Working for a start-up company in the bustling city of San Francisco has its greatest challenges, learning opportunities and pleasures. As they say, you are creating your own destiny. In the same vain my team is paving the way to launch a product that could change the landscape of capacity building in nonprofit organizations around the world. While firing all my cylinders all week along invariably means I need to recharge myself at some point. Making a change in the world as well as living up to my values are the hybrid technology that fuels within me to run my engine on a daily basis. Just like a hybrid car my inner engine runs on two folds. I am known for my exuberance and energy that I bring to work every morning. No coffee would bring myself to powerhouse the energy that I prime through my daily interactions at workplace, on the train or a good a hearty conversation with an old friend.
Lately I have been feeling boxed at work overseeing multiple projects. The feeling of some recalibration for my weekends was something that I have been failing to achieve lately. One fine Saturday morning, I decided to travel outside the city or step out of my comfort zone, the city. It is not out of boredom of seeing the beautiful San Francisco skyline nor the panoramic glimpses you get to see every day to and from my work but something inner was calling me to nature. I was drawn to this intimate escapade that is totally unplanned. Spontaneity had the better of me, together with two other friends hastily made plans to do a road trip as an answer to a prayer. We hopped into the SUV setting the google map destination as Napa Valley.
Napa Valley is the home to the world’s finest vineyards and California wine located in Northern California, about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco. After a 50 minutes drive on highway 29, we arrived in the city of Napa. The center of the town is chiseled by fine victorian architecture showcasing the grandeur still living to date. A little drive around the town under a fine Mediterranean weather is just what my skin wanted. Parched from the heat and walking several blocks, our first stop was the Oxbow market well known for local produce. It was a packed house with tourists and locals waiting to have a decent meal. The fresh aroma of coffee, wine and seafood made waiting in the line for our turn an eternity. We enjoyed a meal of a good American roadside burger with a hot cup of coffee to go. Resuming back our journey from the city of napa, we were heading towards the town of St. Helena.
Our next stop was the V. Sattui winery that has been in the market for well over 125 years. We took the most scenic route of Silverado trail to get there. Along the way, we passed some of the most beautiful sceneries I have seen in my life. From valleys to beautiful houses, passing through lakes, crossing over bridges were all part of the journey but one sole sighting remained unchanged, that is the fields of vineyards in the distance. After 25 minutes of enjoying a little bit of heaven, we arrived at V. Sattui winery. It is as majestic as it can look with pompous and elegance showcasing the pride of the godfathers of California wine business. The place was inundated with people clad in fine summer dresses and jewelry.
This was my first time in a winery. Coming from a tea producing country tasting wine was a new experience altogether but I could see the similarities in wine testing and the tea tasting. I signed up for the wine tasting and almost felt embarrassed when I realized how seasoned the wine tasters were just looking at the people around me. I am a novice for this adventure I am just about to take. Putting aside my lack of confidence, I went with the moment. The trick is to taste wine l need to fill the mouth about ½ full and subtle swish the wine around. Moving the wine in your mouth release its aroma and coat your mouth. I managed to sip few genres of wine from Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose. That was a quite a binge drinking in a short span.
Having captivated by the whole experience, my friends wanted to visit another winery as we were stepping each other foot or having to say sorry each time. The place resembled a flea market on a Sunday with so many souls. We were told Robert Mondavi Winery is a fine place that would allow us with access and mobility. Ooops, we repeated the same experience but this time with no crowds.
After a long day in the field walking, talking and posing for pictures in different landscapes, it was time to head back to the base. Napa is undoubtedly a little heaven on earth. The sceneries were exquisite. The locals were super friendly and the topography was one of a kind. fresh air with a bit of moisture and summer heat was all I wanted. The unique memory of Napa is the smell of wine in the air. The more you traveled in the neighborhood one could inhale the earthly and heavenly feeling of Napa.
The weekend was an energizer around good company, fond memories, and wine. My main take away from this visit was that unfortunately, we are in an age that we push ourselves so much to hit our weekly targets. We constantly challenge the breakeven point so that we never fail to meet the targets. We have forgotten to live the lyrics of the song by Terry Jack “we had joy, we had fun ,we had seasons in the sun”. Stretching yourself to do things is one thing but stretching your body and mind for relaxation is something. Come Monday morning, I realized there is much clarity and energy by simply taking a break, letting your mind drift away to experience the unforeseen whilst remaining cognizant of your tasks week ahead. If I could offer you one tip for the future, it would be to “Recuperate”. This is a form of meditation in its own right.