Ever since J recommended the book The Power of Habit, I started noticing my personal habits – particularly the habits that creep up while on vacation. During our December trip to San Diego, I noticed the following:
My need to consume more than three meals per day, including an unusually high number of fried, salty food, caffeine, and alcohol. “But when’s the next time I’ll EVER come back to this restaurant again? We have to order the bacon-wrapped corndogs and bacon ice cream sandwich.”
Over-planning my day so that my brain and body gives out by the end of it
Never factoring in driving, parking, or traffic time in between destinations.
Being grumpy when unexpected things happen during my picture-perfect vacation – like traffic. And rain. And only having one blazer when I should have brought a coat.
My desire for escapism. And disappointment when reality hits me again.
Of course, I don’t think I’m the only person who experiences such things. It made me curious to see why I would expect certain things to occur only on vacation and daily habits (such as working out, eating right) tend to drop to the side. Why do our behaviors and expectations change so dramatically when we’re on vacation? Comedian Jim Gaffigan refers to this as a false sense of entitlement when we are on vacation, that we feel we deserve to spoil ourselves silly in fancy hotel rooms, come to expect the free little chocolates on our pillows, and blow money on nice restaurants all day long. “How about we eat first then go get something to eat after?” he says.
And eat a lot…we did.
After we arrived at the modern Hotel Indigo, we drove into San Diego’s popular Gaslamp District to have dinner at Cafe Sevilla. From the large intricate glass chandelier to the vintage European poster collage to the hanging bull heads, it was like being transported to a surreal version of Spain. The live guitarist band, crowds, and delicious tapas of ceviche, potatoes bravas, and shrimp ajillo brought back wonderful memories of our honeymoon.
Since we had a rental car, we also drove into the Los Angeles Little Tokyo area to have lunch at our favorite Japanese ramen joint Daikokuya. Unfortunately about 50 other people had the same idea, which prompted a nearly two hour wait for the exceedingly popular, tiny restaurant. However, as soon as we were seated at the counter area and the large bowls of steaming, creamy broth and fresh noodles were set in front of us, we hungrily dove in and proclaimed that it was just as good as we had remembered back in our college days.
My best friend and her husband drove from the LA area to stay with us for a day in San Diego. We see each other about once or twice a year, so it was a treat to spend a full day and a half exploring the city’s eats, sights, and nightlife together with our husbands. We had brunch at the Cottage Inn in La Jolla, where we clinked tangerine mimosa glasses and I savored my polenta eggs benedict. We strolled around Balboa Park and chatted about our new jobs, our current favorite TV shows, and comparing life with a dog to life with a baby – all with the backdrop of the massive, gorgeous museum architecture.
We crammed our evening with a delicious melt-in-your-mouth sushi dinner at Hane Sushi, shared an incredibly moist passionfruit cake and ultra-sweet salted caramel ice cream at Extraordinary Desserts, a bottle of Pinot Noir at the hidden and lively Vyn de Syrah lounge, and ended the night with greasy, hot slices of pizza.
That next day before my friends left, we had a lunch at Craft and Commerce – a cool gastropub that had no problem serving strong daytime cocktails, bacon wrapped spicy corn dog appetizers, and bacon bits in an ice cream sandwich. It was one of the best meals I recalled on the trip. And it also curbed my hunger for a long, long time.
We spent the next few days of our trip on Coronado Island, where we stayed at the luxurious Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This was a good idea, since we could retreat from the hectic pace of driving through downtown San Diego and freeway traffic. The mornings and afternoons rejuvenating. Strolling through the expansive hotel lobby and quietly sitting by the large window panes or poolside cabana to read felt like a treat I don’t normally indulge in while traveling.
I also loved stepping outside to view the waterfront and look across at the city skyline, as if I could wave across to downtown San Diego like a friend standing off in the distance. During my quiet mornings, I finished reading The Power of Habit, and I had some fresh ideas for what I wanted to work on developing in 2013. I wasn’t ready for my winter break to end, but I was more than ready to go back home.