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Sleeping In and Morning Rides

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Yesterday morning, I attended a tourism industry seminar in Lloyd Center. Rather than driving to work in Oregon City, then back to Portland for the seminar, and back to work within a span of a few hours, I asked to work from home.

I felt the best and most energized I’ve felt on a workday since I began my job nearly a year ago.

I woke up to my body’s alarm clock, around 7am. The sun was just starting to emerge from its own slumber, so there was no need to dress by the light of my iPhone. I calmly and meticulously made an All-the-Citrus-Green Smoothie, ensuring all the pith and rind had been removed from my grapefruits and oranges. I guzzled my beverage as I waited for Dave to check his work meetings before taking the dogs for a morning walk.

Though the weather forecasted unseasonably warm weather and sunshine, fog enveloped the skies, casting a gray haze throughout the city. The air felt cold and wet from the moisture of the fog. There was just enough chill that I wore gloves to warm my perpetually cold hands.

As we walked along Dave’s Morning Walk Route, I noticed the way our neighborhood buzzed with activity. We zigged and zagged to avoid other dog walkers and ease the pulling of our excited dogs over new smells. Cyclists breezed by on their morning commute to work, some toting along their kids on an Xtracycle, heading to school. The neighborhood was alive, a scene I miss when I drive to work in the early morning hours. I might see a few riders and pedestrians out, though most remain asleep in their warm beds.

Upon returning from our walk, I attempted a homemade chai latte while simultaneously cooking oatmeal and getting ready to head to the seminar. Both the oatmeal and almond milk for my chai boiled over, creating a spectacular mess on our stovetop. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my breakfast in a leisurely manner as I ate with Dave at the dining table, while getting a bit of work done. I hardly eat oatmeal these days, as I require speedy breakfasts I can make in a matter of minutes before heading out the door (not that I don’t love my smoothies).

After breakfast, I gathered my gear and headed out the door to the new bike path just blocks from my door that leads to the Eastbank Esplanade. Along the route, I saw countless cyclists and runners, moms pushing their kids in a stroller. I forgave the woman who walked right in front of me to snap a photo of her kids playing on rocks and waved hello to the cormorants drying their wings on a log in the Willamette River.

I arrived at my destination warm and sweaty, as the skies began to make way for the sunshine. I met a new colleague from a hotel partner and gained a better understanding of how the tourism industry functions. I also won a prize that will hopefully help our partners develop more presence when visitors come to Oregon.

After the meeting, I stepped outside to blue skies, hopped on my bike and unhurriedly made my way home, taking the time to enjoy the rarity of the morning and appreciate the day. Once home, I gathered my lunch and departed for the office at my own pace.

When I arrived at work around 1:00pm, I came with energy and enthusiasm, knowing I had a short day behind the desk ahead. I tackled my to-do list, crossing off task after task and sent a slew of emails, a stark contrast to my usual 11-hour days, when I quickly succumb to boredom, pain from standing or sitting, and that desire to go outside.

While I know that I have just a few months left of my work routine, the change of pace on this particular day provided insight into what I need to succeed in my work: enough sleep, morning exercise, and the ability to create my own schedule.

Only three more months.

 

Jen Sotolongo

Jen is the Chief Storyteller and Photographer for the Long Haul Trekkers. Born with the travel bug, she has lived in Spain, Chile, and New Zealand. When she’s not galavanting around the world by bicycle, she is running long distances in the woods, exploring nature, or whipping up delicious vegan meals. She is always planning her next adventure.

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