That Vacation Feeling, Continued

A couple of years ago, I wrote about that lovely and elusive feeing we get when we’re on vacation – that sheer enjoyment that comes with relaxing at the resort or the campground or inn.  It is the simple pleasure of living in the moment in a lovely place; experiencing newness and purposeful refreshment of the body and soul.  I wanted to figure out how to maintain that feeling and… as luck would have it, moved to Hawai‘i.

I know that’s sounds like helluva way to live – everyone would like it, but few can attain such an existence.  Well, I’m certainly not complaining about any part of it.  I do love my life like crazy AND I want to explore all that goes into that right now (as I am in a car, riding from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Knoxville, Tennessee, after already being in South Bend, Indiana and St. Joseph and New Buffalo, Michigan, because that is where I could spend time with family and friends during one of my brief and few visits back to the mainland – my vacations).

For me that “newness” is exciting and awakening.  I am still an adrenaline junkie, loving the rush that comes from stepping into the unknown and reaching for new experiences that push my limits a bit.  I mean seriously, there are a lot of things I dream about doing, but I don’t really want to do any of them over and over again, day in and day out for the rest of my life.

What I find is that the moving and learning everything new, including names and local restaurants, is like being on vacation.  It can be a lot of “work,” but look at what we do on vacations, right?  We set a schedule to go see this, eat there and do that. We have to get souvenirs, get our nails done and try the hike or cruise or pasta that so-and-so recommended, after the walking tour and show.  Unless you go on vacation to do nothing but sleep and read, you’re putting some effort and decisions into it – the same things we do at work.

The difference here may be only that we think of it differently – we think of it all as what we want to do.  Hey, I’m on vacation, I’m going to do what I want… and that means I want to go through great effort to get tickets to the hottest show in town, or I’m going to shop until my ankles swell.

Now, there’s another aspect to all of this I know I’m neglecting here – doing all of the above a significant other, family and/or friends, rather than our co-workers, employees and bosses.   And that is what I’m almost doing now… I say almost because I’m with family and friends, but we’re not going to spas or big shows.

We’re not at the beach, on a boat or on skis.  We’re hanging out.  We’re making dinner, then eating it.  We’re entertaining the kids, going to the grocery store and playing board games at night – and we’re taking a lot of pictures together.

I love seeing these people and I miss actual physical contact with them.  I only get to see them once or twice a year now that I’m living “on vacation.”

It was an ironic twist to I realize that, because I am living in such a vacation place – 5000 miles away from my previous existence – my actual vacations have become frantic jaunts between loved-ones.  And there is no time for anything else.

So, while living in paradise and visiting my beautiful Midwest family and friends, I’m living my vacation, but never taking one.  My relaxation happens on weekends at home and planes and cars on the mainland.  My rejuvenation comes from the knowledge that life is full of choices and these are the ones I have made.



That Vacation Feeling…

You know the feeling I’m talking about.  It’s what lights up your senses and makes everything – rain or shine – better.  Sunscreen and pine needles smell better, sun rises sing, fires dance, that cup of coffee seems to be roasted just for your and shopping has never been better.   It’s that feeling you swear you’re going to keep after you return home.  It’s that feeling that leaves exactly 13 hours after returning home, no matter what.

Is it just about having control of your schedule?  It can’t be.  I’ve been on vacations with packed calendars under someone else’s control.  I’ve worked on vacation, had colds, hangovers, backaches and one really nasty spider bite that required a trip to the clinic, antibiotics and steroids.  I still had the vacation feeling and it still left once I got home… even though the work, cold, hangover, backache and spider bite didn’t go home with me.  What the hell?

It’s not just about new surroundings either.  I’ve traveled on business too many times to believe that.  So… that feeling is more about FEELING than anything else.  Dammit… once again, the responsibility belongs on my shoulders – or rather, between my ears.  It is actually under my control.

Alright, what are the common denominators of the vacation feeling?

Looking and seeing as though what is in front of you is fresh

That’s really it.  Seeing with a vacation perspective is what gives the vacation feeling and seeing the dull, same old work-a-day world from which one escapes removes the feeling.

So… the difference is just perspective.  THAT MEANS I CAN HAVE THE VACATION FEELING ANY TIME I WANT IT!

So, I’m going to experiment with that.  I figure all I have to do, is do things differently.  I’m about to drink a cup of tea before bed, wear my fancy pajamas, sleep on the other side of the bed… maybe I’ll sleep in the guest room tomorrow night.

As for work tomorrow, lets see… I can drive a different route, take two 30 minute breaks instead of an hour lunch and use a different bathroom.

I need something to remind me to look at things differently.  LOOK differently.  SEE differently.

When I’m on vacation, I take time to appreciate my surroundings and circumstances.  That’s what I need to do.  I need to appreciate – to love what is around me.  Should I wear cocoa butter and that silly little ring I bought at the beach two years ago?  Hell yes – it’s worth a shot.

I’m going on vacation right now!!!