Vacations are essential and a necessity, but do they come at a cost? I love to dream about faraway places. In my mind, the trips are romantic and without worry or stress, but the reality is very different. As much as I love the idea of taking vacations, I rarely do. I have to be forced to go on one. Over the years and it’s probably still true to this day, I think first about the cost before the reward. The problem arises when I am faced with the price of a hotel, flight for the entire family, food, and activities once you get to where you are going. That little detail always derails me from leaving for more than a day or two. When I allowed myself the luxury to go away for any length of time, I have been fortunate enough to vacation with family or friends where the cost was minimal. When that happens, it’s a little harder to resist.
I am reasonably confident when my kids were younger we vacationed just enough so they could experience a fair amount of geography, culture, and history. I know this because both of them have a deep passion for travel anywhere and everywhere to this day. As a family, however, we mostly chose outdoorsy vacations like camping. Funny enough, one daughter still enjoys the outdoors, and the other would prefer a 5-star resort. I enjoy both and feel they each have their endearing qualities.
I am not sure at what point I found it a hassle to go on a vacation that lasted more than a couple of days. Maybe since my kids are grown up and I hate traveling on my own. My mom and I go together, and that’s fun, but there are only so many things she will do with me since extreme adventure is not on her bucket list. Packing also seems to be a hurdle. I absolutely hate it. I’m not sure anyone likes to pack, but I overpack, and just thinking about that task induces stress and frustration. Then there’s the research, planning, and creation of an itinerary. Without at least a little agenda, the trip can be a disaster. Since the nature of my job is to organize and manage multiple things all day long, I don’t want to plan one more thing so I can relax. I am not sure this last thing is the same for anyone else, but I am a creature of habit. I like my workouts, my pillow with its silk pillowcase, and my favorite coffee creamer. I can do without, but I am internally counting the days until I can do and have these things again.
So, those are a few things about a vacation that comes to my mind when considering should I go or not. On the flip side, it is imperative to get away from the everyday stresses of life and turn off your brain. On my last trip, it took more than four days for me to calm down enough so I could relax completely. Of course, it has been years since I took an entire week off from work and teaching. I was almost forced by my boss to take time off. He vacations every month or two, and I don’t vacation enough in his eyes.
The term self-care is such a hot button these days and for a good reason. We push ourselves hard, and while we think we are doing just fine and don’t need to vacation or to take it easy, we do. We need to be self-aware and listen to our bodies. I like to think I do that, but I am bad at resting. I push myself until I crash, and that is not healthy. So while I was on vacation in a beautiful resort, restoring my sanity, I did a lot of soul searching. I realized if I didn’t start taking more frequent time out of the everyday grind for the restoration of my mind, body, and soul, it would cost me more than money. It would cost me my health and that is going against everything I stand for. I needed to see a vacation as something different than an intrusion into my life, a disruption of my routine, or a hit to my savings. I needed to look at time off the same way I do as a health benefit. The cost to me mentally and physically would be much higher if all I did was work and never enjoyed the world around me. That’s not to say, I need to travel far and wide. It just means I need time for myself regularly, away from work, expectations, deadlines, and an alarm clock. I will feel better, refreshed, have more energy, and I bet I won’t even mind packing or making an itinerary.
If you have any tips or suggestions on great getaways, please share them with us. I am currently scheduling for 2020.
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