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Body, Mind & Spirit: Staycations 

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By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

Although the concept of “staycations” is certainly not new, it was for my husband and me this summer.

For a variety of reasons, it just made sense to vacation from home this year as we continued to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary year. Yes, year… and why not?

Over the  past years, we had always planned those special-occasion getaways around a flight to somewhere. Oftentimes, as was always our intention, to vacation where we could hike, bike, eat great food and meet like-minded people who enjoyed similar adventures. We would embark on the plans that would take us all over this great country that we live in.

We recently were in a life review of sorts, looking through albums from the past 50 years with our grown children and grandkids. We shared the memories of visiting bed-and-breakfasts in Montana where we stayed at “wolf” relocation farms and took long tough walks up the mountainsides with bells on our wrists to forewarn grizzlies of our arrival.

Now, in retrospect, that was pretty adventurous and/or stupid, too. 

We had the opportunities to silently sail across the sky in hot air balloons at dawn and dusk and to then enjoy a pop-up champagne toast and light bite to eat deep in the desert where we descended and awaited the chase vehicle to come find our group to bring us back to safety. Legs up on the benches to avoid an encounter with a scorpion or tarantula was a must.

We can laugh about it now. Probably because we survived.

Perhaps one of the craziest aspects of faith and trust in others while on vacation came when we took an excursion in the Keys to snorkel some three miles out in the Gulf.

First of all, our crew, meaning the boat, was heavily into the six-packs that they were using as a means of “hydration.” Apparently, we had arrived at our destination in the middle of the ocean somehow and were told to jump off the boat ramp and enjoy our snorkeling adventure. 

Call me skeptical, say I’m paranoid, but come on! I could swim, most could not. My husband and I were among this group that had no idea what we were up against. I began snorkeling not far from the boat ramp, maybe 10 minutes in, when I saw the sharks a few feet below the group. I came back up to the surface and shouted that there were sharks below us. Much to my shock and surprise, the group immediately dropped below the surface to get a glimpse.

When they bobbed back up to the surface, we looked back and saw that the ramp to the boat and the boat itself, was getting further and further away from the group. WAIT, I saw this once in a horror flick and it didn’t end well for some, if not most.

We eventually made our way back to the boat where the crew was now singing and dancing to a salsa rhythm. I kid you not.

After maybe 10 minutes they pulled up an anchor and we headed back to the shore. But not before THEY asked… was everyone back on board? Apparently, it was not their job to maintain a head count.

So, no thank you, this year we decided to enjoy a staycation.

We slept in our warm, comfortable beds, ate at great local restaurants, hiked in our woods — even with three active bears hanging around — and enjoyed every blessed moment together.

We had  a great adventure, for our 50th year together, to add to the story.

Pat Larsen is a licensed fitness instructor at The Shamrock House in East Durham, specializing in senior and Baby Boomer health. Contact Pat at 518-275-8686.

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