The irony of taking a vacation is that sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation. We plan out all the details of our trip so carefully, some us down to the minute, and then when everything’s all over, we wonder, “Where did the time go?” So occupied with trying to fit in all the sights and activities of the few days we have off from school or work, some of us breeze so harried and so quickly through our vacations, it’s as if we never left home at all.
Forget the Daily Planner
On your next trip, take time to enjoy yourself. Literally stop, take your partner by the hand, and enjoy the scenery of your surroundings. Take a leisurely walk down a major thoroughfare without having a particular destination in mind.
During my last visit to downtown Bethesda in Montgomery County, Maryland, I did just that and stumbled upon a great bike shop; a chic, new Mexican eatery; and nice little pottery house where you paint your own wares one day and have them sent to you the next (or you can pick them up). I never would have found these places if I’d outlined my trip hour by hour as I would have done in the past.
The word vacation comes from the Latin root vacatio, which means “freedom from occupation.” That means no one or no thing is inhabiting you or your peace of mind. Let go and reclaim your freedom to just be—in the present, in the moment, in the here and now.
Two a Day
Let’s say your next trip will be to one of the seven major cities of the MidAtlantic region. It could be Philadelphia where the arts and American history scholarship thrive. You could easily plan out a week of activities from breakfast to late-night dinner and still not have seen nearly half of what the city has to offer. Instead, try choosing just two places to visit each day: one for the morning hours and one for the evening. Since trying to see everything all at once leaves you feeling as if you haven’t really seen anything at all, stop trying to cram everything into one trip. Visit just two sites a day and leave yourself in a felicitous mindset, ready to see and experience more the next time you travel.
Remember, the chances of your visiting a place more than once is very likely if you enjoyed yourself thoroughly the first time. For example, think about the last restaurant you went to. If you really enjoyed your experience there, you’ll probably take the initiative to make plans to visit it again. The same is true for your favorite place in the MidAtlantic. Go into your next vacation here with the understanding that this trip doesn’t have to be your last.
If you really love New York, you’ll see it again. If you enjoyed the DC Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll make time to make new memories for the upcoming year. If you love skiing in West Virginia, you’ll hit the slopes again.
Keep these ideas in mind as you enjoy your next trip.