Tuesday, January 29, 2008

last minute deals

As a kid I used to obsess over travel brochures. You know those glossy booklets of tropical paradise? Any time we passed a travel agent I would take the sandals and sunquest brochures home and comb through them with encyclopedic determination.

Encylopedic determination. I call it that because encyclopedias, and as I said occasionally travel brochures, is what I did with my need to know before there was the internet.

I am not sure exactly how old I was when it started. Old enough that I could read, although not without some amount of struggle, and young enough that taking the encyclopedia off of the shelf and carrying it to my room was a bit of a physical struggle. I can still feel their weight and their textured brown on brown binding with gold trimmed pages. How I loved to run my fingers along the smooth gold.

Aaah. Encyclopedias. The first thing I ever took to bed.

Letter by letter.

“Hmmm…tonight I feel like…'M'.”

Determined, I read them cover to cover at an age when maintaining my interest through dry patches was almost impossible. The internet allows me to be more frivolous. Darting from pages as fast as thoughts come to mind.

I am reminded of this suddenly, struck with a craving for some sun and sand. If all goes as planned and I change jobs before spring is in full bloom, an all-inclusive may be on my agenda. I will do something last minute, maybe alone.

The idea of going by myself is appealing to me in a few ways. I would love to sit in the shade on a pristine beach the salt wind in my hair, reading, writing, and swimming. With all of the sun and the fresh air, I would probably go to bed early and sleep until whenever the sun wakes me and no one would pressure me to do otherwise. Going with someone would be fun in other ways.

However it plays out, knowing these types of places and the almost guaranteed shitty food, I might even lose a few pounds. I have done this sort of trip twice before. When I was in Cuba with a group of way too many girls, I lost weight because I only ate a real meal at breakfast: mostly fruit and a little bacon [which I no longer eat], and lots of coffee [they tend to do that well]. For the rest of the day I pretty much ate buns. I am not joking. I ate buns with butter for lunch and dinner. Normally I do not eat buns, and if I did I doubt I would use butter [listen to me, "use", like I am talking crystal meth].

The last time I went away to a resort was in Panama. I was still smoking, so I would laze and smoke and swim and read. I did one day trip to the rainforest and the Panama Canal, but the rest was pretty sedentary. Three years later and I surprise myself at how happy I am that smoking is no longer in the equation. I thought I would always want to smoke. That I would always feel a lack. Every once in a while I still do, like when I watched Keira Knightly in Atonement last week. Smoking looked so damn good to me in that film. But otherwise, I am so happy to be free. Free like the wind.

I like this version of me, three years later. I could most certainly out-run my former self, but it is more than that. I am more sure of myself these days.


Laura said...

Ahhh, I'm getting close to quitting and the fact that you don't miss it helps. I love it. And I hate it. But mostly I love it.

I'm also thinking of spending six weeks in Paris this summer taking French immersion classes. I'll probably be alone which is scary but amazing at the same time.

Rachel said...

I still love it sometimes too, or my memory of it. Every once in a while I still have a smoking dream and I wake up and feel lonely for it, but I truly am surprised at how much I love not having to do it.

Everyone is different of course, but something that helped me when I quit was that I told myself that I would quit 'for now'. My plan was, and still is, that I will start again when I'm 80. If I don't feel like it by then that's fine, but at least I have that to look forward to.

Six weeks in Paris will be incredible. It might be a little scary, but good-scary.

Do it!