After requesting a leave of absence 8 months ago, my company finally let me start it. Today was the first workday since age 12 that I didn't work (other than weekends, holidays, and vacations of course).
What was the first thing I did? I went out and bought a monthly planner/journal. I've never owned one before. After detoxifying for the next few weeks by doing nothing, I want to make sure I don't waste the following months just watching TV. :)
After puttering around outside today during what previously were work hours for me, I must say I'm shocked by the number of working age people who aren't working! I was going to get a cup of coffee at Mercado's Starbucks, but there weren't any parking spaces available at 3 pm!
I have almost nothing planned, I was too busy with work to even think about plans for time off. Most people assume that I will do a lot of travelling, but I've already seen much of the world so I probably won't travel too much. I've already climbed the Great Wall of China, explored the mazes of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, wandered the pyramids of Chichen Itza, swam in the crystal blue waters of Cancun, hiked on glaciers in Alaska, tasted wine in the Tuscany countryside, cruised in the Mediterranean, the Carribean, and in Glacier Bay, gambled (just for fun) in Monte Carlo, learned to drive on the left side of the road and around the roundabouts in UK, searched for a sea monster in Loch Ness, explored the turrets of Edinburgh Castle, dived 1000 ft in a research submarine at the Cayman Islands, scaled the waterfall of Ochos Rios, snorkelled with sea turtles in Hawaii, witnessed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, taken gondola rides in Venice, walked through the ruins of ancient Athens, toured the ruins of Ephesus, driven the length of the picturesque Amalfi coast, watched lightning strikes right outside my penthouse window at the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai, camped in a nomadic tent and rode miniature horses in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, admired Michelangelo's masterpieces in the Vatican and Florence, relaxed on the shores of Lake Como in Bellagio, enjoyed the cherry blossoms of Kyoto during the season of sakura, marvelled at ice sculptures in Harbin, spelunked at the Carlsbad Caverns among 500,000 bats and in the limestone caves of Thailand, hiked the Grand Canyon, been awed by the grandeur of the Forbidden City, hiked in the rainforests of Xi Shuang Ban Na, viewed the 10000 clay warriors of Xian, eaten balitong and claypot specialties at the hawker stands of Penang and Singapore, toured the Louvre in Paris, the MOMA in NYC, the British Museum in London, the Smithsonian in DC, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the Borghese Galleria in Rome, gone clubbing in the nightclubs of Shanghai in my younger years, witnessed a 15 ft long manta ray at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, cormorant fished on the Li River, seen the construction of the Yangtze River Dam, walked along active lava flows on the Big Island, sampled paella in Barcelona, along with dozens of other adventures.
I'm only starting to think about some plans, so far I've committed to climbing Half Dome at Yosemite, visiting friends in Chicago and Memphis, spending some time with relatives in Boston, attending my niece's graduation in San Diego, travelling with my uncle to Grenada, where he used to be a missionary.
I'm sure my months will fill out quickly. A life of golf is not for me.