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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

My First Staycation

The view from Cherry Creek State Park

The view from Cherry Creek State Park

I’m going on my first staycation this weekend. Well, no, not really. I suppose I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here in Denver, hanging out with my puppy, and doing some things around town. The two of us kicked it off this past weekend by taking a walk through Cherry Creek State Park and playing around (Read: Tormenting other dogs by stealing their balls) in the creek in the off-leash dog park.

Playing in Cherry Creek State Park

Anna having fun in the creek

This will be the first time in my adult life that I have not gone somewhere to celebrate my birthday. Hawaii, Egypt, China, and more; I’ve always traveled somewhere for my birthday for as far back as I can remember. And right now, that’s Las Vegas with my brother for the big 21st celebration.

The impetus for my birthday travels goes beyond my love for learning, seeing, and experiencing new things. So let’s rewind to the days when I cooked at the campus bar while in college. Freshman year, and the new school glow still hung over me. So much so that I filled in for the rest of the cooking staff over spring break. Fast forward a couple of weeks to the start of the spring quarter, when I wanted a Saturday night off for a concert.

No one would cover for me. Not even when I reminded them how I filled in for them while they were gone, including pulling a double on my birthday. And now, the night of the concert, when I was at my most annoyed, I told the manager I was putting in my two week notice. Kindly enough, he told me I could just leave for the night (Read: Don’t bother coming back). I did and experienced one of the most amazing shows in the process: Rob Zombie with the Reverend Horton Heat and the Melvins.

Sure. I know. Metal isn’t for everyone. But I loved it then and love it still. The energy fills me up. And it did that night, as I joined some friends who had floor tickets. We rocked the night away, all without a single regret on my part – even after I never worked another shift at the bar and had to struggle for beer and pizza money for the remainder of the school year.

Almost twenty years later, I still remember that night. And I still stop into that bar when I’m back home in Minnesota. Usually it’s to grab a bite to eat before a game. Each time I’m there, I’m thankful I’m not still around like so many familiar faces. I hold no grudge toward them, but instead appreciate their not-so-subtle nudge to get me to go in the right direction.

What is the right direction? Well, it’s realizing it’s a big world out there with a lot more to experience in life, especially when life is that of a college student line cook. The job was fun for a while, but that’s only because, as I mentioned, it provided money for beer and pizza. Other jobs have done that, and quite a bit more, since that time, and none have required me to work on my birthday.

Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek State Park

And so, for this week, while I’m not going anywhere fancy shmancy as in years past, I’m happy life has moved on to bigger and better. By that, I’m not talking about trips to Egypt, China, Hawaii, or anywhere else. I’m talking about a good life with the opportunity to take time off, bum around town, and hang out with my puppy.

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2 Comments on “My First Staycation”

  1. rayh526@msn.com March 18, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Nice reminisce

  2. Traveling Ted (@travelingted) March 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Happy birthday and enjoy your time at home with the pup. It is nice you are based in Colorado, so you have beautiful nearby places to explore.

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