Getting away: The gifts of a vacation well-spent

 ‘tis the season for travel. Whether it’s a road trip across the country or a long weekend at the cottage, people get away in the summer—and it’s an important thing to do!

Vacation doesn’t have to be about drinking and eating anything and everything or posting the best pictures on Instagram. It can be a chance to hit pause, recharge, and come back to life with some newfound clarity. A break from our routine is just what we need to help us reassess where we’re at and maybe make some changes so that we enjoy our day-to-days a little more.

Last month, I got the chance to head out to British Columbia for a full week. Part of it was spent watching some of my closest friends and my partner competing in Olympic weightlifting. The rest of it was spent in the mountains trying to be as adventurous as a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat can be.

I always find that when I travel, I get reflective. Maybe it’s the opportunity to step away from the daily grind, or perhaps it’s the exposure to new people and new places, but there’s something that makes me take stock of where I’m at and gives me perspective on my life in a bigger sense. Today I’m sharing 5 gifts of getting away, along with questions that I hope guide you to gain some of that perspective yourself—whether you’re at home or in a new land right now.  

1. Nobody knows who you are.  
Going away gives us a chance to be who we want to in the world. We’re not confined by the expectations of the people in our lives at home, and we have space to try something new for ourselves. Who do you want to be in the world?

2. There are no dishes.

Use your spare time not to worry about cutting the grass or cleaning your house, but to read the book that’s been collecting dust or go for the walk you know you should. Many of us come back feeling great after a vacation because we take the time while we’re away to do some of the things we don’t feel like we have time for at home. Maybe you love playing tennis but the only time you get to do it is while you’re on vacation, or you’re a bookworm who spends their time getting sucked into emails and facebook feeds. Use the break from responsibilities to notice what you do when you find yourself with free time. What do you need more of in your life?

3. Homesickness.

By the end of vacation, most people find themselves longing for their own bed. There are things about home that we miss no matter how wonderful a vacation is. Maybe it’s the structure of going to work daily, or maybe it’s the friends and family who aren’t with you on a trip. If you miss it, it’s likely important to you. Remember that. What do you miss when you’re away from it?

4. Rest.

We live in a society that glamorizes and praises those who are busy as can be, and where “rest” seem like a four-letter word. I know I’m guilty of filling every spare hour at home I have with a to-do, and I know I’m not alone when I say I have issues with finding my self-worth in ticking things off my to-do list. But rest is an important part of our lives, and it’s when we’re rested that we can be our best selves and do our best work, ironically enough. Sometimes a vacation is just what we need to remind us of that, and rest doesn’t have to look like lying around. For some, it’s more restful to hike or bike than it is to relax by the pool—but both are great if they work for you. What is your view on rest, and do you incorporate it into your daily life?

5. You are not the centre of the universe.

Whilst on vacation, the world continues on without you. Someone does your work. Buildings do not collapse, and worlds do not fall apart. Sometimes we convince ourselves that everything in our lives is so important that we can drive ourselves crazy with the pressure we put on ourselves. Away from the daily grind, we can often look at our problems from a new perspective, and it’s often one that’s widened. Maybe we see that we should just quit that job, or tell that friend that we’re upset with them. It can be tough to see things as they are when we’re in the thick of our problems, but they’re often much smaller than they seem. What’s going on in your life that could use some perspective?

 

In the comments, I’d love to hear from you! Are you travelling this summer? What are your favourite parts of getting away, and do you feel like you share any of my experiences? Don’t be shy!