The older I get, the more I have noticed that I don’t take a whole lot of time for myself. In the midst of a full time job, taking care of all my bills on my own, having a dog and family and friends, the only time I really have for myself is right before bed. By then I just want to crash and go to bed.
Last week, a couple of friends and I decided to take a day trip up to Leavenworth, Washington, and it was the best day off I’ve had in a long time.
I established before that there are few people who I can handle travelling with, and while long rides in the car aren’t my favorite thing, I’ve noticed that when with the right people. they can be incredibly entertaining. This trip tied in the best of both worlds. I had two incredible travel buddies, and the laughter shared in the car was a highlight of the trip.
Leavenworth is a little German town nestled in the mountains of Central Washington, and my friends were surprised to hear that I had never been there in my 10 years of living in Washington. We left our home town at about 9AM and got ready for a three hour trip. One of my friends, Alex and I are accustomed to travelling together, and we were excited to have another friend join us. I’m not 100% sure he knew what he was getting himself into, but I like to think that he enjoyed our company and humor.
As soon as we entered the town, I was mesmerized. The architecture was all German. Even the Safeway looked like it was straight out of Europe! I adored the colorful that covered the buildings, and there were hotels and inns with towers that reminded me of something out of Disney’s Rapunzel. We treated ourselves to some tasty bratwurst from Munchen Haus, sat outdoors under heaters and entertained ourselves with a little bit of people watching as we ate. I was completely impressed by the food and enchanted by the little shops with German shops that celebrated local artists’ talents. From Russian dolls to original paintings and music boxes, I was happy to see art celebrated. I was inspired by the way that this tiny town hosts a plethora of small businesses (and of course, Starbucks took it’s own rightful spot). The citizens were preparing for Christmas, which according to my friend “will make you think you’re in the North Pole.” (I can’t wait to go back for the tree lighting!) The small town charm captured my heart, and I really could have walked those streets all day, stepping into each shop to chat with the owners.
But perhaps even more powerful was the park that sits on the outskirts of town. I was happy to allow nature to embrace me and for the sun to warm me. I was enchanted by sparkling water and trees that are just starting to change into fall colors. I enjoyed being greeted by smiles from others on the trail and was excited to be enveloped in conversation.
It hit me. It wasn’t just the gingerbread homes and lederhosen that charmed me that day. It was being able to take time off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend time with people who I actually care about. It wasn’t experiencing a new town. It was getting to know friends in new ways. When it comes down to it, that’s what days off are really for.