How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation

June 25, 2024

It will be steaming hot this summer, ‘punishing,’ I think it’s being called; as summer is known to be these days. Since it gets so warm and often muggy globally, my little boutique travel business is on hold until September. I always find it so sad when I watch groups of tourists in Rome, Florence or Paris, so hot and miserable, they can’t enjoy the beauty around them. So I’ll be close to home, working on a new book, outlining a new series of shows, but mostly chilling and taking a wee respite from my usual pace and workload.

Some things are crystal clear about my summer. You won’t find me on a beach (not with my skin and hair) and you won’t find me hiking in the mountains (not with my beat-up knees). Both are wonderful things to do, but not for me, thanks.

I’ll be deeply engaged in a couple of things…and decidedly disengaged with others.

I’ll be reading books, which I do all the time, but I’ll be reading more and from authors new to me, so I expand my horizons. My current obsession is Donato Carrisi and I can’t seem to get enough of his work.

You know I’m not going to write this blog to just talk about what I’m doing, but I’ll give you the unsolicited advice you come to hear (LOL). One of the biggest gifts my mother gave me was a love of reading. I come from a difficult family life and reading was my escape; it was my way to see and feel another world. It gave me the knowledge that there was more to life than what I knew. It opened me to the world that was there for the taking.

So put down your devices for a minute (or many…) and grab a book. Reading changes us as people; it changes how we see each other because it gives us another perspective, different from our own. Oh, but skip modern political books. They’re mostly designed to reinforce what you already think and to make money from fear-mongering and hatred. Use books to be exposed to a new culture or way of thinking or just to have some fun by escaping into a great story.

I’ll also be using my phone less. You guys know me, so you know I’ll be posting recipes and blogs, but the truth is I need to step away from it for a bit for my own mental health. Just the other day, I was answering questions on Facebook (which I love doing, by the way; I love engaging with most of you) and then it happened. Someone sent me a private message advising me about facelifts, which she believed I had done. She advised me to make sure they did a better job on my forehead because I had lines and it was a dead giveaway that I was older. I was speechless for a couple of reasons. It was deeply personal and not a nice thing to hear (or for her to write). I am older; no question, but I love being older. It certainly beats the alternative. Everyone I told the story to said I should be happy since I have not had any work done, so clearly I look good for my age, but they were missing the point. It was an uncalled for comment and just mean. I grow weary of rudeness and so, if you don’t hear back from me right away, you’ll know why. I need a respite from the ugliness now and again.

I sincerely advise every single person I know to get off social media for a little while every day or week…or for good. When you think about it, social media did not have a noble beginning, so how could we expect good from it? Founded by Mark Zuckerberg as a way to get back at women who would not date him, it’s very founding roots are in meanness. And with people like him and Elon Musk at the helms of these platforms, we are naïve to expect sweetness and light from them.

Now I know what you’ll write. It’s not all bad (and it’s not). I use it to connect with many of you and I love that. I use it to talk to my friends in Europe and that would not be so easy without social media. I get it; I do. And I embrace the goodness in it (which, by the way, is the result of the good people who use it, not the founders). But sometimes, we all just need to step away. To look at nature and the world around us in real time…to maybe even be bored so our minds can open to new ideas.

Last, I’ll be continuing to do all I can to reduce my impact on the planet. As Ed Begley Jr says, “We can’t save it all, but we can save a lot of it.” Referring to our precious planet, I’ll spend my summer walking the walk (since I do travel for work at certain times of the year). I’ll walk everywhere I can and take public transit when I can’t. I’ll continue to keep my air conditioner tuned to 76 F so it’s not running all the time and turn it off when I leave the house. I’ll dry clothing outside so I use my dryer less. I’ll water my garden judiciously and without waste. I’ll continue to minimize waste, compost and re-use. In short, I’ll do all I can to step lightly on our mother so she can breathe a little easier under the weight of our needs. Even my tiny impact (and it’s tiny), helps. If we all do little things, we can see big changes.

As I finish off this blog, writing about working on a book, a new series and reading, I realize that I will maybe not be so chill, but rather busy, but in a more solitary mode, socializing with the people I love best and recharging my batteries with more coffee dates and downtime than I normally take. I will take the time to cook; try new recipe ideas and enjoy the abundance from my local farm market.

Whatever you decide to do this summer, enjoy it; treat each person you meet with compassion and kindness; have some fun and don’t forget to exercise and to cook well. Taking care of our bodies is a divine responsibility. This body is the only one we get, so care for it as though your life depends on it, because it does.