About Erin

Deputy Editor, Southern Living Magazine. Digital and social media girl who learned everything with a pen and a reporter's notebook. Mom. Florida native celebrating all things kitsch, accidental Birminghamian. Is probably getting back from somewhere or heading somewhere. Knows: Elvis, journalism, pop culture, Southern artisans and emerging neighborhoods, vintage clothes, pugs, Yacht Rock. 

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What To Learn From The Gulf Coast? How To Let Go (A Little)

Back from a quick trip to the beach as ... a civilian. I love traveling for work, but no one ever wants to hear this -- it's still work. I know, I know, poor travel writer, must be hard eating all those charcuterie plates and walking along cobblestone main streets. (It actually can be. But that's another story.)

So it's nice to travel just for fun, without wondering where my notebook is or what the state of email is back at the office. OK, I really just did the former during our trip to the beach, because of an important project back at work. 

But I only checked email about twice a day. And threw myself in headlong, squeezing every bit of sunshine I could out of it. When the clouds rolled in, I kept going (of course not in lightning), watching Nate splash in the pool with his new friend Lawton. 

Nate was swimming so beautifully, without asking for a kickboard or a noodle. And he effortlessly learned the whole snack bar trick, too. "Just say your parents' name!" Good one, kid. 

Despite the drops that were starting to fall, he convinced me to accompany him and his new friend (and new friend's dad) to the beach to work on kickboarding skills. 

Sure we could. So Nate and Lawton, with matching kickboards, learned to catch waves as the Gulf spat them out at us.


The air was getting cool and the water warm. So despite the waves that made us wobbly I kept going. I'm more comfortable in the water of the Gulf than just about anywhere, and I want my son to be too. I shiver on the land but turn into a fish in the water. The great equalizer, the place we're all from. The place I know I'm from, having grown up all wrinkly and tanned in this Gulf. 

I propped Nate up on his board and watched him ride the waves to shore. We talked about the right place to catch the wave, how it has to be the perfect spot, and fumbled a lot of times. I was proud that he kept getting up, a child who was still unsure of the water a few weeks ago. 


The current kept pushing him away from the point where we started. "Come on back, buddy," I urged.  "Mommy, I know how to do this. I don't need you to tell me what to do. I know how to do this!" Um, OK.

He must have seen me look a little sad. "I don't mean all the time. Just now." 

Oh, OK. I let go a little. 

When the rains rolled in for real this time, we thanked Lawton and rode back to the house. I did not check email that night. 

We will return in a few weeks. I've promised: this time, no emails. Letting go. 


How have you learned how to let go on vacation? What place inspires this? Related Links:

Back To The Gulf/What I Learned at Santa Rosa

Reader Comments (3)

I'm trying! At Grayton Beach right now for a week and am trying (key word) to keep my email-checking to a minimum and my reading to a maximum!
July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCamels & Chocolate
It's hard, right! The book reading helps. Enjoy every minute of it and visit Red Bar for me!
July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin
I'm a planner by nature, often having everything planned out of what I want to do. It looks like y'all had a good time on the Gulf Coast...I really need to make it there SOON! I've let go by starting to be more adventurous on vacation--letting the scene and not my Excel sheet (yes I have one) lead me ;-) I am good about ignoring the emails on vacay though!
July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShermika

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