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Make short getaways last longer
10 ways to get more out of those breaks away from your practice
Short getaways are wonderful things. They have the power to rest, refresh, restore and rejuvenate. Only trouble is, they’re often over before you know it. There are, though, a few tricks to making a brief time away from the office seem longer without taking away from the benefits.
1. Get to your destination quickly. Some people’s idea of a good time is to drive until you drop. A couple I know is like that. On their last three-day, 72-hour outing, they drove from Toronto to New Orleans and back — over 4000 kilometres. Their greatest pleasure in the excursion? They did it in under 36 hours. Don’t do that. The less time spent getting there the better for most people. You want to arrive ready to enjoy yourself.
2. Take your time on the road. This is the flip side of rushing to get there. You can make a trip seem longer by taking frequent stops at roadside attractions. Visit the home of an admired prime minister. For example, Diefenbaker’s house in Prince Albert, SK is now a museum. Stop at that place that advertises “foot high pies.” Canada is loaded with quirky stops (roadsideattractions.ca/tch.htm) along the road. You’ll be amazed at what’s out there.
3. Unplug. Unless it makes you nervous to be away from a wireless connection for longer than an hour or two, resolve not to check your messages, watch videos or even check the weather on your smartphone. It can be most restful for you — and that goes double for your travelling companions.
4. Plan special events. Certainly include a leisurely meal at a restaurant you know you’ll enjoy. Add a show, the theatre or even just a movie you’ve been hoping to see. Hike a beautiful trail, rent a kayak and go for a paddle. When did you last go bowling? Might be fun. Go mad — there are archery ranges out there and places you can play croquet — the possibilities are yours to explore.
5. Take along someone you don’t know very well. For example, in his book A Walk in the Woods, author Bill Bryson hooks up with an old school pal he hasn’t seen for 40 years for a go at the 3000-plus kilometre Appalachian Trail. Both the book and the movie — staring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte — are as much about renewing friendships as they are about the hike, with often hilarious results. Consider going off with a friend from your own past or plan an adventure with one of your kids, just the two of you.
6. Go somewhere new. Take some time to plan the holiday. Talk to friends and go on the net to ferret out spots you’re never visited — if they’re nearby, all the better. Try a bike tour or a canoe trip. Hint for Ontarians and Quebecers: spend a few days in Prince Edward County (prince-edward-county.com).
7. Book a hotel or B&B in your hometown. Could be the place you grew up or where you’re living now. The great recession added the word “staycation” to the vocabulary. Go to a concert or plays three nights in a row. Sign up for a course in meditation — most places offer them for free — or take an intensive cooking course. The Dirty Apron (dirtyapron.com) in Vancouver offers terrific courses, but there are cooking classes all over the country. A Google search is all you need to do to find one near by. Feeling less energetic? Load up on books and videos at the local library, take the phone off the hook, disconnect the Wi-Fi. Read. Watch. Sleep.
8. Try something new. Be creative. Set out to do what you’ve never done before like learning to fly a glider (see the article in this issue on page 31) or, for example, make a pair of shoes for yourself, there’s a workshop (shoeschool.com) in Port Townsend, Washington. Interested in Canadian art, making it, buying it or just appreciating it? There’s a world of possibilities at canadianart.ca.
And finally two surefire ways to stretch out holiday time:
9) tack on an extra day or two
10) get up earlier every day and go to bed later
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