This time last year I was just about wrapping up a full week in Portland, Oregon. I spent my 26th birthday 2,000 miles away. This year, I’ve decided to take vacation quite a bit closer to home. Starting today, I am out of the office until Monday, Aug. 19 (the day I go back to school). I’m not 100 percent sure where I will be all week, but I am 100 percent sure it won’t be at work.

Actually, today, as many of you are reading this, I am in Columbus with Caesar. We are taking a hike and checking out the many dog friendly places in the area. The only real planning I did for this trip was book a hotel. Other than that, we are just winging it.

I noticed so often I worry about plans and meeting specific time requirements. I also noticed, that often, I need a vacation from my vacation because I feel like I spent the whole time running around trying to do and see as many things as possible. This vacation I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to just wake up each day with no real plans and just enjoy the day.

With that said, my goals for today were hiking with Caesar, sitting in the hot tub at the hotel, and eating some sort of junk food that probably ruined all the work that went into the hike.

Tomorrow, I will wake up in Columbus on my 27th birthday in a down feathered king-sized bed with Caesar. As I make my trip back to Van Wert, I might hike a bit more and grab my free birthday Starbucks. I couldn’t imagine a better way to wake up another year older.

For the rest of the week, I have various ideas of what I’d like to do – go to the Fort Wayne Zoo and take photos, take the mural-tour in downtown Fort Wayne, eat somewhere new, sit in my hammock and read a book, walk Caesar, nap with Jeter, and mostly – take it easy. I’ll also be getting my 22nd tattoo; this one will be of Kermit the Frog. But like I said, the real goal on this vacation is to not feel like I need another vacation when I’m all done.

Isn’t it such a drag to go back to every day life after a vacation where all you did was run, run, run? Prior to setting this vacation week I kept thinking, “Well, how am I going to spend the week?/What am I going to do?” After awhile and thinking back to last year’s exhausting trip, I found that the best answer is, “I’m going to do nothing.” Of course, as you can see I’m not actually going to do nothing, but I’m not going to hold myself to fulfilling a list either. The nice thing about staying home on a vacation is that the things you are thinking about doing and seeing can be done and see even after your vacation is gone.

I think last year when I wrote this column at the end of the week as I was returning from Portland I talked about how I missed Van Wert and I especially missed my dogs. This year, I won’t have to do that. I’ll spend this vacation right in the area so I won’t have to miss anything!