I am not a vacation inclined person. I just never really got into that habit or tradition. There may be a future story in that but for now just go with me here. I can take down time and shut off the stress in smaller increments. Honesty it’s the way I have done it for so long I just don’t crave the holiday like many others I know. Full disclosure it doesn’t always work, never the less it’s what I know. I have gone on vacation before, a week in Texas, weekends in Toronto, camping or visiting family, the travel bug never dug into me though. A few times employers noticed that I was racking up a ridiculous amount of time owed or vacation pay and frankly there was one incident where it was so lopsided that HR demanded I take some time because it was damn near a civil rights violation, wasn’t on the company though it was on me.
The last few years it has been brought to my attention that I was selfishly depriving my family of memories and my fiancee of her traditional time away. Well…fuck. So in mid August I started beating down the selfish impulse to blow off the suggestion of time away and get comfortable with the idea of not being home and living out of a bag for a few days in a hotel, more specifically a yurt. I’ll wait while you google that term, better yet let me get a tad bit further and I’ll add a link. This Labour Day weekend happened to fall neatly around my fiancees birthday, I had little grounds to deny her wish of a weekend away since last year I set an impossibly high bar with a marriage proposal, so I resigned myself to the trip and did my best to silently battle the revulsion that I get when faced with such a prospect.
We started off on a slight misstep and a side trip to Lillooet to visit my Mom and drop off my daughters, while not ideal we did enjoy the shirt visit and my girls often feel starved for tome with their Nanny, so it was a blessing. Despite Lillooet not being an entertainment hot spot there is one attraction that we love rain or shine Fort Berens winery, this proved to be a crucial component to the rest of our weekend. Jodi at Fort Berens ( http://www.fortberens.ca/ ) was not only delightful and knowledgeable but she took the time to recommend her favourite wineries and a distillery to us in Penticton and write out a list of them for us. Customer service folks, it goes a long way.
Our ultimate destination was Barefoot Beach Resort ( http://www.barefootresort.ca/ ) in Penticton on Skaha lake, we had found a cool little yurt to stay in and though it wasn’t exactly on the beach it was still a lovely temporary abode. kitchenette, bathroom, TV, internet, king size bed, in short my kind of camping. Our first full day was filled with wine, we took a drive up Naramata and checked off many of the suggestions we had been given. We found great vodkas and Blasted Brew a fantastic coffee liqueur at Legend Distillery, good bye Bailey’s we had a good thing but I’ve found something better. We continued through Naramata enjoying the views, various wines and each others company. We were in no hurry and found several vintages to bring home and a few gifts. We topped our drive off by stopping at Tin Whistle Brewery and found more friendly staff more than happy to talk with us for nearly an hour while I casually enjoyed a flight of the brews I had not had before and getting a growler fill of their Peach Cream Ale topped off with about 1/3 Black Widow which is an incredible combination.
I could tell you we then went out and panted the town red and partied like we were 20 again but it would be a lie. It was my wonderful fiancees birthday and we had reservations. My fiancee had found a lovely Greek restaurant to enjoy for her birthday dinner. Then we were told another was better, so we headed there and blew off our reservation. When we arrived we had to agree that with the crowd it must be good, it’s smelled good, the food we saw looked good, this was the place indeed. The 45 minute wait for a table was not going to work for us though and neither was the complete lack of service and rude hostess, so we walked down the block to the original restaurant and found it too was packed, this time we had a reservation and were still 5 minutes early. La Casa Ouzeria ( http://lacasaouzeria.com/ ) delivered in spades. I can honestly say I have never eaten better. Giant portions, mind blowing food and a fantastic staff, if this really was the 2nd best Greek food in town they had the best service and I would love to see the other place try to out do the food, personally I think we got hosed by the recommendation. When our waiter returned to offer us dessert we both nearly passed out at the though of trying to put anything else in our mouths. ” We get that a lot.” he reassured us as we stumbled over each other to decline due to being far too full.
I had to walk back to the truck alone as it was a few blocks away and return to fetch my girl but as I walked back I contemplated this vacation thing. I was feeling relaxed and mellow, I felt I was reconnecting with this woman I am committing my life to, what have I been missing out on? My most exotic vacation was a week in Houston, Texas which I loved but as far as just letting go and being away I was just realizing why people do this on purpose. We would have a few more winery stops and an incredibly fun ATV tour that I will tell you about next week because I could go on forever about it and the near tragedy that preceded it. As I strolled back to the truck alone in the warm and mugged ( it would rain shortly after we returned to our yurt too bloated with dinner to move, our sheer indulgence ruined our beach camp fire before the rain could.
It will take me a few more tries at this to become truly comfortable on vacation but when I step out of my own bullshit I understand that one of my few true axes left to grind with my childhood I am repeating on my kids and future wife. There are a few things I would like to experience still, to do that I must travel and take vacation. So here we are again, I am admitting to you all that I had fun, lots of it and would like to do it more but to do that I have to do the one thing that has kept me below average my whole life, I need to get over my shit which really is why I’m writing in the first place.