The Importance of Vacations

Here in this country we don’t seem to take the time for the all-important vacation. Only 57% of Americans take advantage of vacation time (in France 90% take their allotted 30 days!). It’s the same thing: we’re too busy or money is tight or when I retire I’ll travel and do all of that. Why not live your life now? This is my year of yes and I’m not letting anything stop me from experiencing anything that I want to do. But your lifestyle enables you to do that- is what I here. Life is what you make it, if you don’t like something change it, if you want something go after it don’t just talk about. You don’t have to travel with your family (solo trips are fun too) or spend a lot of money (I am queen of having fun on a limited budget or free even. It doesn’t even have to be a whole weeks’ vacation, it can be a weekend or even just a day. I decided I wanted to take off and give zorbing a try, so what did I do? Got a group together (so we could split the cost of gas), jumped in a van the next day that I had off went zorbing- had an amazing adventure- and came back the same night (still on time to go out with my friends). Like I said solo is just as great, though. Earlier this year I felt the urge (which is also a theme, if there is something that I want to do or someplace that is calling my name, I’m just going to GO or DO it, not second guess myself and think of reasons not to go, but follow my instincts and intention to keep on my path) to go to California. Yosemite Park and the outdoors where calling my name. I told my parents I only needed 2 days off because I really felt like I needed to make this trip. So two weeks later I bordered a plane with my backpack (scant on clothes and only 4 dozen eggs for fuel), flew to San Fransisco, took a train and hitch hiked my way to the park to sleep in a single tent and sleeping bag in the snow and hike 30 miles in 2 days before returning to San Fransisco and flying back to Indiana. I was completely by myself, but it was one of the best experiences of my life and am so thankful that I went with my gut. I not only learned a lot about myself, but I was able to implement my new mind-set and to break down all kinds of walls and boundaries that I had set for myself, in addition to challenging physically and mentally (sleeping in that cold weather was tough and I did get lonely sometimes, but those are all things you have to deal with). I didn’t have an itinerary, I just merely meandered around. This is where I think that most people miss the mark, they spend most of the time leading up to the vacation planning and timing their whole vacation, expecting a certain experience that doesn’t allow for any spontaneity. Then once they get there they try to follow this itinerary to the tee, breezing from landmark to landmark, not really embracing the experience or what they’re witnessing. In Yosemite so many people visited the Lower Yosemite falls because its easy to visit and one of the must see. They take their photos before heading out to their cars and going to the next must-see attraction. Not only (in this scenario) do they miss the appreciation for all that nature has to offer, but they miss the journey and the challenge of what the park has to offer. My favorite parts were off the beaten path where I could meet and say hello to people from all over the world, giving them words of encouragement and sharing stories. Pushing myself through the rugged terrain. Vacations are an opportunity. They’re a chance to see new places, to meet new people, to try new activities. The studies show the more off the grid the better. My phone didn’t work the whole time I was in the park and it was the most freeing thing not to have to it attached to me. To be completely cut off, dependant on myself and rediscovering myself, so that I was able to come away recentered. Family vacations are great as well. Our family is leaving Thursday for Colorado (hence the inspiration for today’s post). My family has always tried to go on vacations together (last year we went to Florida and my extended family loves to travel as well, for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago we went on an Alaskan cruise). This gives you an opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones. Sure sometimes it may seem like your family drives you crazy, but again your experiences are what you make them. If you focus on them driving you nuts, then that’s what you’ll take away. If you stay in a state of appreciation, you’ll be in awe that you are so fortunate to have such a family, that loves each other and is able to spend time together. The experience is increased if you stay in a mindset of appreciation and try to radiate love and kindness. Do I have an itinerary for this vacation? Nope, I just show up in the car and go. I don’t want to anticipate what will happen, just let it BE and enjoy the company. We don’t have to do anything special or spend a lot of money. We’re sharing all the expenses for gas and lodging. We’ll purchase food there (hopefully we’ll find a nice market in Denver). We can do activities like hiking (things that you don’t have to spend money on, but that can be just as awarding as spending out cash on some extravagant excursion, where you don’t get to do it together). Studies on vacations are promising too! They have positive effects on the heart, sleep, reaction time, stress; and increases in happiness and mood. So what are you waiting for? Drop the excuses (all these do are show fear and prevent you from living your life), go by yourself or with friends and family, go somewhere within your budget; go for a week, for a weekend, for a day; just get out and do something LIVE your life NOW. (check back the next couple weeks for healthy vacation advice) Love, Inspire, Live Brittany

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