Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Staycations for One: Restoring Body and Soul

efbfeed8.jpg Glacier National Park image by waynede

Duchesse at Passage des Perles recently wrote about contrasts in the pace of life at different times in history.  This made me think about slowing down the pace, and the restorative quality of unstructured time. 

Since I posted a couple weeks ago about the causes of depression, I’ve been even more aware of my need for rest.  For me, nothing feeds emotional and mental distress like doing too much with too little rest.  I need “white space” around the bursts of activity in my life.  Is it that way for you?     

Last year I had the good fortune to take three “staycations”—trips within a few hours’ driving distance—all by myself.  One was a two-day, two-night adventure to Glacier National Park in northern Montana.  That’s a picture of the park, above. 

At Apgar Village, inside the park, you can rent a tiny cabin for less than a hundred dollars a night.  There’s one below.  They’re spotlessly clean and have kitchens and everything you need.  No televisions or phones.  Internet?  No way, Jose. 


I got to my cabin on a Friday night.  It was already dark.  After I unpacked, I cast around feeling lost without my computer.  Pretty soon, though, I put on pajamas and crashed into the blissful bed.  I woke up around midnight and read books and played around with a new set of pastels and some mandalas.  Then went back to bed.   

In the morning I had oatmeal from home and coffee from my little kitchen.  Then I went on a hike to the place below:  Avalanche Lake.  I can’t describe the beauty, so I won’t try.  There were quite a few people hiking there, which was good, because I’m not keen on walking alone in grizzly bear country. 


When I got down from my hike, thrilled at the beauty I’d experienced and worn out from the exercise, I was ravenous.  I went to the Lake McDonald Lodge and got a huge, juicy hamburger to go.  With fries.  Here’s the inside of the lodge. 


I toyed with the idea of going on a boat tour of Lake McDonald, but was feeling anti-social.  I bought a book on women in western American history from the gift shop, and then went back to my little cabin at the end of the lake.  I took a shower, and then a nap. 

Later that evening, I went out for a bike ride, had dinner from my little refrigerator, and fell asleep reading my new book.  The next morning, it was time to go home.  

This was a fondly remembered stay-cation.  I’ve learned that these elements help me have a good and restorative trip:  Nature.  Opportunity for vigorous exercise.  Quiet.  Opportunity for lots of sleep.  Comfort.  Good food—either brought by me, or not.  No phones, TV or Internet.    

I’d like to encourage all of us to do what we need for rest, in whatever quantity we need it.  Even though my trip to Glacier was not expensive, I need to spend less money this year.  With the right attitude, I could even do one in my house.    

Have you taken a restorative trip by yourself, either near home or far away?  What did you do?  Would you do it again? 

photos from www.photobucket.com


Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

yes I agree that rest days/nights etc are a MUST. I find that SLEEP is good, IF you can manage or feel like going to bed early, but it sure helps me!
Just being good to yourself....its just a shame its such a selfish illness. We withdraw from family and friends physically and mentally no phone calls etc when we feel low approaching and when we feel better to maintain our good times we have to go to bed early and so withdraw...

Jane said...

Oh I have just spent ages writing a response to this post and it has disappeared.
To recap - a staycation in the UK is used to describe a holiday spent in your own home when the normal routine is abandoned and you go with the flow.
I loved reading about your trips they made me slow down and imagine myself there.
I love my family but I love my own space too and I get like a Grizzly Bear if I don't get it!

Ingrid Mida said...

Your vacation spot is breathtakingly beautiful. How refreshing it must have been to drink in the glory of nature's beauty.
My trip to Paris was the first time I'd been alone in years. It was intoxicating...time to think, time to dream. I'm still smiling and I plan to do it again next year.

Lori ann said...


I want to answer your question Sallymandy, but I want to talk about your post more! I loved it. OH my gosh, i hope to go there someday. Although for me it would be a destination and not a staycation. But oh, what a place! I think you are brave to hike alone around grizzleys though, that is the one thing i don't think i'd do. Grizzly Bears...*shudder*!!
But what a great trip and a great post. Oh, i haved camped by myself out at our Channel Islands before, only one small tent, sleeping bag, book and journal, and food from home, there's nothing out there. It's bliss. I have a post somewhere, i'll try to remember which so you can see how beautiful it is!
Thank youfor this perfect tuesday morning wake up.
Have a lovely day!

Lori ann said...

me again. i forgot to say what stunning photos! beautiful.

Mardel said...

Oh that sounds so lovely. I have done that, but not for years and years and I miss it terribly. I would certainly do it again.

Diana said...

That looks so beautiful. Sounds like it was an amazing and relaxing trip.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Goodness, this sounds wonderful. I occasionally so to the beach by myself. Just me and a stack of books taller than a three year old. There is a beautiful inn right on the coast, where my favourite room hangs out over the waves. The owners know me, and leave me alone, bringing my favourite meals at the appropriate times, and a Diet Coke whenever I look wilted. It is heaven.

Duchesse said...

Oh! These photos are a rest in themselves. My stayacations are in the big city- we have to travel a good day to reach the Adirondacks or the Charlevoix area of Quebec, both breathtaking. Then it's not a 'staycation', is it? You are in majestic staycation heaven; delighted that you recognize the need and take them!


What a beautiful location!
I have taken restorative trips...they did wonders to my spirit, refreshed & had new perspective on life! Highly recommended...but it's getting harder these days especially with commitments at work. Glad you share this with us...inspiring!

Stephanie N. said...

Good for you! The bus that I take to work some days is one that would arrive at the Atlantic shore if I stared on it for another two or three hours. There are some days that I think of just staying on until the end of the line, securing a hotel room for myself, and disappearing for a day to sleep and do whatever the heck I want.

My husband and I took a 3-day staycation at home last year because we decided we couldn't afford an actual vacation. We rationalized that since we weren't paying for a hotel room, we could eat out for every meal if we wished. It was awesome.

Anonymous said...

I live in San Diego where I can do a Staycation from home or at least with very little travel. I think I'm going to plan a few - just days bumping around the tourist spots with nothing much on my mind and my camera in my pocket.

I love your photos.

PurestGreen said...

This is remarkable - how inspiring. Staycations. That's what I need. I spend a lot of time alone but I tend to get lost in the cycle of work and home. Being somewhere new just provides that boost. Such gorgeous photos. I'm glad you're learning to rest!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Without first having read your lovely post, I would answered your query with a resounding "NO way!" Why would I want to go ANYWHERE by myself, in the wilderness, with no internet?
After reading your post, though, I am so anxious to do just what you did! It sounds so peaceful, so relaxing, so gloriously QUIET. The photo ops are obviously plentiful, and I can picture myself seated on a large stone at the water's edge, patiently awaiting some sort of SMALL wild animal to wander into my range.
Thank you for allowing us to enjoy your wonderful short dream staycation!

tiffany said...

Oh, that sounds so wonderful. I feel a very profound need for silence and solitude - usually I get it during my week, working from my own studio. When I don't get it - because someone is staying, or I have simply so much work that I can't find time to meditate or do some yoga - I get very very short-tempered and morose. I love the idea of going away somewhere by myself like that ... I might just try it if I can get the other half to agree!

Poetikat said...

Our one night away to Stratford, Ontario last week was incredibly restorative and exciting and fun, (even though we were only half an hour away from home).
Your staycation sounds amazing. I really envy you that.
Is that landscape/lake shot a photo? It looks so much like an oil painting. Magnificent!


Woman in a Window said...

I do it almost every night. I put on my MP3 and tune in and tune out, tune in to something else, as well. Tonight I got on my bike and rode through a provincial park. Liberating!

That second picture, oh.my.god. it is spectacular!

Geanina Codita said...

Siempre que vienen a visitar este blog a que descubra la armonía de los colores mágicamente enviado por mensaje de texto fenomenal. Gracias.
Si estás en mi blog sería un honor, si la votación en TOPblog y yo entiendo que te gusto y me vas a volver.
Un buen día para ti!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

What gorgeous images and I love the idea of staycations - your's sounds wonderful! I had planned to do several this year but two big trips to the UK has thrown those plans - I think we'll build caves at home and rest in there instead. So, so important to always remember and find the balance.

NatureStop said...

Greetings from Oman!Really enjoyed your blog and great images.Will be back...:)

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I spend a great deal of time alone and find that I really require it. Too much activity (which for me means being around people for two days in a row)gets me completely frazzled. I can't deal with alot of different personalities - just don't have the skills, which is what comes from living a fairly secluded life. One year, when my husband had a broken leg and we couldn't go to New Orleans on our anniversary, I created New orleans at home. We drank Sazeracs and I cooked New Orleans recipes and we listened to New Orleans jazz for an entire week. All the cooking was alot of work, but so worth the fun and the many memories. I'm a 'nothing can hold me down' kinda gal. Your vacation spot would soothe my soul. Great post.

La Belette Rouge said...

We are going to He-weasel's family home at the beach this weekend( the family is out of town) and we are pretending we are going to go to a rented beach house(that has no familial history or baggage). I am as giddy as if I as going someplace really good.
Your staycation looks amazing. You are a lucky lady, but you know that!!!

Awesome Sara said...

geez those pics are gorgeous. i would be so relaxed if i got to live here

sallymandy said...

Thanks all you fabulous readers for your great comments on this post. I did not take the pictures..but aren't they grand? It's truly a special place.

Now, having gotten back from a trip that was NOT a staycation, but a work thing, I must retire. But know how much I appreciate you!


aims said...

Having spent nine months in a psyche ward thinking I was waiting to get on a cruise ship in my pajamas....and I live in the middle of the prairies.....

I know the value of protecting the mind and the spirit.

This sounds heavenly and looks that way too!

Montana has some gorgeous country. No doubt about it. A beautiful place to regroup.

Angela Recada said...

I absolutely love Montana! Your little break sounds like heaven to me.