A vacation is generally thought of as a specific trip somewhere, usually for the purpose of recreation, or being a tourist. Many, but not all, consider periodic vacations as definite necessities, seeing how important and valuable it is to take the time...to recharge, relax and release all the worries, to take a break from fretting over the daily problems.
Beyond getting to a happier place, an experience of a vacation might be life-altering, showing you something new about yourself and the world around you. Taking a vacation can sometimes be the trigger that moves your life in a whole new direction.
Expedia, the online travel company, did a world wide study on this topic of vacation deprivation. Whereas in Europe workers are offered up to 30 days vacation, Americans often have only ten days of paid time off per year. Expedia found often many of the possible days off went used. The primary reason for unused vacation time, the data showed, was affordability of course, but others reported they hadn’t schedule the time off far enough in advance, or if they did get away, they were never able to leave work far behind and therefore the vacation was not relaxing or very enjoyable.
When we do go on vacation, visiting other US cities or resort areas is a favorite choice for Americans. Taking a cruise, (until recently thought of as a safe and sure bet) is a popular all-inclusive selection, especially if you like to eat mounds of tasty food available all day and night, and see the sights or shop in the landing ports. The majority of Americans do not explore overseas travel as their vacation destination.
When beginning vacation planning, consider if you might need a romantic getaway, or a visit to a gambling mecca, maybe take the whole family away for fun and bonding. Or, if you are so inclined, you could spend the week at a naturalist camp for a sense of more freedom, or if you are wanting to improve body/mind/spirit, join a yoga retreat or week-long personal growth workshop offered in an enticing venue.
For some, there is the opportunity to take a longer break from the career, such as a sabbatical offered to tenured college teachers. If you have a profession that can be done anywhere, in any city or country, doing the work from a more desirable location, like somewhere hot and sunny in the winter, is an option as well.
As a yoga teacher and writer, I am one of the fortunate ones who can periodically change locales. When I review the many decades of my life, I see every ten years or so I “dropped out” from my usual way of living, and “tuned in” to a very different culture. For now, I am once again immersing myself in the culture of Jamaica, the West Indies land I have called my second home for thirty years. Living here can be a real test of adaptability, and sometimes courage. I see the expansiveness it brings, the stretching and strengthening that comes from moving off my comfort level, while I discover different partS of myself that have lain dormant. I am able to live with a lot less than when I am in my American lifestyle. I find it freeing to be without much of the clutter. No TV, living with a couple of dishes, a pot and a pan used on a two burner propane stove. Preparing meals takes more time and planning, but, really, I have all the time I want to become more creative in the kitchen and in my mind.
In the Caribbean you often hear “soon come”, which means “don’t hold your breath”. The slow, very slow, pace of life is in tune with following the Yogic Way. There is no choice but to be here now, in the moment, and stop pushing in the usual manner to get somewhere, fast. Hurry is simply not a part of the culture.
Having the time and the resources to live as I do, reminds me each day to count my blessings, one by one.
At the top of my daily list of gratitude is, for starters, being alive, having a healthy body, and, for now, living in what some call paradise.