One of our best vacations last year was a trip to Northern California where Bill and I spent time hiking in the Redwoods, driving along the coast, exploring the wine country, connecting with loved family members, and just being. Ten days of fantastic vacationing.
I recall being at the airport before boarding the plane back to Minneapolis. From my cell phone, I checked in with a few family members back home, and each call eagerly began with the voice on the other end saying, “So, what was the highlight of your trip?” And each time, my mind raced, struggling with a battle inside of what an appropriate response might be…you know, those “should’s.”
I felt like I should respond with: “Being in the presence of those magnificent ancient Redwoods” (which, they were magnificent!) or “Feeling moved to tears as we saw Mount Shasta making its presence known in the horizon” (which really did move me) or “Driving along the rugged California coast and looking out at the ocean” (yes, what a sight!).
But I knew that if I were to give the response that came straight from the depth of my heart and soul, it would be even “bigger” than any of those other canned answers. Simply put, my honest answer to our vacation highlight would be: “Disconnecting from the daily routine of life.”
Ditching the structure
Back home, I love my structure. I thrive well on a plan. I tend to enjoy the routine I have created for myself. But oh, what a whole world can open up to you if you allow yourself to “disconnect” from that once in a while! And vacation is a great way to gently force you to detach from the daily rituals you have created. In fact, when I do disengage from my routines, what I find that I am actually doing—on a higher level—is connecting with myself.
I like to think that I do a pretty good job of all of this, even when I’m caught up in those earthly, daily routines. And I’m good at having fun and following my joy. What I learned from this trip, though, is that life can be even better when we take the time to step back and disconnect, in a sense, so that we may fully “re-connect” once again to our wonderful, magical selves.
While I was fortunate to have a full ten days to experience this, it doesn’t have to be nearly that long! In the summer, a treat for me is to leave my home office for an hour or so at lunch. I sit out on a nearby public patio overlooking a pond with a beautiful fountain, enjoying my salad. And every single time, I feel like I’m on vacation. It does wonders for my spirit!
Give yourself a break
So when you’re planning out your day, week, or month and scheduling in appointments and tasks and “to-do’s”…be sure to also schedule in some time to disconnect from everything. Even if it’s only for a half-hour during the day. And then be open to what you might find there. It’s definitely the perfect prescription for recharging your batteries, getting to know yourself better, and ultimately being more equipped to jump back in and live your life.
What types of “vacations” do you enjoy and when will you plan your next one?