As an adult, I've often reflected upon my childhood and one of my favorite times of the year: Summer Vacation. The feeling that fills your mind and body on that last hour of school before summer break is simply awesome. I don't know when I began longing for that feeling again, but I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it again this year. I took an entire month off from "working" and enjoyed a proper summer vacation at my family's cabin in Montana.
My plan to take a month off began formulating years ago when we'd drive to the cabin for the 4th and only spend a few days before driving back. The trip was never long enough.
I started talking about spending all of July at The Cabin a couple years ago, but never committed to it. My opportunity finally came last December when Julie asked me if she could take the kids to Florida for 3 weeks for Christmas. I quickly realized that, as a kid, 3 weeks in Florida was an awesome opportunity and agreed to give up my time with them. However, I also realized I could get some negotiating power from the agreement and said "only if I can take them to the cabin for 3 weeks next summer".
For regular readers, you know the rest of the story. My Dad flew to Denver for Father's Day Weekend, stayed the following week and then we embarked on our journey to Montana on Monday, June 29th. The first week was great and we had tons of fun during the rest of July. Here's a list of some highlights:
- Running a 5K while Abbie and Jack ran the 1 mile "fun run" with my Mom. It was Abbie's first race and she got 1st place with a time of 11:05.
- Hiking to Holland Falls.
- Picking Huckleberries.
- Greeting my sister after she rode her motorcycle for 13 hours in the rain.
- Spending my birthday at Big Sky Waterslides, something I used to do every year for my birthday.
- Golfing with my family in Columbia Falls.
- Building a set of bunkbeds for the kids.
- Rides on "Rocket" (4 wheeler) with the kids, especially when Jack would say "go as fast as Rocket can go".
- Golfing with my good friend Owen in Seeley Lake.
- Prepping and pouring the floor on the New Cabin.
- Fishing with my Dad in "Joe's Jungle" and installing a new window in the cabin afterward.
- Teaching Abbie and Jack how to shoot a gun (a .22 pistol) for the first time.
- Getting my next gig.
- Traveling to Idaho for Clint and Autumn's Wedding Reception (they got married last December in Costa Rica).
- Seeing Abbie get all googly-eyed over an older boy in Idaho.
- Staying up to watch the sunrise in Idaho.
- Milling D Logs for the kids' Treehouse.
- Making it from The Cabin to Denver in 13 hours with only one speeding ticket.
More than anything, it was great to spend so much time with my parents and children. The Cabin is a very special place to me and I'm proud I can take my city-slicker kids to let them experience the outdoors and live like I did growing up. In the city, they always have an adult nearby and are never left on their own for long. They wear helmets when they ride their bikes in the alley, even though they have training wheels on and couldn't fall over if they tried.
In Montana, the rules all change.
In Montana, the adults worked on the New Cabin and the kids were left to occupy themselves. Their imaginations ran wild and they played with each other for hours every day. They made me see and remember one of my favorite things about childhood - infinite possibilities. As I kid, I was a dreamer and used to think that anything was possible in the world (flying, teleporting, you name it). I'm happy to see that Abbie and Jack believe that anything is possible too.
A week ago, I returned to Denver after driving almost 4000 miles in 30 days. I feel refreshed after so much time off. I've got my goals and ambitions in line for the rest of the year and I'm looking forward to writing more, smiling more and doing great things for my new client. Over the next several months, I'll continue to work with GWT and even have plans to talk at The Rich Web Experience in December. When I travel for work, I'll be in Boston and Cupertino. Hopefully I'll see some of you along the way.
As usual, you can see all my pictures from the past few weeks in my Montana 2009: Weeks 2-4 set on Flickr.