Lessons I’ve Learned: Vacation Edition!
Recently it has hit me how many things I’ve learned about myself and life in general by travelling. Let it be known that enjoying yourself in the company of others on a trip can be done, it just boils down to some very basic ground rules.
1) Why so Serious?
I cannot stress enough how much happier you will be if you can learn to be open to possibilities and stop taking yourself so seriously. This to me has been a lesson I’ve been aware of for many years now, and the apex of which I experienced at the tender age of 19 when I spent a summer of many (MANY) lessons in Nicaragua. For some this comes easier than others but it really is a breakthrough moment on your trip (and life) when you start getting the hang of it. For example: Why am I so miserable/shut off all of the time? Because I take myself and everyone around me too seriously. If everyone actively chose to lighten up in most situations this world would be a much less grumpy place. This becomes especially true on vacation. Things that you deal with and have to get through on your vacation time should not be granted the power to make or break your day/trip/year. Yes we must learn to be patient with others, but really if nothing else learn how to laugh things off (this includes laughing at yourself multiple times a day). It’s going to be a very long and miserable trip for you until you learn this very simple life strategy, besides the worse it is the better the story you’ll get out of it in the end!
2) Forgive and Forget
Oh how these words have followed me all of my life every where I’ve gone. Forgiving and forgetting is the key to a lot of vacation bliss. We’ve all been there, we’ve all found ourselves in a bit more heated of a discussion than originally anticipated and feelings inevitably got hurt. Sometimes feelings got really really hurt. Occasionally you have even found yourself in the shower replaying that heated discussion over again in your mind but this time with all of the exceptionally well worded rebuttals you wish you could have thrown back into your friend/loved one/travel companion’s face. These thoughts should be kept in the shower and never brought out of the shower no matter how much satisfaction you just know you would get if you said what you have been longing to say. Take it from experience, nothing good or blissful comes from rehashing details of a heated discussion hours after the fact with the person you are going to be traveling with for the next some odd days. Do not go there, do not do it. Have a good internal rant (or four..), take a deep breath, muster a lot of courage and forgive and forget. It is no easy feat, but who ever said vacationing was easy?
3) Never miss an opportunity to explore
This lesson brings me back to the month I spent living with my two best friends as roommates on a grade 12 English course in Rome. Every day one of our teachers would give the class the opportunity to accompany him into the city (we lived on the outskirts of Rome for economic reasons and weren’t allowed to go into town unaccompanied) and every day my besties and I slathered on our sun screen, dawned our sun hats, and said yes while every one else in the class sunbathed by the pool. I look back at that month beaming with pride for my 16 year old self. If you want to keep those regrets to a minimum and get the most out of your vacation time never ever miss an opportunity to explore. Yes you may be tired, crampy, hungover etc. but to get the most fulfilling time away you must rise to the occasion and go out and see the sights (even if it’s just one sight per day).
4) Don’t over indulge too much…
You’re on vacation so naturally every meal should be as big as your annual thanksgiving dinner, right? Not quite. Eating absurd amounts of food for ever meal just isn’t sustainable. It’s okay to have lighter fair for dinner one night or to split what you wanted for brunch with another person. Over indulging on vacation has a time and place and that time and place isn’t every single meal. The same is definitely true for alcohol, gelato, and really anything in excess.
5) Divide and Conquer
When travelling in a group sometimes it’s just best to split up in order to get everything on your wish list checked off. This is what I did when traveling with my boyfriend and two girlfriends in Europe last summer. I love art galleries an aggressive amount so when I told the girls I wanted to see four galleries in Vienna’s museumquartier in one day they decided to opt out and I fully understood. They do their thing, I do my thing, we meet up for dinner and life is peachy! Vacation bliss found!
6) Listen to the needs of Others
Listening is so key on vacations it is not even funny. If someone says they need a break, take the break or do what has been stated above and split ways temporarily but listen and respond. Listening is probably the most important ingredient in overall vacation happiness, so implement your best listening skills immediately.