“Instead of wondering when you next vacation is…maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin
If you are reading Part 2, hopefully you read Part 1, if not, go back and start there, or not…totally up to you! So how did I get from dreading my return from my trips just a little over 6 months ago to returning from Savannah just a few days ago with excitement rather than dread? Something happened to me in July 2019, just two weeks after my return from Costa Rica, that made me no longer want to escape my “real life”.
Thursday, July 17, 2019, I lost my job. A job I had given my heart and soul to for 13 years and I felt like life was playing a cruel joke on me. After giving myself the weekend to feel sorry for myself, Sunday night arrived and I knew I needed to have a plan to do something on Monday because it would be the first Monday, I was starting a new week not having to drive to work. I gave myself two choices, I could sit on the computer all day and start scouring LinkedIn and Indeed for jobs, or I could go out into nature, which I knew would probably be better for my soul. Monday came and I started the day with a run, while running I was deciding on which hike I wanted to go on when another idea popped into my head. There was a lake that I had driven by hundreds of times in the 16 years I lived in Colorado. In the summer months I would see kayakers and paddle boarders and I always thought “I would like to do that someday” but I never did, until that day! When I got home from my run I put on my swimsuit, a pair of shorts, threw on a hat and headed out to paddle board.
I arrived at the lake, hopped on the paddle board I rented and paddled all around the lake for about an hour before I stopped in the middle of the lake and laid down on the board looking up at the sky. I stuck one hand behind my head, the other was dangling in the cold lake water and I took a deep breath in, exhaling as I looked up at the clouds thinking of where I could run away to for my next vacation. As I was watching the clouds move suspiciously fast in the sky, I saw a plane. The first thing that popped into my head was Janine Shepard [read my blog “Where is My Plane”]. There it was, there was my plane! No, it wasn’t telling me to be a pilot like Janine Shepard’s calling and it didn’t specifically spell anything out for me that day, but at that moment, I had some clarity. Here I was running away on these vacations and always dreading my return home. I was always looking at when my next vacation was going to be to escape from my “real life”, rather than creating a life I didn’t need to escape from. Here I was, laying on a paddle board on a lake in Colorado on this beautiful sunny July morning and yet I’m daydreaming about where I should travel to? It was at that moment I realized I was right where I needed to be.
“When you return home from a vacation you most likely will have some of the same old issues still there waiting for you, it’s how you choose to react to them that can change…”
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vacationing and will continue to travel for as long as I am capable. I love experiencing new places, seeing new cultures, eating amazing food and having the feeling of no care in the world. But my vacations, in the first year after my separation, were not vacations to relax and grow and appreciate life, I was trying to run and escape reality and it basically made me dread my day-to-day life even more. When you return home from a vacation you most likely will have some of the same old issues still there waiting for you, it’s how you choose to react to them that can change. Unfortunately, I wasn’t considering the valuable things I was learning on my vacations to deal with my everyday life challenges differently, I was choosing to react to the things the same which only made me dread coming home even more.
Consider the most valuable things you learn on vacation, maybe it’s slowing down, or you feel the best after a full 8 hours of sleep, or that you love to read before you go to bed rather than checking your emails. Whatever it is, use that lens to look at your current everyday life.
What are some things about your travels that you love that you could incorporate into your everyday life? Here are just a few ideas:
- Explore places close to you that haven’t been to:
- New restaurants
- New Running/hiking trail
- Museum you’ve never gone to
- Find something you have never done within 30 minutes from your house and do it!
- Try new activities you haven’t tried before:
- Dance class
- Water skiing
- Hoverboard rental
- Buy new sheets
- This was one for me after I just got back from Savannah. The sheets in the Airbnb I stayed in felt like I was sleeping on a cloud! I took a photo of the tag so I could order them!
- Go in to work an hour late:
- Stop and have breakfast on the way in. I know my breakfast used to be eaten in the car on the way to work, but on vacations I usually make the time to sit and enjoy it.
- Drink your coffee at home:
- Wake up a little earlier so you can drink your coffee/tea at home vs. your travel mug, at least the first cup.
- Pamper yourself:
- Get a massage, a facial or something special you treat yourself to on vacation.
- Go swimming:
- Do you usually only swim on vacation? Rent a hotel room somewhere that has a pool! If it’s summer or you live somewhere warm all year round, head out to a lake, creek or anywhere that has water to splash around.
- Change it up for dinner:
- You always do Taco Tuesday or have a set meal plan for the week? Try switching it up!
- And try eating dinner in a different spot: Outside, on the floor like a picnic, the couch (or the table if the couch is usually the go to spot).
- Buy fresh cut flowers
- This always makes me happy! How can you go wrong with flowers (unless you are allergic of course).
- Take the long way:
- Drive to work a different way and take a different way home.
- Cough cough:
- Take a random Tuesday off and play hooky by yourself, your partner and/or kids and try the first bullet!
- Email therapy:
- While you are at work, check your emails only twice today, live dangerously!
- When you are on vacation you usually have an “Out of office” message on. Why can’t you do this on a weekend when you just need “you” time?
- New tunes:
- You get to explore new radio stations when you travel. Change your radio station (at work or in the car).
- Get cozy:
- If you don’t have a robe, I highly suggest getting one that you can lounge in on a Saturday morning with your coffee, maybe listening to some “vacation tunes”.
- Declutter and organize:
- Most hotels or vacation rentals are clutter free, we like that clean fresh feel. Try with a small space, maybe the bathroom. Clean off those counters and maybe spruce it up with some homemade soaps and maybe even have special fluffy towels you use on a random Thursday to change it up.
- Make a list and reflect!
- I love looking at the photos of my trips even a few days after my trip. Not to get sad and wish I was there, but to remember how relaxed or happy I was in that moment and try to remember that positivity.
- List out things you LOVE about returning home from vacation and remember those things on the plane ride or drive home vs. dreading that Monday morning meeting.
- The list goes on. We all vacation different and like different things. What is it that you love about your travels that you could plug into your day-to-day?
Savannah was my first vacation after my new outlook on creating a life I didn’t need to escape from. No longer will I view vacationing as an escape or a break from my “real life”, it’s a part of “my whole life” where I am not running and I will relax, learn, grow, appreciate, challenge myself, smile and laugh. Traveling is very important to me, but for too long I was using it to try to run from my problems or escape the realities of my life. The best part about my trip to Savannah was getting excited to incorporate some of the things I learned and loved on my trip into my everyday life. I’m excited for 2020 to be a year for me that I’m loving my day-to-day so much that although I will still look forward to my next trip, I will look forward to the day-to-day even more.
I wish you all so much peace, self-discovery and adventure in this new and exciting year. Whether that is 50 miles, 500 miles, 1000 miles from home or just 10 feet from your couch. I encourage traveling when you can, as long as you aren’t just trying to run away. As much as I love to travel and I encourage it, because I honestly believe it can teach us so much if done in a healthy way, I also encourage you to keep on creating a life at home that you love so much that you might be a little sad to leave it on your next trip and are so excited to return to it after your vacation ends.
Good Things Are Gonna Come!
Remember, You Got This!
The radio was talking about self-care today. I feel like self-care the word is overused, but the action of doing so is misunderstood. Your blog is timely – I like the ideas in your list of making day-today life more like vacation. I do have a new fluffy robe that I love wearing! Fresh cut flowers make a room instantly seem happier, and fresh clean sheets are the best at bedtime. Looking forward to incorporating some of your suggestions.
I actually agree with you! I think that self-care is extremely important, however it’s a buzz word that is thrown around a lot and sometimes overused. I actually am working on a blog about that! Thank you so much for your feedback and I hope some of the tips help! (And fuzzy robes and flowers are amazing)!
Totally agree with you about taking time to go back and view your photos to remember how you felt during the moment. I actually try and print a photo from each country I visit and hang it at my wall at home. This works as a way to encapsulate my trip and to help me ‘put myself back in my shoes’ in that moment. For example, I have a picture of a sunset over a Thailand ocean which always reminds me how happy nature makes me feel, and to encourage me to take some time to put a pause on my busy life to watch a beautiful sunset.
Hope to try some of your other suggestions too!
I love that you print out photos! Great idea…so many of us just leave them on our phones!