Staycation is a great way to have exploring the area you live in.
Too often people get bogged down by day to day living routine and never getting out to enjoy the place they live in.
Or they may find themselves doing the same thing day in and day out,
never taking the time to experience something different.
Ditch taking it for granted!
Time for a STAYCATION!
I had a friend visit me for a week in July and it was so much fun doing things I never would have done.
The week was packed with so much that I needed a vacation from staycation!
Here’s of general overview of what we did…
I picked my friend Steve up at the Los Angeles Airport and then went over to the extraordinary Getty Museum for a couple hours to look at artifacts but mostly be in amazement of the stunning architecture and craftsmanship of the museum itself.
Afterward, we headed back to Santa Barbara to relax and have dinner.
We rose early to go on a private tour of the Channel Island Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) rehabilitation center where injured and sick sea lions are brought to be treated and then released back to their home in the ocean.
The center is located in Gaviota, CA but volunteers are called out for rescues from the entire coast of Santa Barbara and Venture county coastlines.
Since I am a volunteer for the non-profit I was able to schedule Steve to have an experience unlike any other. During the tour, Steve got to experience some of what volunteers do seven days a week, 365 days a year; weighing fish to feed to the sea lions, giving medications, and cleaning the pens.
Super fun day!
It was another early morning rise as we prepared to go on whale watching for day. We set out on a boat from the Santa Barbara harbor and soon we came upon what we had been seeking, to witness sea life in their natural unencumbered habit. The day was filled with sightings of hundreds of dolphins, 6 humpback whales, and sea lions.
The cruise also took us to the famous Painted Cave on the Channel Islands.
As we headed back to shore the dispatcher from CIMWI needed a volunteer to assess an injured sea lion at the docks in the harbor. Since we were ten minutes away and was going to be in that same location so I volunteered. Steve had wanted to have an experience of taking part in the rescue of a sea lion and he got his wish. It wasn’t the typical rescue and it turned out to a lot more stressful than expected. I won’t go into details but here’s a snippet.
The sea lion had been bitten by a shark and was struggling, it was in need of rescue.
So, while we waited for the rescue team to arrive we tried to keep boats and people from getting too close. Most of the people we encountered were concerned and respectful.
However, let’s just say, not all people have compassion towards animals or care sea lions are a federal protected species. Please don’t be one of those people, have respect.
After the team arrived and the sea lion was rescued we decided to go for a margarita – it was a long and emotionally stressful rescue so we had three!
Wine country! I am a member of a local winery which offers tours of the winery property. I invited a couple other friends to join us and we set out for the day. Arriving at the tasting room we then hopped into a golf cart with our tour hostesses. This particular winery has a separate building for purchasing food and merchandise and in the back are a variety of farm animals; lamas, pigs, goats, a cow, donkey, and sheep. If you have food for them they’re sure to be your best friend! We then drove around the property to the endless rows of grapes ripening in the sun. Then on to the private lake where we had our wine tasting with snacks.
But no before stopping to visit with George the Camel, who almost ate my face! And the other collection of Clydesdale horses, donkeys, ponies, and A ZEBRA!
After a fun filled day at the winery we drove back to Santa Barbara for dinner.
This day had been planned to be a free day and the following day was scheduled to take a cruise over to and explore the Channel Islands. But since CIMWI was releasing a sea lion back to its home in the ocean, we were able to switch days and be part of the release. This was an unexpected turn of events and Steve was able to experience the full circle of rescue, rehab and the release of sea lions.
We journey 25 miles across the ocean to the Channel Islands with the sea lion in tow, well, not in tow but in a large crate. When we were nearing the islands, the boat stopped and the crate was opened. Nothing happened. The sea lion wouldn’t leave, it took several seconds and she popped her head out then went back in again. I think she finally realized she was free to go and she off she went, followed with a loud cheer from 100+ passengers on the boat. It’s a joyous feeling to witness and know this animal was rescued, rehabbed and survived to be released back to its natural habitat and true home.
Once reached Santa Cruz Island, one of eight of the Channel Islands, we disembarked and proceeded take a hike, while others chose to sit at the cove, snorkel, kayak, or camp overnight.
The first portion of the hike was steep but once we were on top of the island it leveled off and we were able to catch our breath. The hike was beautiful and breathtaking, literally and figuratively. The quiet isolation surrounded by miles and miles of ocean is something I would love to capture and bottle, but since I can’t I will make it a point to revisit.
This was a leisure day, well, sort of. We did some shopping, ate lunch and later I introduced Steve to meet some locals. We drank champagne and ate a lovely array of appetizers, charcuterie, fruits, prepared by one my dear local friends.
Later we checked out the lounge at the local five-star hotel for live music. Unfortunately, the singer had cancelled but we met a fun couple on their vacation from San Diego and talked with them for hours.
Funday Sunday at the Polo match! I am an avid fan of polo and will go every chance I get. We started the afternoon with brunch at a popular restaurant in Montecito. We invited the couple we met the night before and another friend in town from Los Angeles. Delicious food and great company!
We ventured to the Santa Barbara polo field afterwards and cheered on the teams as they battled it out for a finals cup. And as tradition commands, during halftime, we stomped divots while drinking champagne!
And that was my best staycation!
When you’re exhausted after a staycation and find you now need a vacation, you know you’ve made the best of it!
Here’s some tips to plan the best staycation!
Book ahead – treat your staycation like you would a vacation. There are things that need to be booked ahead of time so plan for it. Avoid waiting till the last minute as you don’t want to spend time feeling disappointed because you missed out.
Get out of your comfort zone – think out of the box. Are there things you wouldn’t normally try or do? If so, take a chance and see if you might like it.
Did you ever not want to eat something because you thought you wouldn’t like it, but once you try it, you find you like it. It’s the same with trying out new things to do. Just try it!
Be flexible! Have other options in case something doesn’t work out – like the weather.
Or, like when Steve and I changed days to go to the Channel Islands and were able to partake in the release of the sea lion. Had we not wanted to change the ticket then we would have missed out on a terrific experience.
Options are great to have.
It doesn’t hurt to ask. Without asking, you’ll never know.
Connect with others that may be able to grant you access to events, excursions, tours, etc. -anything that interests you. Take advantage of offerings through credit card companies, memberships, etc. If you volunteer for an organization, does the organization offer any perks?
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