In three days, Sean and I will be leaving the subzero temperatures of Buffalo to bake in the sun of Puerto Rico. This is our first, week-long vacation in a long time and I am so excited for the kind of unplugging that can only happen when you go away for awhile.
Like our trip in October of 2008, we’re staying in a sleepy, surfer town on the West Coast of the island called Rincon. We rent a house on the beach from our friend Sara’s family, and plan on doing a whole lot of nothing.
This weekend I went up to the attic and pulled out warm-weather clothing. I piled them up in the guest room along with books, magazines, and other random things I want to take along. I started thinking about the suitcase I’d bring and whether or not I wanted to check a bag, and suddenly I was faced with my most common travel dilemma: should I bring my laptop?
At first the answer seemed obvious: yes, I should.
My thoughts went like this: I’ll get so much writing done! I’ll be able to upload my photos and videos from the trip while I’m there! And then the questions started forming: But wait, do I want to spend my vacation uploading photos? And what if I find a wifi hotspot and end up with internet access? Don’t I want to unplug? The pro-laptop part of my brain rebelled: What if you get struck with inspiration so huge you have to write 1,000 words immediately? The anti-laptop response: Yeah, right.
And so on.
I’ll save you the rest of the fight with myself and cut to the chase: I’m leaving the laptop at home. I’m going to take a risk that I’ll be able to write what I need to write by hand (didn’t I do this for years?), that I’ll have plenty to do (or not do) in lieu of photo-editing, and that I can use the laptop all I want at home. What I don’t have at home is the quiet, creative, unplugged atmosphere I want out of this vacation. I don’t have a lot of extended time to think or play.
And then I had another idea: instead of my laptop, I’ll bring my watercolors. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a painter. Watercolors are a playful thing for me—a totally indulgent, nothing-but-pleasure activity. And that’s why they are such a triumph over the MacBook.
Above is a silly portrait I did of Sean after he became a lawyer. Like I said, I’m not a painter. Still, it’s a whimsical little picture and I am more than ready to be in the kind of head space in which I cultivate whimsy.