I graduated from college on a Saturday, and I started working on Monday nine days later.
For three years, I was never off work for more than two days at a time. The first exception to that came when I was laid off, and was off work for about a week between jobs. It wasn’t exactly a relaxing time, however.
For many many reasons, I ended up working for an entire decade before I took a week’s vacation for the first time. It wasn’t the most spectacular vacation ever — while the stars were aligned to take the time off for the first time, the money was more of an issue.
In fact, we didn’t even spend the entire week in one place. We started in Mississippi, came back to Alabama for my brother’s graduation, and then went back elsewhere in Mississippi for a wedding.
Those first few days, though, were spent in a cabin in a state park in Mississippi. There was a beautiful lake and a walking trail, and very little else for miles. One night a friend came up with his telescope, and I’d never seen the stars the way I did in the amazingly clear sky overhead that night. For a little extra adventure, I drove around the state, to old stomping grounds and to places that I’d driven past a million times without ever making the time to stop. For most of the time, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, and that was great, because we basically did as little as possible.
Since that time, I’ve been on much more elaborate vacations, like the trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon, or the week spent at Disney while the space shuttle didn’t launch. I’ve been on work trips that have compared favorably to vacations because I was getting to do fun things in a fun place.
But that first week off, and particularly those first few days of it, will always hold a special place in my heart.