Growing up, family vacations generally fell into two main categories: beach vacations and Orlando, Florida. For a long time, I thought those were the only kind of vacations people took.
The beach was always my mother’s thing. She loved the sound of long lazy days near the surf and sand, exploring the area here and there, but mainly just “relaxing”. The beach provided the escape she needed from her regular routine, and for me and my brother, it meant extra time with our father, who often worked 60+ hour weeks to provide for his family. There was an imbalance I saw, all the work and the little vacation time to relax.
Blame it on my living in large cities or the fact that I’m my father’s daughter, but I’m doer. I’m always moving, working, trying to create. I don’t want to sit and try to relax for days on end. But more importantly, I don’t want those few days to be the only time to relax.
Relaxation is becoming a daily practice for me. It comes in time at the gym, reading, writing, meditation… When it’s warm, I hike, and whenever I can, I go to the archery range and shoot. (Combining archery and hiking? Now that’s the best.)
Orlando, on the other hand, was the epitome of an exciting vacation when I was a child. The lights, the rides, the constant chaos of people moving about the parks and waiting in queues — it was easy to enjoy it all. As I got older, Orlando became Vegas or Atlantic City (mainly based upon the wishes of ex-boyfriends).
But as time passed, I found myself bored. I didn’t find sitting for hours, pulling the handle of a slot machine, and hoping I strike it big thrilling. And even though I still very much enjoy a good wooden roller coaster, it’s somehow not the same.
Excitement had changed entirely for me.
Vacations changed again. This time, they were more about pampering myself with a massage or eating at an upscale restaurant. I wanted to indulged a little bit, and I wanted to nourish myself a lot.
We all need time away from our daily lives, to see the world again, to see ourselves again, but I’ve used — and seen other people use — vacations as an excuse to nourish ourselves or even just finally take time we need for ourselves. We should’t need an excuse. We should take that time now. Nourish now. Relax now. And find excitement in every day.
I’ve learned that I need to add relaxation, excitement, and nourishment into my daily life, not just “vacation time”. I’m by no means perfect at it. Sometimes a whole week goes by before I realize I’ve spend nearly 12+ hours each day working. But I’m getting better at it and making little steps. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making sure I go to the gym in the morning and trying out a new cafe in the afternoon. But those small things make a signifiant difference in how I feel about my life.
As for vacation time, I’m going to redefine it.
I want to travel and adventure. I want to laugh with strangers in places I’ve never been before. I want to wander streets and lose my way, discover little galleries and restaurants and bakeries. I want the sky at night to be filled with strange stars and spices in the air. I want to fall in love with cities and towns and places that have lost their names.
This is where I feel alive.
So I’ve decided I will never take another vacation. From here on out, I’m taking time for myself every day. From here on out, there’s nothing but adventures and journeys, wherever they should take me.
So what will you do to nourish yourself today? And what adventure will be your next?