I am reposting this as I originally wrote it last year at this time and it is as true today as it was last year. I am going to take a short break from my weekly posts as I head off to a music festival. I suspect when I return I may re-post what I wrote last year when I got back from the festival and discovered I needed a vacation from my vacation.
As I go through life I have experienced numerous approaches to vacation. When I was a child and my family went on vacation I was not involved with the planning, packing or paying. Mostly I sat in the back seat and got bored. Although my parents did subscribe to car sing-a-longs and license plate spotting games. When I moved out of my parent’s home I would still go on vacations with them and had increasing input in the planning, packing and paying.
Vacations with friends and various partners grew as did my income. I find I like to think about going to places almost as much as I like going to them. That is because the thinking, for the most part, doesn’t cost much, doesn’t involve too many annoyances and it can last a lot longer. Some people plan trips for years. Others take off on the spur of the moment. I have done both, although the years of planning have dwindled to months.
Last week I took a one day vacation that I had planned for months. Although, to be truthful it didn’t take a lot of planning. Through a series of mishaps I was awarded a one night stay at a local hotel which I had a year to redeem. A few months ago I took a look at the gift certificate and realized I needed to make a reservation right away. My wife and I looked at our calendars, found a suitable day and last week we took off. One good thing about a local one day vacation is you don’t need to pack a lot or travel a lot. In fact, we decided to take the long way there which brought us in at about 15 minutes. Our trip had not exhausted us, stressed us out or otherwise taken away from the joy of the vacation. One thing I learned long ago is I can worry about forgetting something and double check everything before I go, but once I am out of the door I need to let go of all that and embrace the journey ahead. Whatever I forgot I will deal with when it makes its presence felt. In the meantime I am on vacation.
I have to take a detour here which is often something I like to do on vacation. I am believer that you can’t get lost on vacation because it is all about discovery and exploring new things. Since I am writing about vacation I thought I ought to look up the root and origin of the word itself. Like many common words we all think we know what they mean, but they tend to mean many different things to each of us. I googled “vacation” and came across this amusing and informative post about the Greek and Latin word origins. The author was heading off on a vacation of his own and did a little researching for himself. I encourage you to read his insightful amusing post as it does provide some depth and range to what the word was created to mean. Reading the origins of the word comforted me as it confirmed the get-away nature of vacations. Too often now I find myself and others vacationing and yet still closely connected to our devices so we never fully get away.
For my one day vacation I allowed myself to leave the technology at home, which, initially made me feel less secure. What if something happened? What would I do? I answered that basically the same way millions of people in the centuries before us dealt with this. I would deal with “it,” whatever “it” was when and if “it” happened. That was a liberating thought and completely in line with the essence of what a vacation can offer.
I discovered something on my day away aside from the comforting fact that I could live peacefully without technology for 24 hours. I also discovered that even a day away from the daily life I live is refreshing. It provides some perspective and some good old fashioned “time out.” My five year old daughter captured the essence of this when she said she was “Being as being can be.”
As we head into the summer months I want to encourage you to take some time away from your usual activities and have a bit, even if it is just a little bit, of vacation. Let yourself be as being can be.