Goodbye, Chicago! Gah! What am I doing?!

As you may have gleaned from my most viral blog post, which led to a Tribune article, a WBEZ interview, and a Chicago Magazine mention, leaving my beloved Chicago has been top of mind.

Inquiring Minds, and wow! there are a lot of you — poor Husband has been cornered by “Are you moving?!?!” squealers at every social function he’s been to in the past month — it’s still TBD. As I mentioned to Tony Sarabia on ‘BEZ (what is my life that I just said that phrase?!), I think a boomerang relationship is what I’m leaning towards, where I go away and come back, go away and come back.

Perhaps that’s why, in the past few weeks, plans have been laid for 2015 travel to Norway, Sweden, Nashville, New Orleans, Maine, Georgia, Wisconsin, Seattle, and Vancouver. But the wanderlust doesn’t start till May. Which is not a very Life of Yes℠ way of living.

One of my mantras is to Nike the bejeezus out of life. To just do it. Whatever it is. Now.

To not wait for the perfect time. Cause we all know when that’ll arrive…

I also talk incessantly about quality of life. “One of the best things about self-employment is I can pick up and go whenever I want!”

While I’ve gotten much better at taking advantage of that aspect of my life in the past year’ish, I have yet to be who I’ve yearned to be for a bit now when it comes to travel — Spontaneous Saya. All of my getaways have involved months of spreadsheets and shared Evernote notebooks and crowdsourcing recommendations and scouring for deals.

And while I lead a life of occasional small splurges – a yoga studio that a financial planner would tsk tsk, pedicures, a Whole Foods salad bar lunch – I very rarely espouse “Saya, you work hard, you don’t have debt, you live a responsible life, you’re a rockstar; treat yo’ self, Girl!”

Too much desk-sitting, too much analyzing and re-analyzing, too many Hostess Donettes. Self-care and self-love, two more Life of Yes℠ tenets, are probably the most elusive for me personally.

Which is why two weeks ago I drool-perused Trip Advisor, Travel Zoo, Groupon, and Secrets (oh my god guys, I had no idea places like Secrets existed! I plugged in my preferences and was told my week getaway would cost only $42,000!).

Then I made lists, as I’m wont to do. What I could afford, who cares what I can afford this is a splurge, dates I could getaway, how long I could getaway in between speaking engagements and events, what I wanted in a getaway…

  • Warmth is a given. It’s February in Chicago.
  • If I’m going to go, I’m going to go. I need more than three, four, five days.
  • Preference for a place I’ve never been
  • I’d rather not spend a chunk of time traveling or dealing with jet lag
  • Safe, clean, and quiet

My usual vacations are filled with

  • activity!
  • decision making!
  • Airbnb lodging! (you MUST try it if you haven’t — our fave way to travel)
  • public transportation!
  • wifi!
  • places where you don’t tip!
  • checked bags!
  • companions!
  • friendliness!
  • frugality!
  • meeting new people!
  • street-carts and dive eateries!
  • very little staying at homebase!

This vacation, not so much.

It is off to Mexico I go, for eight days.

By myself.

My lodging will be an all-inclusive, four-star hotel.

I chose it because of its lack of activities, night life, and kids. A reviewer complained about its quiet and spotty Wifi; I was sold.

My transport will be a cab to and from the airport in Chicago and a pre-arranged car to and from the hotel (I realize this is not ‘fancy’ to most, but I’m usually public transit gal both for frugality and for exploration).

My daily decision will be pool or beach.

My daily activity will be pool or beach.

I will not leave the hotel.

I will, guilt-free, leave my towels on the floor and the bed unmade.

I have $100 in singles, all for tipping purposes.

I am taking a tiny roller suitcase and a purse; no checking.

I’ll wear sunglasses, headphones, and a book on my face, and not chat up the person at the adjacent lounge chair or the gal who brings me my turquoise drink.

I’ll rise when the sun wakes me.

I’ll go to bed at 8 or maybe if I’m feeling late-night’ish, 9.

And the most important difference, the thing I have never done on vacation nor at any point in life, the driving force behind Spontaneous Saya, is that I will pen my New York Times best-seller.

The two most common questions I get about Mac & Cheese are 1) When are you bringing ______ to (New York, San Francisco, Bloomington)? and 2) When are you going to write a book? I am ready to answer something other than ‘Someday’ to both of those.

As far as the book goes, after Husband and I’s one-night honeymoon splurge at the Four Seasons Maui, I became convinced that in order to make the “Inspirational!” “One of a kind!” “Oprah’s Book Club!” memoir happen, I had to be selected to their Writer in Residence program, where I would live at the hotel for a month or three, food and lodging covered, writing. I’d even slum it in a mountain-view room and let the love birds and families have the ocean-view suites.

Unfortunately, the Four Seasons Maui does not have a Writer in Residence program and when I suggested said program they did not jump at the chance to have me as the inaugural selectee. I thought I was a shoo in when I was announced as one of the 115 semi-finalists out of over 16,000 applicants for the Amtrak Residency. But then the Four Seasons just politely tweet-smiled and I wasn’t chosen as one of the 24 Amtrak finalists, and I realized I’d have to create my own Residency.

So off I go.

Spontaneous Splurging Self-Care Saya!

There’s a little “What the heck am I doing?!?!” simmering inside. But that’s also Life of Yes℠. Adventure! The unknown! Fear!

I’m glad I didn’t put any pressure on myself to do anything monumental on this getaway.

Now… how does one start a NYT Best-Seller?

Sign up for Secrets so I can get referral credit and maybe, after I accrue enough credit, spend a night there on my 97th birthday!

Sign up for Airbnb so I can go back to Regular Saya travel (if you use this link, you get a first-time user $25 credit)!

Are you a publisher who wants to give me a book advance?

Are you Oprah and want to add me to your book club selection?

Are you the Four Seasons Maui and have decided to welcome me as your inaugural Writer in Residence?

Get in touch, Friends!