#HottSabbatical

August has arrived, as she always does, somehow both long awaited and utterly out of nowhere. In spite of the heat and the mosquitoes, the smell of steaming garbage lingering over the city, August is always my favorite month. I like the long days and dramatic sunsets - and the dramatic thunderstorms, too, even when they wake me up at 6 AM like they did today. 

August is when we were married and, thanks to Brian's teaching schedule, when we're both able to sneak away on vacation, so to me, the month always feels like romance and grand adventures.  

And August 2017 is shaping up to be a highlight on both fronts - in addition to celebrating our third wedding anniversary on the 16th, I'm celebrating my tenth (10th) (!) work anniversary with my company which is absolutely mindboggling considering I'm pretty sure I just graduated college like, last week. I so vividly remember my first day, I was 22, fresh out of college and living with a friend's parents in a suburb just north of the city. I was so worried about being late, that I took a 7 AM train just in case, and ended up with an hour to kill before I was due at HR. It was pouring rain (just like today!) and muggy as all get-out, and I whiled away the hour at a Starbucks next to the office, ticking through the final countdown until my Real Adult Life began. As soon as I heard I got the job, my mom and I raced to The Limited to revamp my wardrobe with outfits we imagined a Big City Publishing Gal might wear and so on day one I was sporting this chic camel pencil skirt, a short-sleeved black sweater, and pointy toed black pumps because hello, 2007. I would quickly learn that publishing dress code was far less glam than what the television would imply and that may well have been both the first and last time I rocked that pencil skirt. My mom insisted that I wear pantyhose despite the heat and the fact that it was, again, the year 2007 not 1957, because a lady simply can not walk into a professional office with bare legs. I thought it overkill, but wore them anyway. Even 100 miles away on the cusp of my own adult life, I listen to my mother. By the time I got into the city they were soaked through from the rain and the humidity and all of my anxious sweating, so I took them off in the ladies room at the Starbucks and threw them in the trash and now every time I go into that Starbucks, which is often, it's still there, I think of stuffing my stockings in the garbage and it makes me laugh. And they've kept me on for a full decade, so I guess bare legs probably isn't such a drastic offense.

But we should all still listen to our mothers! 

I have one million more thoughts on this milestone in my life, which perhaps I'll share with you someday - I have been writing quite a bit this summer, though I haven't felt ready to post any of it quite yet...asking the age-old proverbial question: if a blogger writes but doesn't share it, does her keyboard make a clicking sound? 

But all of those thoughts will have to wait until at least September, because this girl is going off the grid! 

My company has incredible HR benefits, for which I am deeply grateful, not least of which being their milestone sabbatical program. After ten years on the payroll, all employees are granted a four-week sabbatical in addition to their existing vacation days. It's such a gift and has always felt like this mythical unicorn on the horizon drawing closer year by year and suddenly it's here, it's here, it's HERE.

At 9:05 PM this evening I jet off for a month of adventure!

First, three weeks in the Pacific Northwest with Bri-guy, visiting Seattle, Olympic National Park, Vancouver, and San Juan Island where we will hike, kayak, eat seafood, drink microbrews, and perchance even...relax?! We're pretty skeptical, too, but stranger things have happened!

Then, B flies home for the start of the fall semester (sucka), and I fly to Salt Lake City where I'm meeting up with one of my best best besties smack dab in the middle of a sabbatical trip she is taking from her own (different) company. From SLC we'll truck down for a few days in the Grand Canyon, where we'll be camping (yikes) and then so long as we are not eaten by bears or murdered by serial killers (two things that definitely happen when sleeping in a tent), we venture up to Zion National Park. At Zion we're staying in a "Ranch Resort" which has different lodging options, including tents and cabins and a few cabins kitsched out to look like covered wagons and we are staying in one of the wagons and I just feel like my whole life has been working towards this moment. I don't know if I've ever conveyed this via the blog, but in my youth I was V into the pioneer lifestyle - I dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder for at least one Halloween, spent hours playing Oregon Trail, owned many books about the Donner Party - and sleeping in a covered wagon is pretty much a dream come true for me. 

And now it's happening!

I have been looking forward to this trip for so long, now that it's here I want time to slow to an absolute crawl. I want this August to last forever.

I'm going to attempt to learn to unplug a pinch - I removed Outlook from my phone, I'm deleting Facebook, Twitter, and unsubscribing from all of my newsletters, which asks another age-old proverbial question: if Trump tweets and you ignore it because you're too busy frolicking in a Northwestern rain forest to care...is he still president?

Let's just say no. I'm taking a sabbatical from work and reality.

I won't be going fully off the grid, however, and will continue posting to Instagram, because I enjoy having a place to collect photographic memories and, let's be real, need those likes to survive. @LizHo914, #hottsabbatical. See you there!

Ok, I must hurry off to finish packing and get my nails done because nothing says "outdoorsy" quite like a fresh pedicure. 

I hope you have some August adventures up your sleeves, too. Happy summer!

Xoxo, 

Liz Hott, former high-stress NYC literary publicist, future laid-back Pacific coast oyster farmer