I’m sitting on my balcony watching the ocean waves lap up on miles of sandy beach. Seagulls swoop down looking for tonight’s dinner. Joggers run past in shorts and swimsuits. Kids splash in the aqua pool below.
Little over a week ago, I was traipsing through a city draped in a wintry white blizzard. Tree branches in Riverside Park were heavy with snow. Broadway was empty of traffic, reminiscent of early on in the pandemic.
February in New York is frigid and messy. So, what did I do? I traded my snow boots for flip flops, and my desk-side view of the brick building next door for a scene of year-round summer. It’s what I’ll be enjoying for the next month.
My husband and I got tired of being housebound; spending 24/7 in our small Manhattan apartment. Like so many, we saw few people. Had nowhere to go. Spent a lot of time baking bread and getting creative with what was inside our freezer and pantry. Having endless Zoom meetings and binging “Bridgerton” and “Ozark” on Netflix. The daily excitement was getting the mail. Every day was eat, work, sleep, repeat.
For a change of pace, we decided to do all of that somewhere warm during the coldest month of the year.
We’re still working from home (WFH), but now, the “H” stands for “Hotel.” And our home has temporarily moved south to Broward County, FL, where we can work in the sun and eat outside without layering up.
We’re on a month-long “workcation,” sometimes called a “workoliday” - a working vacation that blends business and leisure. Now that so many of us have left offsite office spaces for remote work or become digital nomads, it may be a trend that’s here to stay. Thankfully, technology makes it easier than ever.
And you don’t have to be rich to get out of town. Current flight and hotel deals make it much more affordable for everyday New Yorkers to escape.
Now instead of rousing to the workers noisily repointing my Upper West Side building, I awaken to the sunrise over the Atlantic. The pink cotton candy skies are a much more cheerful way to start the day.
Every morning, I head downstairs to grab breakfast (did I mention that I’m not cooking for a whole month!) and sit outside in the warmth to contemplate nature. Instead of pigeons and rats, I see seagulls and iguanas.
Though I have to admit, it is hard to be productive when the temps are in the 80s and it’s sunny and tropical all the time. It doesn’t get old. Either does an early morning swim or a late-night hot tub.
Although many New Yorkers think you shouldn’t travel during this time, we took all precautions. We double-masked, wiped down our plane seats and tray tables and kept our overhead filtration fans on. We quarantined for several days upon arrival.
There was no testing or COVID-related questions on either end of the trip. No one took our temps when we got on the plane. No one asked where we had come from or if we were in contact with anyone who had COVID. But the airports are pretty empty with people wearing masks and staying apart (mostly).
Here at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Deerfield Beach, they take COVID cleanliness seriously. When we arrived, our room had a seal on it, letting us know that nobody had entered once it was cleaned. Housekeeping only comes when you request it. Staff members and guests wear masks. Even at happy hour, people line up for free drinks approximately six feet apart.
My packing was different, too. No going-out outfits (cause, really, where is there to go?). Instead of jewelry and heels, I brought a variety of masks to color-coordinate with my swimsuits and athleisure. I also packed a supply of Clorox wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer.
Lying on an almost deserted beach, I momentarily wonder why I suffer the cold winters in New York. But then I shake myself and remember how much I love my city. Once again soon (I hope) I’ll be able to go to the theater, visit friends, pop into a world-class museum, eat at a restaurant any time of the day or night, and freely ride the subway without fear of catching a deadly disease.
As Arnold says in the Terminator movies: “I’ll be back!”