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Mr. Chickadee and I spent the last week in Downeast Maine, with five days of vacation in Acadia National Park prior to a 2-day business meeting. Let me tell you, folks, Maine has totally earned the nickname of “Vacationland.”

Acadia National Park: scenic seascapes surround.

Acadia National Park: scenic seascapes surround.

I haven’t been on vacation like this in a very long time. As in, about 20 years. Sure, we go on vacation, but we’ve never really had the kind of vacation where you take a whole week completely off, play tourist, and actually spend a little money doing fun things and eating out and taking advantage of the LL Bean Factory Store.

It was just lovely – the sort of vacation you wish would never end because you don’t miss a damn thing about home, aside from a few creature comforts. I felt a little guilty because I didn’t even think about our dog (who was playing with other dogs at the “puppy spa”) until the day before we left – that’s how good a time it was!

Here are some highlights from my summer vacation:

Common eider were...common!

Common eiders preening

  • 0 important things lost along the way or forgotten at home
  • 0 hiking injuries – not even a scrape or blister!
  • 0 heart palpitations
  • 0 pages of books read
  • 1 island (Mount Desert)
  • 1 peninsula (Schoodic)
  • 1 postcard, sent to grandma
  • 1 carriage road loop, from Hull’s Cove Visitor Center to Witch Hole
  • 1 small campfire
  • 2 days of rain
  • 2 species of seals, harbor & gray
  • 2 small mountains in one morning
  • 2 servings of super-fresh fried clams
  • 2 lobsters for my last dinner in Maine
  • 2 ice cream cones: sea salt caramel truffle & Grand Marnier
  • 3 mornings up before 5 AM
  • 3 mountains summited
  • 3 crab dishes: crab cakes, crab quiche, crabs benedict
  • 4.5 lobsters eaten by me
  • 5 days of amazing weather
  • 5 hours at sea watching pelagic birds
  • 5 nights in a tent
  • 5 mornings awoken by dawn chorus, which starts well before dawn
  • 6 full days offline
  • 6 cancellations in my Passport to Your National Parks
  • 8 lobsters eaten between us
  • 9 trails hiked together
  • 11 photos of moths perfectly disguised as dead leaves
  • 13 new bird species for my life list
  • 22 hours in the car just to get there and back
  • 321 accumulated email messages
  • 1500 miles total
Undercover outhouse moth

Undercover moth

Despite being thrown off my routines and sleep schedule, and all other disruptions to “stability”, everything was just fine. Anxiety was minimal the whole time, including the potentially stressful business meeting. I got slightly weepy as hormone levels shifted, but for once – perhaps due to the lack of stress and triggers – it was really mild, lasting about an hour. Phew.

On the whole, I felt practically normal. The kind of feeling right in the world that always makes me think, “maybe I’m not really crazy after all”. The kind of feeling balanced and whole that inevitably makes me sad and homesick for a place that isn’t home when it fades away against the buzz and grind of life-as-usual. The kind of feeling contented and relaxed that makes me think I’m doing something seriously wrong with my everyday life if I only get to feel that way when I’m completely and utterly cut off from it.

It was fun while it lasted, but the vacation’s over. Back to work.