Why Can’t I Go?

Go West Young Man. A bill board advertising an Eiteljorg film series. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300, July 2018.

Go West Young Man. A bill board advertising an Eiteljorg film series. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300, July 2018. Should I go?

Maybe one could explain this complexity for me?

In my youth I had a driving wonder lust. I couldn’t wait to get out and explore. It started by exploring creeks and cemeteries and the local neighborhoods I could walk or bike to. When I could drive places were no longer far away. Indiana State Parks became a favorite destination. Sometimes those trips became overnighters but they were usually long day trips.

When I first married and the kids started appearing, the wonder lust didn’t fade. Family camping, “auto hiking” (a self coined term to describe ‘driving’ to strange and new places as my wife at that point in my life didn’t care to ‘hike’ in the traditional way) and backpacking were activities I faithfully and consistently engaged in.

As the first wife left and the second wife came home with two more kids, family camping took a prominent place in our family travels. Colorado, South Dakota, Kentucky, Florida were some of the states we went to. Pricey beach vacation were also thrown into the travel itinerary.

But, as the kids grew up and left to live their own lives and as the second wife left to live her own I find myself alone and unrestricted.

Yet, I can’t seem excite the wonder lust I had in my youth.

It’s become a topic of discussion (or maybe concern) with friends and family. They don’t understand why I talk about flying or driving to far away destinations for a long weekend or a week long vacation, see  my excitement at the thought of wondering about  and listen to my ideas and list of things-to-do and then witness the scheduled dates come and go and my lack of follow through.

They say “you have nothing holding you back.”

And I don’t.

Yet I don’t go.

My scheduled work vacation this year is July 30 – August 3. It’s a typical five day work week vacation but if you add the weekends before and aft then the vacation expands into nine days.

That is enough time to drive to Colorado and take a few photos, is it not? Enough time to do almost everything I planned to do, that I listed on my detailed itinerary I created months ago where I listed mileage and routes and campgrounds and National Parks and towns and mountains I wanted to visit and climb.

Yet, I’m on the verge of pulling the plug and canceling those vacation days and continue life by working through that week as normal.

Ugh.

I hope I still go.

As a post script, in June 2015, I did take a week’s vacation to Colorado. It was a great time of hiking and sight seeing and driving to strange and new places.

If you look close you can my little red 2000 Honda Civic EX. And next to the Civic is the 3 Corners at Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Photo taken by Dave O, June 2015.

If you look close you can my little red 2000 Honda Civic EX. And next to the Civic is the 3 Corners at Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Photo taken by Dave O, June 2015.

 

 

 

Return to Colorado

I work as a graphic designer, web programmer slash front end designer, photographer and general illustrative person for a small midwest manufacturer. I’ve been in this position since 1998 but been with the company since 1992.

Not very often are there ‘kudos’ for a good job. You might hear about a bad job. Kudos, good and bad, do come at times, thankfully. But since there are no quarterly or yearly evaluations I never know if I’m doing as expected or if I’m doing great or if I need to improve in some area or if they are planning to show me the door. And with the new ownership change, not knowing can play havoc inside my head.

However, two recent comments made by the some of the new owners kind of took me by surprise.

The first comment, made directly to me and about me and made by Owner #1, concerned my lack of use of ‘vacation time’. Just a comment, no “you did bad by not taking all of it” nor “you did good by not taking all of it and being at work”.

The second comment, spoken in an expressive tone loud enough for all to hear expressed Owner #5’s point of view as to “WHY anyone in their right mind WOULDN’T take ALL of their VACATION TIME”.

I thought there are several reasons why someone wouldn’t take all their vacation time. In this company, vacation time is earned, not given. Therefore, it’s pay. Some people, like me, can use the nice ‘bonus’ at the end of the year to pay bills, debt, kid’s tuition, etc. Other people, also like me, just don’t know where to go on vacation nor have the cash to go. Other people, like me, use vacation time to work around the house or wait for the cable guy between the hours of 8 – 4.

I’ve used 7 days of my 15 days of total 2015 ‘vacation’. Five days were taken to drive to Colorado and hike and explore. Two days were spent hiking around some state parks and going to a doctor’s appointment. I did have other vacation scheduled but those days were delayed and then rescinded due to work and other conflicts.

There are five new owners at the company. Maybe they want people to take vacation time for good employee morale or accounting or other reasons. Probably for accounting reasons since vacation time is not accrued from year to year. They cut a check for unused vacation time at the end of the year. So, if you don’t take two weeks of vacation then you get a ‘bonus’ (not really a bonus but you understand my drift) of two extra weeks of pay.

So they are encouraging people to take their vacation. At least that is what I’m hearing. I wouldn’t want the new owners, particular Owner #5, to think I’m somewhat deficient in person or spirit because I didn’t take all of my earned vacation time.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

So, I’m now planning some vacation time for late July, 2016. And, I’m going to Leadville Colorado and going to run on the Mineral Belt National Historic Trail. It is an 11.6 mile paved fitness trail that winds through and around Leadville.

How cool. It is cool!

I should be in shape to run the total distance by late July. I have two mini marathons scheduled for May and June 2016. So, I should be trained up for 11.6 miles. However, the elevation may offer a challenge, as Leadville is at 10,152 feet in the Colorado Rockies and is the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States.

Most, if not all, of my running and training is in the low lands of the midwest. So it may be a challenge to run at that altitude but it’s a challenge that I’m now looking forward to!

I plan to stay at a campground in Leadville or close by. I also plan to complete the Whitney Lake hike during this trip. In June 2015, on my first attempt at Whitney Lake, I turned back about a half mile from the lake because of deep snow and not really being prepared physically, as I was overweight and out of shape at that time. That hike, and that trip to Colorado in general, gave me the motive and impetuous to get back in shape.

I drove through Leadville on my 2015 Colorado trip. For the 2016 trip, I plan to linger in Leadville, take in some of the local craft brew and color and hike around the San Isabel National Forest.

Leadville is kind of a mecca for running. It hosts an entire series of races, from a 10K to the famous Leadville 100 ultra trail marathon. Here’s a link to their web site.

At least I have something on the 2016 vacation schedule. Hopefully that will make some people happy. However, I’m sure the plans will change and morph along the way before July 2016. Until then, I have something to look forward to and train for.