The day job sometimes has its benefits, and on this occasion, it took me down to San Diego for a conference. With friends up the coast in Carlsbad, and time to fill before my flight home to our wonderful wine country airport in Santa Rosa, I decided to squeeze in a few hours of long overdue ‘me’ time.
I’ve been missing the sounds of my fingers lightly clattering across a keyboard of late, meaning I haven’t been able to squeeze in the time to write. Which isn’t a good thing. My life doesn’t flow as well when I’m not writing. Or perhaps the opposite is true, if I don’t have time to write it means that my life is flowing too fast.
So here I am, killing two birds with one stone in a day. I got my ‘me’ time and I got to write about. If you ever find yourself north of San Diego, you might enjoy doing a few of these things.
7.45am – Group Meditation at the Chopra Center, Carlsbad
Since our wonderful meditation retreat with Light Watkins last May (who incidentally just published his first book, Bliss More), I have kept up my twice daily 20 minute meditation practice, albeit mostly solo. Group meditations have a different vibe to them, not least because someone else does the timekeeping which allows you to really get lost in your meditation.
Turns out the lovely Chopra Center, at the gorgeous Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, offers a free group meditation most weekday mornings at 7.45am. Since I was staying just 10 minutes away, I decided to go for it. In a dark, cocoon-like room, four of us + teacher gathered for about 25 minutes of meditation. It was just what I hoped it would be.
9.00am – Hot yoga at Mantra, Carlsbad
With all the horse-riding and Orange Theory recently, I haven’t found as much time for yoga as I would like, or as my mind and body need. It felt really good to do a slow and mindful vinyasa practice at Mantra Yoga and Juice Bar – a clean and good-looking studio, which encourages you to pre-order smoothies for pick-up after class. This practice was the perfect for wringing out the stresses and strains of a busy life. Added bonus: the cute golden retriever in residence.
12.00pm – Pedi in Encinitas
The main street in Encinitas is pretty cute, lined with stores, places to eat and the odd nail salon. It’s been a while since I pampered my feet and it felt pretty good. The place we went to was busy and fine. You may have a more luxurious time at the spa at the La Costa resort.
1.00pm – Lunch at Eve in Encinitas
San Diego and its surrounding coastal areas, are pretty focused on the body beautiful. I guess having residents who live in a bikini or board shorts for most of the year will do that for a place. The good news is that there’s no lack of great fitness studios and healthy places to eat. We went to Eve – a vegan spot that manages to make you forget there’s no meat or dairy on your plate. Big generously-portioned Buddha bowls of brown rice, steamed vegetables and nut dressings ($12) will keep you full for quite a while.
2.52pm – The Coaster back to San Diego Airport
I spend far too much of my life driving. Driving the 40 miles and back, to San Francisco for work. Doing school runs, etc. etc. It felt like a self-indulgence to hop aboard the romantically-named, Coaster train back to San Diego to catch a flight home.
It’s a gorgeous, slightly thrilling ride that takes you within inches of crumbling coastline overlooking the fog-bound rolling waves. You have to wonder how long it will be before the erosion takes over. Nevertheless, it’s $5.50 well spent, and there’s nothing more evocative of yesteryear than the toot of a train horn as it trundles from one pretty coastal town to the next.
The meditation and yoga really changed the course of my day and reminded me that we all need to take a break from our responsibilities and take care of ourselves from time to time. I’d love to hear how you recharge your batteries.