It sure would be great to get a bit more sleep…
C’mon, you’ll regret it if you don’t go. You know you will.
I now call it the “Haleakala Debate”, that early-morning debate that rages in your head until the very last minute on the morning that you have the chance to do something really cool at the expense of a bit more sleep.
I experienced this recently at the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) 2017 in Milwaukee, WI. There were a lot of pre- and post-conference tour options, and because I was short on time, I signed up for the one that fit my schedule; 6:00 AM yoga at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) on Day 1. Even as I was enrolling, I wasn’t sure if I would go. The practicalities of 6:00 AM yoga were clear, stretching and mental focus before a non-stop day of conference sessions and networking. Additionally, despite several trips to Milwaukee, I had never been to the Milwaukee Art Museum. But the start time…
We were to meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00 AM. Right up until 5:30, I was still undecided. I finally told myself, “C’mon all you have to do it get up, put on some clothes, make coffee, – thank goodness for in-room coffee makers – and walk downstairs”. As I stumbled to the elevator and down to the lobby, the lights seemed so bright for my still sleepy brain. Every sound was magnified in the early morning quiet. I arrived at the lobby and stood dazed in the middle of the room, vaguely squinting toward a small group of women who looked like they might be up for the same reason as I was.
Eventually other women trickled into the area. I was one of 55 conference attendees who got up early for yoga. I was impressed. During the bus ride to MAM, I perked up and started talking to my seat mate. Mid-sentence, something caught my eye as the bus turned into the museum. It was the sun rising over Lake Michigan. If I didn’t know better, I would think I was at an isolated cabin by a lake. The view was undisturbed by buildings or anything else on land. Just the sun, rising and reflecting off the gently rippling lake that was grey in the early morning light. The sun lit up the sky in tandem with its rising.
The yoga space was equally breathtaking; a wide expanse of marble floors with windows on three sides that reached to the ceiling in a large alcove-like area. The acoustics in the early morning quiet were especially effective, so we started the session with several deep “Ohm’s”.
As we worked our way through the poses, my body and mind woke up. I kept my eye on the sun rising as I moved through cobra and admired the high patterned ceiling from triangle pose. After the session, my mind and body were energized, and ready for Conference Day 1.
I still retain in my mind’s eye, the sunlight filtering through the windows, lighting our space for yoga.
The “Haleakala Debate” goes back much further than WITS 2017 last month. In the early 2000s, I went to Maui with two girlfriends. As is the case with vacations with adventurous friends, we wanted to do everything. In our effort to jam in as much as possible, we scheduled the “Road to Hana” drive and the sunrise volcano bike ride down Mt. Haleakala on back-to-back days.
This was a fine idea until we realized that the Road to Hana drive would take much longer than we thought. We got back to our hotel room at midnight. When the alarm went off three hours later for the bike ride, neither of us was in a hurry to get up. It was almost identical to the thoughts that ran through my head in Milwaukee, only it was a real conversation.
Do you want to go? Yes? Really? Yes. Ok. We really need to get up. Just a few more minutes…
And back and forth it went, each of us hoping that the other would be the one to bag out so we could get more sleep. Eventually we roused ourselves out of bed and made our way to hotel lobby for pick up. We had found the bike rental company in a guide book, and the owner was an utter curmudgeon. His tone when talking about the bike ride, tourists, and the sunrise was cynical and bitter. But, his bike rental deal was the best.
We got real bikes (not the bikes with the gears removed that prevented top speed) and a map of places to explore around the base of volcano after our descent. The sunrise was beautiful, and cold (we were above the clouds) but the parts I remember most vividly were after the descent; riding in the Hawaiian countryside (me struggling to keep up with my friend who was in much better shape), stopping for breakfast at a roadside place that could have easily been mistaken for a shack, being so hungry (and a bit crabby) that I had a breakfast appetizer of a giant piece of carrot cake, a brick o’ carrot cake really. It was so big, but I was so hungry, that I wouldn’t share. I remember riding out to the pineapple winery and then calling the curmudgeon for a ride back to our hotel. We were poolside by 2:00 pm that afternoon.
While I will probably always debate whether to get up early for any activity starting with “sunrise” or “6:00 AM”, these excursions have shown me that I shouldn’t ever turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.