montana Vince

What about you? Do you have any vacation plans this summer? Where to? And if you’ve just been, I’d love to see some photos.

I love hearing from you. And to prove it, for every comment you leave, you’ll be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, I will draw a lucky winner who will receive a $10 gift card (your choice, Amazon, Starbucks or iTunes). Winners will be announced in the first post of the following month.

Lucky gift card winner for June: Florida Fiel (Florida – please email me at suzanne@suzannevince.com to claim your lucky prize).

Coming Up:

Friday: Sacrificial Virgin Wanted: Stupid Tourist Will Do

Next Tuesday:Study: 25% of Men Travel with a Teddy Bear

 

21 comments on… “You Know You Need a Vacation When . . .”

  1. Yes! I’m being taken to Devon in the South of England for long coastal walks, people watching in the harbours and plenty of good food (plus the odd glass of wine) before my reconstructive surgery after my mastectomy!!!!

    We need to take a break!

    Big Hugs,
    Christinexxxx

    • Christine – That sounds absolutely fabulous! Please take lots of pictures and share. You deserve it, my friend. *hugs*


  2. Julie


    Wanted toshare this website with you. They are out of Milwaukee but support ll over the country. Hope it might be a resource for you. A friend of mine from school is … Some admin there.., on the board maybe…

    ABCD After Breast Cancer
    http://www.abcdbreastcancersupport.org/
    NPR Photo Blog: Life with Breast Cancer at 28. There are many artists in the ABCD family. One of them shares this visual conversation about cancer at 28 and …

  3. What a beautiful post with gorgeous pictures! I’m going to spend some time at Cape Cod with my family. The coastline is beautiful and, like you, reminds me of how fragile life is.

  4. We were in Kauai in Oct. Absolute BEST island for laid-back relaxing! Didn’t do anything nearly as strenuous at you, Suzanne, but had a fabulous time anyway. Can’t wait to go back.

    No travel plans in my immediate future, but I’m sure there will be at least one cruise before the year is over.

    Aloha!
    ac

    • I love cruising. I’ve been on 4 or 5. A murder mystery on a cruise ships sounds like fun, have you done that yet?

      • Actually, I’ve done two. 😉 My Adventure Cruise Line series High Seas Deception and His Reluctant Bodyguard are more suspense/thrillers than mysteries but there’s definitely murder and mayhem.

  5. Love the photos. Montana has a gift for capturing special moments. I love that photo of the moon.

    I am going to Disney World in September. It seems like a very long ways away yet, but I know it’ll be here soon enough.

    And did I see that you’re planning a redneck blog post? Hmmm. Good choice. I shall have to see what that’s all about.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. Beautiful photos, Suzanne. I am so glad you had such a relaxful, vacation in such a beautiful place.

    We went to Scotland six years ago and haven’t had a vacation since. I suppose you could call a week back in Wisconsin for Ken’s 50th high school reunion as a vacation. He is so excited and that in itself pleases me more than anything. He hasn’t been home in 38 years and it’s way past time that he goes. Tomahawk is in the northern part of the state and his stepsister and her family lives there. It should prove interesting – very casual which makes hubby very happy.

    • 38 years, wow, that’s a long time. That part of Wisconsin should be beautiful (albeit hot and humid). I hope you enjoy!


  7. Linda Harrel


    Thanks for sharing the pics, and stories of your vacation!
    We are hopefully going to have some short times away this summer to have fun camping trip at the beach, and maybe even a quick trip to visit some of our favorite places in Oregon.

    • Sounds relaxing. Camping has a way of making you feel like you’ve been gone longer than you have (in a good way).

  8. Omgoodness, Kauai is one of my favorite places on Earth. I’m glad you had such a wonderful getaway. You seem to find inspiration everywhere, even in the Croods!

    • Hi Suzanne! I find those so-called kids movies are often more for adults with their messages. Except BOLT (my favorite), which is just pure entertainment.

  9. Beautiful. I love (and appreciate) how blogging is now so integrated into your life that you were sharing your week every step of the way. Vacation? For me, even though I live in a place where other folks come to “get away,” my favorite Happy Place is the Enchantment section of the Cascade Range, where I’ll be backpacking among the wildflowers and mountain goats in a few weeks! No phone reception, no internet–nothing but crystal lakes and stars. Welcome home to you, though, Suzanne.

  10. So glad you had a restful time Suzanne. I recently made a trip to Puget Sound (over the mountains from me here in Washington State) to do some diving. Did my first deep dive to 100 ft. and had some other adventures such as seeing a wolf eel with a head the size of a bowling ball. Getting away for an adventure is always a great way to recharge. I personally believe we have to step away to do our best when we return.

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