This summer I was fortunate to vacation with my family on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In my mind, this was a great vacation because it afforded me the time to reflect, draw my energy inward, and not concern myself with too much external stimuli. In three words: an introvert’s paradise.
Obviously my family and I spent most of the time at the beaches. The Cape Cod Bay was within walking distance to our north and the slamming waves of the Atlantic Ocean were to our south.
One day we would walk less than a quarter of a mile to the Bay, another we would drive to the Atlantic Ocean. In both cases, there was nothing more to do than sit in a beach chair, bake in the sun, and take a dip in the icy water.
Foolishly I tried my hand at body surfing. I caught a great wave and was carried ten or so feet until I hit the sand and tumbled end over end. My kids and wife laughed at me as I was pulling sand out of my hair and swim trunks and spitting more of it from my mouth. A week later my shoulders and stomach are still red from the sandpaper I slid across.
The best part of the vacation was the time I spent reading alongside my daughter, who was engaged in Gone Girl.The rest of the family was down by the ocean body surfing or floating on the surface. Occasionally they’d beckon us to join them, but we’d wave our hands at them indicating we were happy where we were.
My daughter and I nary spoke a word to each other, save for asking the other to hand over a water and PB&J. We didn’t speak often because we didn’t have to. Delving into our books was our way of relaxing and reflecting. Our energy was directed inward and we were unaware of our surrounding. Total bliss.
Other moments I enjoyed were my 45-minute, morning walks. Our rental house was at the end of a dirt road on which our van would bottom out no matter how slow we drove. I saw small animals, like rabbits, turtles, and even one snake on this road.
I also collected branches and twigs for our nighttime fire. More than anything, these walks gave me time to think and enjoy the lack of “noise” I hear on a daily basis at home and work.
On Friday we went into Provincetown to buy Tee-shirts, sweat shirts, and eat Portuguese fried dough. It was Carnival week, so the people were free of inhibitions and walking around in interesting outfits. This was truly a great time to people watch; direct my energy inward.
I couldn’t help but notice that many people were acting in an extraverted way; I was content simply walking with my family. I answered innocent questions from my son like, “Why is that man dressed like a woman?” with the only answer I could muster, “Because he can.”
Every night we built a fire in a small, rusted fire bowl. We talked about the day, laughing at silly moments like my daughter locking the keys in our van–the second time it’s happened to us during out two vacations on the Cape. We enjoyed reflecting on the week and making plans for the remaining days of the vacation. At a determined time I would leave the group and settle down to read in the comfort of the bed, with the fan blowing cool August air on me.
At one point of this glorious vacation my wife told me she received a text from one of our friends who was wondering if we wanted to join them for a get-together with other friends the day we returned from our vacation. The prospect of attending a party that would last long through the night was far from appealing. Maybe and extravert would jump at this opportunity, but the idea alone exhausted me.
Some might consider my family’s vacation boring. That’s fine. I think it was the greatest vacation ever because it gave me time to relax and prepare for the day I would return to work and engage with people in my workshops.