Gliding in with the waves, wading ashore at the pristine beach with my small sling pack carrying all I would need for the day’s lazy adventure. The grass roof of the dining hut signals a respite from the sun when we’re ready to wander that direction. The hammock sure looks inviting hanging near the bar, too!
Okay, back to reality.
Waiting for the ferry, Panama City
Oh, wait… this is real!
Even after the 75-minute ride on the comfy water taxi it’s only 9:30 and I’m ready to kick back and enjoy the beauty and serenity that I can feel as well as see.
The Beach Club – Isla Saboga
The Beach at Isla Saboga
After 4 days of exploring Panama City and the surrounding area with a purpose, we were ready to experience the island the way it was meant to be enjoyed. While some of the more populous islands like Contadora and Isla San Jose are geared to busy vacationers and have ample development to satisfy city dwellers, some of the Islas de Las Perlas, like Isla Saboga, are pretty well left untouched. They may not be virgin territory, but they are left fairly rustic, with little commercialization to spoil the ambiance nature provides.
Coming on a week day was a good decision. Many city dwellers come off shore on their weekends to get away from the hustle and bustle of Panama City. We went midweek and enjoyed relative solitude on this quaint but beautiful beach. We had our choice of lounges, whether by the bar and dining hut, or elsewhere on the beach for more privacy.
When we arrived, I would have described the beach as large and fairly flat; when the tide changed it became more obvious why the bar hut was near the tree line. Eighty to a hundred feet of beach shrunk to about twenty feet of beach front due to the large tide surge in this part of the world.
The balance of the morning was spent in well earned relaxation. We chose not to use some of the amenities included in the cost of this little excursion: kayaks and snorkel gear to be specific. We did manage to hike around a good part of the island between sunning and napping. The few residences and buildings we found nearby were fairly new and well maintained.
One of the largest was a bed and breakfast near the beach hut. It had its own access to another small beach unseen from the beach club. Nifty place for someone wanting their privacy.
We spoke with the owner of El Remanso, the B&B, and they plan user stays around the ferry schedule. When the ferry leaves at around 4:00 pm each day, it doesn’t make sense to have someone check out at noon. Accordingly, early check-ins are not happening on the same day of a departure either.
After our tour of the surrounding area, we returned to the beach club for lunch. It is included in the cost of the excursion from Panama City, along with beer or wine or soft drinks. That’s my kind of deal! And the view was hard to beat.
Ah, the lunch setting
The grilled chicken and fresh vegetables provided for lunch were pretty darned good. And we also had our good luck charm/companion adjacent to the dining area: the reconstructed bones of a baby whale to oversee our fortunes. The locals consider it good luck for his bones to watch out over the ocean. We’ll go with the locals on this one. We sometimes need all the luck we can get!
Baby Whale Bones
At taxi time, about 4:00 pm we ventured back into the surf to take the small dory back to the ferry to return to Panama City. Being well fed, well rested, and well educated on the niceties of Isla Saboga, we felt a little pang of sorrow in leaving the solitude of this quiet island. It’s only one of the more than 200 islands in the archipelago, but it will definitely be remembered!
Or, should I call that trip versus vacation? They’re not always the same; and, sometimes they can actually conflict. I mean, a trip can very well be a vacation if treated like one. A vacation can turn into just a trip if you’re not careful.
Sometimes, all we really want to do is take a trip. We have a purpose. That purpose may not necessarily be relaxing; perhaps it’s work related; it could be a conference or convention; it could be a visit with family (and sometimes that’s work, too).
We go somewhere we either need to go or have always wanted to go, or somewhere we really enjoy already. Or, we go to visit someone we haven’t seen for a while and we hope to perhaps do other things while we’re there. We’ll just squeeze it in!
And we are prepared to do many things, see many sights, and sites. We want to eat at all those places we read or heard about. Then, when we return home, we are bushed. We have exhausted ourselves going and doing and seeing and experiencing. But when, if this was supposed to be a vacation, did we take time to refresh ourselves? Did we do anything that left us feeling rested and refreshed, or was just so much fun that we were excited about the future, at least?
As we have discussed in other places, that is one of the main functions of a Hydeout!
I read, with great interest and a great big smile, a blog post by M. Blazoned on pretty much this same subject. I agree, for the sake of humor especially, with many of that author’s views. In it, she takes aim at almost everything that might not seem to lead to relaxation and calls it a trip rather than a vacation. Of course, her perspective is from the viewpoint of a parent traveling with family, especially kids.
I don’t think, however, that I would go to quite those extremes to NOT call it anything but a trip. A vacation that ends up with me sleeping on a beach is entirely enjoyable. I’ve done that and enjoyed the heck out of it! I’ve done that more than once! But, I think that even a little break now and then can make it a vacation, or even a break from the trip. And that, my friends, is the goal!
My wife and I try to attain that goal on each and every one of our travels. Sometimes we are successful; sometimes not. I could reference our trip to Panama as a trip, for instance. We went there with the express intent to explore the area for possible relocation, future vacations, and to otherwise familiarize ourselves with a new venue. The side excursion to Isla Saboga in the Pearl Islands (Islas de Las Perlas) during that week, though, was definitely the vacation or break portion from our time there. It wasn’t the only fun or relaxing thing we did on that exploratory trip by a long shot, but it was the most hours of relaxation we enjoyed at a single time, so, therefore, memorable. That was surely a Hydeout.
- Anywhere can be a Hydeout. (Hydeout: noun; a place where those of us named Hyde can have fun, relax, chill, party, live comfortably, or even… hide out from the woes of the world. Others are welcome, upon invitation, to join us from time to time; we like to share).
Whether one travels with kids or other relatives or not should not be a qualification for a trip versus a vacation. Oh, it could be; but, it doesn’t have to be. If you can’t have fun with your kids, why do you have them? If you consider them work, or something to get away from most of the time, you need more than a vacation. A babysitter will never be enough. You may need a new attitude and serious counseling.
But, this is not a parenting blog. This is a travel blog; it’s even a vacation blog. This is a golf blog,too ; it is sometimes a food blog. All these are rolled into one, in no particular order!
So, friends, I hope you get some small benefit, at least, from reading about our travels and travails from time to time. I hope you enjoy many travels of your own. And, please, find a way to take your own version of a Hydeout with you, every time.
If we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or comment. Click the appropriate link on the page; get on our mailing list, if you wish. Linda can even assist with travel arrangements. I get to supervise. Okay, that’s a stretch. I get to watch sometimes.
Ciao! Hasta luego. Bon voyage. Aloha!
Okay, just what is this play on the name and the correctly spelled word? It’s not meant to be confusing. It’s not a typo. It is a deliberately spelled (or misspelled) word with a similar meaning, but with specific users in mind.
It’s not too much trouble for anyone who knows our name to pick up on the play on words and the spelling of our name. Perhaps the rest of you, the ones we don’t know, yet, should get a little assist.
The dictionary defines a hideout as a place to safely hide, a sanctuary, a haven.
For our purposes the definition will be:
- Noun: for those of us named Hyde it means a hiding place, shelter, sanctuary, refuge from those things that would threaten us with worry or worse; a place to get away; a haven; a place to relax, chill, party or just think quietly, away from troubles; maybe most importantly, a place to rejuvenate, renew, and redeem one’s sanity and peace.
- Verb: to go to or utilize the function of a haven.
There are many more than one type of Hydeout. My home is one such place, as is my daughter’s house and my son’s apartment, just to name a few. And I have two brothers who both oversee their particular version of a Hydeout. We’ve each used the term to refer to our residence as our major place of security. My home is a fairly permanent location for a Hydeout. But, that does not mean all Hydeouts must be or remain in a single place. They can be quite mobile. More than one place at a time can be called a Hydeout. A Hydeout can even be a state of mind.
Home is where the heart is.
That’s why it is the first place we think of when we think shelter, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It is, of course, also the most natural and logical choice for Hydeout status. We sleep there; we eat there; we kick back and party there. We entertain and play there. And we don’t have to be alone there to maintain that status. We can invite family and friends to join us in our relaxation, or our party or our games. Sharing a Hydeout is a good thing.
Vacations should be a Hydeout.
There is definitely some question whether a journey is a trip or vacation. Some believe if you can’t relax on a vacation, you must be on a trip, instead. That’s not to say there are not moments of relaxation, but the question becomes one of quantity versus quality. How much time are you allowing yourself to let go and how much time are you devoting to being busy, or trying to accomplish your list of “things to do”? Hydeouts, as a form of relaxation, should be a necessary part of any vacation!
I love to Hydeout on the golf course.
Did you see what I did there? Yep. I used it as a verb. When I play golf, I am not thinking of the outside world very much. I am focused on my game, my playing companions, and hopefully, a wonderful venue and great weather.
We should enjoy concentrating on having fun. We should try very hard to not allow outside influences into our heads during a round of golf.
That’s why, for me, this addictive sport, this passionate attempt to attain a higher level of competence, makes it acceptable to call golf a Hydeout. It is a place I enjoy spending a lot of time and energy (not to mention a fair portion of my income) to keep myself sane and ready to take on the more difficult aspects of life.
Others may have another avocation, sport, hobby, or interest that allows them the same respite from stress and worry. And you should use them often. Again, these are necessary Hydeouts.
Head games can be a Hydeout, too.
Sometimes, as a last resort, you and I need to find a place to get away for a while, but it’s not really timely or convenient. It’s time for head games. We need to find someplace internal to escape for a few moments to allow our subconscious to sort out our next step.
Perhaps we daydream. I’ve been known to do that, sometimes to the dismay of others (sorry, honey!) Perhaps we get lost in a game or puzzle for a few minutes. Not only is it great brain exercise, it is a great getaway from worries for a short time because of the concentration required to do it well.
It’s difficult to remember problems when concentration is needed elsewhere. So, yeah, I have been guilty of taking a short mental vacation in order to come back to a challenge refreshed and ready.
And I’d call that a Hydeout.
Now, let’s have a word of caution here. Yes, it’s about computers and cell phones.
We shouldn’t completely eliminate them as a possible Hydeout mechanism, but, let’s face it: hiding behind cell phones can be totally obnoxious if we’re not careful. Of course I have games and puzzles on my smartphone. They are sometimes used for the mini-mental-vacations mentioned above. We do not, however, want to be rude! If we’re with others, using that electronic device to escape being social is not acceptable.
That’s just plain hiding; that is not the same thing as relaxing.
FAR from complicated.
Many psychologists refer to the basic formula necessary for long life, success, happiness and fulfillment as FAR, which stands for food, activity, and rest. If we use those components daily, we should maintain our health, both mentally and physically.
All those things are part of everyday life, and consequently, can be part of a Hydeout.
In our world, though, we sometimes refer to it as ESG, which, of course means: eat, sleep, golf. This is our method for many of our most successful vacations. Eat-Sleep-Golf, repeat daily. See? All the basics are covered!
We’ve listed and talked about some of our Hydeouts. We haven’t covered them all, I’m sure, but we have the idea now. Don’t we?
Whether you use a place, a time, a hobby, or a friend as your own version of a Hydeout is up to you. But, we all need one from time to time. In fact, the more often we visit them, the better we feel, the better we are, and the better we do.
Remember to take your rejuvenation tools with you when you travel, too.
Should we meet on one of our many travels, I look forward to welcoming you to my Hydeout, wherever we may be.