I love when I don’t have to credit images – it removes some of the stress from blogging. This pic is from my latest trip – and I can tell you that there is nothing stressful about being on a cruise. Dr. Oz has explained in many ways the negative impact that stress can have on your body leading to the dreaded inflammation, ultimately causing many things even worse than that. I was under a lot of stress when I went on this vacation and for two weeks, the biggest stress that I had was whether to go for team trivia in the Skyview Lounge or finally join everyone for an art auction on a sea day. I had people to serve me, bring me fresh towels and tell me where I needed to be at what time. I’ve never loved the idea of cruises and have only been on 2 in my life. One was in Alaska and it was the perfect way to experience the Inside Passage, so I highly recommend it. The other, was a Mediterranean cruise and it was nice, but not a great way to see the amazing countries on the itinerary.
This cruise seemed great on paper. I have been to Iceland before and it gave me the chance to do a few things there to make it feel more complete to me (whale watching, a jeep safari on a vehicle only used in Iceland and seeing more of a pretty little city that I liked). Who has ever heard of or visited the Faroe Islands? I’m always a fan of going to little places that no one knows about. Last but not least, what better way is there to see the fjords of Norway than on a ship? This was an instance where the trip met all of my expectations and gave me exactly what I needed at the exact moment that I needed it. I needed no stress (check), no blackberry (check), no major decisions (check) and every day to be different (check, check check). I loved every place that I visited (although I love every place that I go to).
While I was away, I’d love to tell you that I followed everything that I’ve learned on the yellow brick road to good health. I didn’t. I ate what I wanted, I lazed around on sea days getting out of bad late and going to bed at different times. I exercised a little – I forced myself to walk on the walking track on one of the rare sunny days, my cousin and I walked a few kilometres (many uphill) in Akureyri, Iceland to see more of the city and almost our whole group did a pretty long hike to a glacier in Norway (see me getting soaked below).
I ate nuts infrequently and carbs became my BFF again. Yet somehow, other than stomach pain from all of the food that didn’t agree with me, I felt better than I can remember. My brain wasn’t foggy, my heart wasn’t racing and I didn’t feel any pressure to be somewhere. So what did I owe this sense of well-being to? The fact that between not having any responsibilities and taking almost a complete cyber-break, for once in my life, I felt stress free. It was delightful and important. It shouldn’t take a vacation to feel this way, but at least for me it does. If I can give you some advice (not from Oz, but from me) when taking a holiday:
-Eat whatever you want. Yes, I gained 3.5 pounds, but in less than a week, they are a distant memory and I got to enjoy my holiday without feeling deprived while the people around me ate whatever they wanted. You aren’t going to be on your death bed thinking, if only I had one more carrot stick, but you might regret not having tried the chocolate souffle on your trip or something that you can only get in that particular locale
-Take a cyber-break – believe me, if there if big news, you will hear it. Stay in touch with loved ones on occasion, but it’s called a vacation for a reason. I thought I would be in a panic being so disconnected but instead, I felt relaxed in a way that I haven’t in years. It helped that WiFi on the ship was a nightmare
-Don’t let weather put a damper on your trip. You can’t control the weather, so embrace it, and have a good time. Think of rain and fog as atmosphere. I had to on this trip
-Allow yourself to relax. I thought I’d spend time staring out at the ocean, pondering my life. I’m just not that deep (pun intended), so I started out hoping to see a whale or a dolphin. Didn’t see either (sigh). A vacation is about going back to your childhood for a few days when things were easier and there were people to feed you and pick up after you. Embrace it
-Don’t expect it to be like home. If you want the creature comforts of home, then take a stay-cation. Travelling is amazing, but it can be a bit of a culture shock if you don’t like that sort of thing
-Try everything from activity to food and participate in the ridiculous. I had my nose painted blue and kissed a fish to celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle. It was fun – and didn’t kill me, and I now have that silly memory (including almost falling on a fake Viking during a photo) to remember that milestone forever
Today, I am grateful that I could de-stress and enjoy one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.