Lessons Learned While on Vacation

  1. The sun—it burns.
  2. An empty head can be a very happy head.
  3. Visiting countries where it is not recommended to drink the water is not good for someone whose favorite all-time beverage is ice water. (I did not get sick, but juice—nor strawberry daiquiries—did not quench my thirst, so even now I feel so thirsty.)
  4. It is sometimes not possible to get up off one’s beach-side lounge chair, even for a cultural tour, except when it is time to eat.
  5. I like to eat.
  6. I also—shocker—like to swim.
  7. “Swimming” is relative. It was more like bopping around in the calm ripples while balancing on my toes. And while wearing a giant hat (see #1, re: sun).
  8. I am afraid of jellyfish.
  9. I am also afraid of swarming schools of minnows.
  10. When in a foreign locale and spoken to in a foreign language I should know but don’t know my first inclination is to get terribly nervous and then, randomly, answer in French.
  11. Bringing 5 (yes, five) books on a 5-day vacation is overkill. Especially when one of those books is the luscious novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a total of 607 pages, of which I am now on page 311.
  12. This is because I like to swim.
  13. And nap.
  14. And eat.
  15. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is brilliant. To those of you who recommended it, thank you.
  16. While lounging on my beach chair, I had little glimmers of the novel I want to write next. They were sparkling points of light in my mind, up there like the stars, not going anywhere.
  17. Sometimes I closed my eyes and looked at them.
  18. I knew they wouldn’t leave.
  19. I can’t wait to start writing.
  20. But first I had to nap, and swim, and read, and eat.
  21. A day in which there is nothing whatsoever to do is a perfect day. I can’t remember the last time I had a day like that.
  22. These vacations are addictive.
  23. But I wouldn’t need them if my life was quieter.
  24. If I had a less-stressful job.
  25. Or no job.
  26. But who are the people with no jobs? I don’t see any.
  27. So maybe I will go away again next year. And savor those 5 days. And read another great book.
  28. If only a plane ride wasn’t involved.
  29. Planes make me claustrophobic, give me headaches, make me dehydrated (especially on the flight back when they confiscated the water), and make me ache.
  30. Cab rides make me car-sick.
  31. I feel a cold coming on.
  32. But my vacation pictures show me smiling, my cheeks the color of strawberry Jell-O.
  33. Oh, what a great time we had.


  1. Glad to hear you had a marvellous holiday and that there are little glimmering points of light to entice you to write more. I have to say I am with you on the sun and sea, but also on the jellyfish and those terrifying minnow swarms. Snorkelling ain’t for me.

  2. Welcome home. I thought I was the only one with the impulse to respond to any foreign language with choppy French. It’s completely weird – I think the impulse might be because it’s the language I learned first, and therefore imprinted on my mind more permanently? Who knows.

  3. I’m glad you like The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Everyone else I recommended it to hated it!

    Ah, your holiday sounds lovely. I’m glad you had a great time (apart from the plane and cab bits). I can especially relate to: “An empty head can be a very happy head.” I need that right now…

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