Thanks to some contacts our daughter has in the sailing world Charlene and I are coming out of retirement for one of our funnest trips.
In our last article Squeezing Maximum Value Out of Your Hotel Points – Part 2 I describe how Sara, one of our daughters, got us an opportunity to Chef for the U.S. Youth Sailing World Champion Team.
After a leisurely 4 day drive from Port St. Lucie to Corpus we arrived in Corpus where the U.S. Youth Sailing Team had rented a six bedroom house for the sailing coaches and Charlene and I to stay at. The set up was simple we were hired to feed the athletes and coaches a very healthy snack in the late afternoon and a healthy dinner.
Enough about the work side of this deal. I want to talk about the pure fun of being able to pour your energy into an entirely different discipline and environment.
First, the job was challenging, each day we were cooking “healthy” for 25 to 30 people. We were using parts of our brains I didn’t even know we had. How much food? What food? Where to get the food? How to prepare the food? Like the elephant balancing on a ball it took skills we were not using every day.
All this was new to us. Don’t get me wrong, Charlene is an amazing Chef and has cooked for 25 to 30 people hundreds of times but you probably shouldn’t base dinners for Olympic athletes around a deep fat frier and pound cake.
Our first day was June 30th which we spent writing recipes and purchasing food. As we zoomed around Corpus looking for what we needed our WAZE app took a beating.
Around 4:00 in the afternoon we were back at the house after about six hours of playing hunter gatherer. A few minutes after we got to the house and were putting our days work away when we got our first chance to meet some of the coaches and athletes. What an amazing group of people: fun, happy, energetic, and full of life. Just being around young people who were filled with so much energy and joy was making this “work” vacation a fun treat.
The basic set up was we would Chef for 5 days, July 1 thru July 6 during a team training session, take a week off and return to chef from the 13th of July till the 21st for the actual Youth Sailing World Championships. All of the athletes are 16 to 19 years old and many of them have just graduated high school. When you are over 60 a bunch of energetic well behaved young people are a breath of fresh air.
Some times the best trips are not marked by the things you do or the places you see but the people you encounter and the people part of this “work” vacation, we both knew, was going to create a lot of joy for us.
For our first five days, during the training session, the work has been hard the hours long and filled with challenges. We would have traveled 5000 miles for this vacation!
Charlene and I and a few of the coaches are all that are left at the house as I am composing this article. I’m trying to put into words what the whirl wind of this little adventure has been. I know adventure sounds a little bit much. After all, we we’re just cooking for 5 days! But, adventures are about learning new things and about leaning new aspects about yourself. So, this was an adventure.
We got up for 5 days at 6:00 in the morning and we were done cooking and cleaning by 10:00 in the evening. “Long hours,” you might say, but at home were up by 6:00 and usually quit binge watching Grays Anatomy around 11:00. The difference is for 16 hours we were doing something constructive
I dont wax philosophic (to grow philosophical) very often, but today I got a full nights sleep and I’m ready to wax. Whether you are walking down to a YMCA or travel to Tibet surrounding yourself with new people, new experiences and new challenges is a route to happiness. This last 5 days has been hard on our lazy old souls, but that said, we wouldn’t trade this experience or change it in any way.
In a week we will be back and those long hours and constant little challenges cause by our new environment will be waiting for us. This 5 day trip was full of new people, new experiences and new challenges but it felt good, really good.
So Geezers, don’t miss the chances to try new things. Jump into the middle of those opportunities when they present themselves and always think twice when some one says “would you like to”.
As the song goes, “when was the last time you did some thing for the first time?”
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