Thinking about some of my first trips, the ones I paid for on my own, it feels like I went places just because I could. I took a trip to Walt Disney World because I had a job and the money to fund it. I drove to Boston to visit family and because I had the freedom of a license and a car of my own. I’m sure I went on plenty of other trips with friends; road trips, day trips and overnights as well. The worst part is, I barely remember any of them.
Disney trips tend to have a stronger memory bank for me. I had been with my family when I was seventeen, when the Disney magic worked on me for the first time. There are some fun memories of me commanding my family around the parks since I had read every guidebook available from the library prior to our trip. The why of this trip remains - our family had been through some tough times and Disney marked the end of them. It was also a first for all of us, and we all experienced that in different ways.
I look at the trips and travel I go on now. Sure, there are some I take just to get away for a day or two. But even then, there is a reason for the trip. The “why” is the break. I need time to myself, a break from reality, responsibility or both. The reason, or “why” for the trip tends to help me remember more. I get more out of the excursion, no matter how long I am traveling. Having a reason for travel also helps me be more mindful on the trip. How many times have you gone somewhere with the intention to relax and refresh, only to find yourself returning more tired than you left in the first place? Same here.
One of our most intentional trips was last January. Jake and I had some more time to ourselves after a rough year. We were overwhelmed from the pandemic, taking care of the boys, and buying and moving into a new home. It was eating at us! One of our friends recommended a weekend trip, just to get away and spend time together. No big plans, just to get away from the house and all responsibilities. It sounded like a great plan, so we booked a Quality Inn in Williams, Arizona and took off for the weekend.
I was surprised at how much there was to do there! It’s right on Route 66, and there are tons of shops and restaurants along the road. Believe me, I wanted to do it all. Then I remembered the “why”. My intention was to spend time with Jake, reconnect and relax.
Let me preface; this year I have changed to become a morning person with a morning routine. This trip was going to be difficult to not go-go-go, especially since it was our first actual vacation during this pandemic year. I forced myself to laze around in bed every morning. We would eventually get going and grab breakfast, walk around town and check out the little shops and then find somewhere to grab lunch. One morning we did get up early, because Jake wanted to take me to Bearizona, a drive through wildlife preserve. It was worth getting up early for that, especially to see wolves waking up and howling. I still love the video and sound of that. Then another night we spent a slow dinner at the Grand Canyon Brewery and Distillery.
This trip felt so different. We enjoyed our time together and didn’t rush around at all. Relaxing in the hotel was a priority, we took plenty of naps. The kind of nap that you don’t set an alarm for because there’s no huge reason to get up. We tried a few restaurants on a whim, but brought tons of snacks and drinks for the room. I ran outside at night a few times just because I was excited to experience temperatures below thirty degrees again. Jake even stopped alongside the road to let me go and play in the snow that had fallen. Something I had not done since I lived in New York - almost ten years ago!
So when you think about your next trip - be it a day trip or a weeklong excursion - think about why you are headed out. If you are going out to relax and rejuvenate, make sure it happens! By any means, try not to over-extend yourself. Vacation by definition is an ‘extended period of leisure and recreation’, not a reason to run yourself ragged. Find your “why”, your intention for the trip and let it guide you. Find places and even restaurants that support the reason for the trip, and especially don’t forget to enjoy and have fun!
Until next time, what is an intention you could set for your next vacation and how can you support that?