Do you think taking a vacation means hopping on a plane or driving somewhere miles away from home? Perhaps turquoise water, fields of wildflowers or foreign languages are the first to come to mind when you think of taking a trip and escaping the nonstop hectic beat of your everyday life. Today, I’d like you to think again.
Yes, traveling is revealing, fun and exciting but the truth is you don’t have to go anywhere to take a vacation – meaning really enjoy life. In fact, if you can learn to take a vacation in your own home, you will enjoy your travels even more. Please understand something, I’m not talking about staycations or ways to budget fun times in your own town. This topic is about truly taking a break from the computer screen, work and stresses that we let dominate our waking hours and appreciating the joys in our lives that are already there.
“I can wait to get out of here” or “I just need to get away” echo regularly (I’m guilty of saying these phrases, especially while trying to survive the harsh Midwest winters). Then at the end of vacation we hear a sigh along with, “It’s time to go home.”
I wonder, when did “home” become such an ugly word? We all know there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, yet carpool lines, business meetings, workouts and housework and the “two ships passing in the night” syndrome with our spouse can leave us longing for a “no worries” ambiance in our heart.
My family loves to travel, and yet this year we’ve settled into a summer groove where we don’t feel the need to pack our bags and get on a plane or drive somewhere. Why? We’ve finally realized that vacation is a mindset, not just a balcony view or temperature change. This doesn’t mean my family isn’t planning our next getaway, but what it does mean is we’ve finally learned how to switch from the daily grind to vacation mode without having to make a hotel reservation. We no longer have a need to “do” anything to trick ourselves into thinking we’re breaking routine.
These last couple of months we’ve been unplugging as much as possible and, with the exception of a couple weekend getaways, we’ve been getting back to the basics: throwing Frisbee in the park, chasing the ice cream truck, working in our first vegetable garden and basically taking on the vacation mindset without leaving the house. I didn’t realize how powerful this “mindset” was until last week when husband took the week off from work. Time stood still. We took a scenic day trip to a small Minnesota town, grilled on our deck and took evening runs and bike rides. My husband claims our week at Flathead Lake Lodge was the epitome of the ideal family vacation, but after last week he admitted this week was a close second as the joy was relaxing and spending time together as a family without any time restraints. We found ourselves not knowing the time or day and we didn’t care. The days were all about family bonding. And that is the real meaning of vacation – no matter where in the world you are.