Tag Archive | vacation

Ten Vacation Lessons

We recently experienced our first big away vacation. While we’ve had a lot of stay-cations and a few smaller road trips, for many different reasons we’d not yet experienced the true “road trip” as a family. When I was younger I did a lot of road-tripping on my own and with friends  but as a mom with younger kids, we’ve stayed homebound for many years for many reasons.

  It’s been entirely too long since I’ve laid on a beach or sat in the sun pretending not to have a care in the world. But going far away from home on vacation reminded me of a few things, so I thought I would share them.

  1. I have new respect for the hot-spot. The mobile hot-spot to be more specific. I don’t know who decided that giving phones the ability to share the Internet with multiple devices would be a good idea, but I’d like to give that person a big, fat, sloppy kiss and hug. Having three children who are kept occupied with Internet access is priceless. It sure beats playing “I Spy”, the license plate game, and breaking up endless fights about “who is touching who.” While we still did some of all of that, they were able to occupy themselves for the most part while still interacting and watching the scenery around them when it got interesting.
  2. Travelling with four males is both funny and smelly. I’ll spare you all of the gross details, but if you’ve ever lived with one male, multiply it times four and you’ll understand what I mean. There was a lot of inappropriate joking, bathroom jokes, and multiple inquiries of “Who farted?” 
  3. This brings me to the third thing. After being trapped in a car for twenty hours and sharing a bathroom with all of these males, I’m reminded that I’m thankful that I can’t smell. Anything. Ever. Enough said.
  4. Humidity and bathing suits are not my friend. While my Asian skin loves the sun and soaks it up turning it golden brown, I also sweat profusely from  the top of my head like a man. This has always been embarrassing, incredibly un-ladylike and very unattractive. Gross! I hear Botox cures this which is would be the only reason to consider Botox. After all, I’ve earned my wrinkles but I don’t like literally melting when it’s the least bit humid. And while I’ve somewhat accepted that the days when throwing on a bathing suit didn’t give me complete and utter anxiety, are long gone, I also realize it’s up to me to take some personal responsibility. I can’t just throw in the towel and blame it on age and gravity.  I need to eat better, and work out. Period. No excuses.
  5. The world is really big and it’s my responsibility to teach my kids about its vastness and their place in it. While I don’t ever want to imagine a time that they aren’t near me, I don’t want them to live their lives feeling limited. I want them to feel the amazing, incredible, and endless possibilities of what their young lives can’t yet imagine. I want them to truly feel that the world is their oyster and that they can go anywhere in it and be anything they want to. By exposing them to a bigger world and showing them bigger things, hopefully they’ll understand that. I want them to imagine big things for themselves.  
  6. Going below an 1/8th of a tank of gas when you’re in the mountains and have no idea where you are going, in the middle of a thunderstorm, is going to guarantee a marital spat no matter who you are. Period. Always fill your tank when you have the tank because sometimes taking that risk causes unnecessary stress.
  7. Fun is what you make it! After you’ve nearly run out of gas in the mountains in the middle of a thunderstorm and gotten into a spat with your spouse, making fun of yourself for freaking out during the rest of your vacation is pretty funny. The sooner you can start laughing about it, the better. Truly this is something to remember in life. Attitude is completely a choice in most situations and while being lost in unfamiliar territory sometimes isn’t a choice, how you deal with it most definitely is.  
  8. My children are not perfect. It’s not that I didn’t already know this but when you love them so much, it’s easy to overlook their faults. Seeing them in different situations reminded me that it’s up to me to continue challenging them, encouraging them, and looking for opportunities to help them build their character.
  9. My children are so different from one another, yet so amazing and I can’t wait to see what they will become. Watching them experience new adventures and enjoy life with one hundred percent effort and joy is such a wonderful thing to watch. 
  10. Taking a vacation is good and necessary. It clears out the cobwebs and rests your body. I was reminded of how much I love to swim, even though I haven’t really done it in a very long time (see number four). I’ve been a swimmer since I was a kid, even life guarding for a summer in college, and I love it. Vacation reminded me that I don’t ever want to take a vacation that doesn’t involve swimming again. Lying in a pool in the middle of the mountains does something for the soul that no stay-cation gas ever done. Going away on vacation, unplugging from life for hours at a time, gave me such peace of mind and erased some of the stress from an otherwise tense and frustrated body.   

While I realize that going away isn’t always possible, the act of unplugging, de-stressing, and indulging in your family is priceless. We spent many moments escaping the heavy responsiblities of regular life, laughing at the most random things, and actively “freezing the moment” so we could remember our time together. It’s important to focus on the good moments and not dwell on the bad or the mundane. Thinking about the laughter and the good times in life get us through the more difficult times, until you can get to the good ones again. And time spent together can ultimately bring you closer when you let it.

While none of these are earth-shatteringly new revelations, they have been refreshing reminders. And I will hold onto them until the next time we go away, because there will definitely  be a next time. 

For the health of my mind and body, that is also my choice. 

A Beach Calls…

I need a vacation.

Wait… I NEED a vacation.

No, wait… I NEED a VACATION!!!!!

The last time I went away was to NYC with the crazy, fun women in my family. It was a blast, but it was during a difficult time in my life. My mind was mostly in Manhatten, but never too far from where I was trying to escape. That’s the funny thing about “getting away.” When you’re on a vacation, you never can truly get away from yourself, or the things that plague you. They always seem to find you no matter where you are.

But as life ebbs and flows, and that time has now passed… I realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve had a proper vacation. I need the kind of vacation where I can close my eyes, clear my mind, lie in the sun, and listen to the sound of crashing waves for about six hours. Normally I would be concerned about the fact that I’m even close to being swimsuit-worthy. But I don’t even care about that. I just need some blue sky and some clear water, with zero obligations, even just for a day.

Or two.

It’s been a long time. Too long to have escaped the grind of daily life and adult responsibilities. I watch my children play sometimes and I love how carefree and relaxed they get to be. There is nothing in the world that they need to be concerned about… at least, not yet. I know that they are lucky. A lot of children have adult concerns when they shouldn’t. But children should just be kids-happy and free. They shouldn’t be burdened by the heaviness a lifetime weighs upon us.

I remember the days when I had no one to worry about, but me. They went so fast without me even realizing it. And now I am a grown up with adult problems and responsibilities. I’m a mother, wife, boss, writer, and daughter. Finding the time to clear my mind is difficult because it’s always racing from one role or thought, directly to the next. But that is who I am. I’ve never been able to relax. I’ve always been a high energy, high strung, multiple hat-wearing kind of girl.

As ironic as it may seem, I do find my zen in my family. They are my beach in many ways. They calm and center me almost as much as I imagine the waves of the bluest ocean, would do. They also toss me around like those waves, but I love every wonderful moment of it. I feel so amazingly fortunate to have to have my husband and children. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Their presence gives me purpose and peace.

I also find peace in writing. In telling a story, or blogging, or imagining an idea. I love the entire process of creating something out of nothing. It calms my mind and cleans out the dust in the corners in ways that I don’t understand. But being at peace is one thing, while relaxing completely, is another.

Truth be told, I would love to learn exactly how to relax. My entire life, I’ve never been able to. I know that is what a beach and the sound of crashing waves would do for me right now. I know that I deserve it, I’ve worked hard for it, and I need it. I’ve been hearing a beach call my name for many months now. It’s beckoning me to sit by her blue water, dig my feet into her soft warm sand, and do nothing but breathe.

Breathe.

So, until I get there, I’m going to take a moment every day to imagine the sun on my face. I’m going to imagine that feeling you get after a full day of warm, sweet nothingness. And I’m going to wish myself there, very soon.

Very, very soon.