Have you ever felt like this?
“I need a vacation after that vacation!”
“Everyone gets to relax except me (aka mom)!”
“I’ll get excited once we leave. I’m too busy getting ready!”
As I prepare to travel, I vacillate between the excitement and the overwhelm.
The overwhelm comes in when I am…
Trying to plan every detail, and every supply that we might possibly need.
Taking our family’s every single need as my sole responsibility.
Expecting my house to be totally clean when I leave.
Worried my business will suffer while I’m away.
And yet, all of these things are simply outdated myths. They are stories I have internalized about where I derive my value. We’ve been taught that to be valuable is to be productive.
The reality is that we are inherently valuable, and life is to be enjoyed. The reality is that I can’t prepare for everything. Stepping away from everyday life contains more gifts the more I let go – this is true for my children, my marriage, my home and my business.
Do you feel the truth of that in your bones? And yet, it can be challenging to live in opposition to the old myth.
I’d like to offer you four tips that my help you have a better vacation experience. (Travel tips tend to add to my overwhelm, but these are designed to relieve it!)
Allow for unplanned time. Release the need to plan and prepare for every moment of a trip. It’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen anyway. Leaving some spaciousness in your plans will give you greater opportunity to have new experiences, and feel rejuvenated (rather than depleted) when you get home.
Pack light. How many times have you carted around extra items “just in case” that you never used? Give yourself an opportunity to trust that supplies will be available as you need them. Bring a few essentials, and then enjoy the freedom of less luggage!
Experience boredom. Waiting for a plane, train or car? Revel in the opportunity to have nothing to do! Observe the world around you, let your thoughts wander, notice how your body feels, take some nourishing breaths, maybe do some journaling. Our society’s “go, go, go” mentality is quite literally killing us. Why not slow down, and smell the flowers? (This is especially good for kids)
Talk to strangers. I’ll admit this one is still difficult for me, as an introvert and, frankly, as a woman. Yet, when I trust my gut about a stranger, and decide it’s safe to connect, miracles usually occur. This is especially true when I’m visiting a place for the first time. Local people (or even other visitors) may mention an activity or destination that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. They can give directions. And, sometimes, become a new friend!
Follow your heart. If you feel a jolt of excitement to do something you hadn’t planned (or to skip something you had planned), go for it! Life is to be enjoyed. Vacation is not meant to be obligation.
I’d love to hear what you might add to this list, and ways you’d like to experience vacation differently this year. Leave a comment below!
PS: Many families in the world right now are not traveling out of choice. Please join me in support of organizations making sure that refugees have what they need. The International Rescue Committee is one that I support. You can donate here!