*I apologize for what I just did there. You'll be singing that for days.
I'm pretty sure we don't do vacation like normal people.
At the hotels along the road we dragged in our Instant Pot (don't tell!) along with jars of pressure canned homegrown food. At the island we arrived with three (yes, three) coolers bursting with fresh fruit and veggies and frozen meat, in hopes of eating well desipte hauling our supplies in by boat, trailer, and (for the last 100 yards or so) by hand.
I may have also packed wine.
There were some dehydrated meals that I made at home for our last few days on the island, yes, but I really love to eat well and travel doesn't seem like a good excuse to do otherwise. And since I tend to regret it when I don't (with lots of funky stomach aches if my diet goes off the rails) I thought it was a fine indulgence. Desipte the sideways glances we got from the boat captain.
Add to the food factor that I inadvertently scheduled our trip over Valentine's Day! Ack. (As some of you will recall, Lupine is wild about this holiday. Me? Not so much.) And with no proper way to celebrate I wasn't sure what she would think.
But we decided that if we packed a few craft supplies from home and used some strategic seashells, that we could make Valentines for the campground host and any other friends we made. We laid in a small stash of oil-based sharpies, peg dolls, wool felt, glue, and acrylic paint. (Doesn't everyone bring these things camping? Don't answer that.)
Since Lu was so fast to make friends, she soon had a list of folks to make seashell clad peg people for. (Two kids, one adult, and one dog were slated for Valentine's within the first few hours of arrival.) Then night before Valentine's day, she crafted until long after dark at the picnic table by the light of her headlamp, then crept off early in the morning to secretly deliver the Valentine's to her friends. I didn't even have a chance for a photo in that early morning light!
I used our paint markers to craft Valentine's out of some large white seashells, then in the morning produced a secret/not-secret bag of freeze-dried strawberries, and called it done. That's my kind of Valentine's day celebration.
And, of course, there was yarn. Lots of yarn, like I was preparing to be shipwrecked on the island for months.
Knitting on the beach for hours each day was a welcome indulgence, and I just needed to remember to put down my needles now and then to bury my kids in the sand, swim with my family, and go for a walk on the beach.
But then, those were a welcome indulgence as well.
Before we knew it our week was up and we were headed back to a world of electricity, cars, and refrigeration. And while it was nice to finally wash the sand off of my feet, it was a week we won't soon forget.
One final thought: perspective is everything.
Because looking back on this trip I remember knitting on the beach and playing Rummy with my family; glorious sunsets and kayaking over the top of a pod of manatees.
Does that mean the trip was perfect? Of course not.
There are stories that I could tell you about dune rats and cockroaches; swarming mosquitoes and an unreasonable amount of chlorine in the drinking water. But those stories are funny asides or stories not worth telling. I think that life is like that. It's always a mix. And it's our work to decide what to focus on as we look back.
The beautiful part, of course, is that we get to decide.