Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vacation Days

Myla Denise in Miami, Florida
I am a firm believer in vacations. In addition to hand-picking climates, experiencing unique cuisines, discovering culture, and meeting new people, they also afford me with the time and space to breathe in beauty. Travel has become my church. It is where I find rejuvenation, peace, joy, and truth. Whether it is sitting on a beach feeling the breeze tickle my skin, witnessing the call to prayer halt an entire city, or hearing wildlife in a jungle where the only sky is a wave of lush green leaves, I find myself more in tune with who I truly am when I strip away what I have become.

On a recent vacation to Miami, Florida, one of my companions asked to get a picture taken during a downpour. Minutes later, I was out crossing Ocean Drive, getting soaked, in my bathing suit, and laughing about it. I would never be on a main thoroughfare in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the rain, in a bathing suit. The thought of it is ridiculous to me, but down in Miami, out of my routine and all that is associated with it, I didn't give it a second thought. I was open and free.

There is a reason why statements like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," are so popular. We feel liberated on vacation because there is a perception of anonymity and because we are in a new place. Removed from our normal settings, all of the roles we play at home fall away. We feel free enough to simply be. We eat what we want, have more drinks than usual, stay up late, sleep longer, and do whatever it is that we feel we can't, shouldn't, or wouldn't even imagine doing at home. While it would not be wise for us to take on the eating, drinking, and sleeping habits we adopt on vacation, we can take some of the freedom, joy, and peace home with us instead of leaving them a plane ride away.

There is something wonderful and peaceful about getting away, but there is beauty in maintaining wonder and peace in your daily life. Discover ways to incorporate that more vivid or more relaxed version of yourself in your everyday. Appreciate the splendor unfolding where you are. You may not walk down the street in your hometown in your bathing suit, but maybe you can take a walk in the rain and let it remind you of the simplistic beauty and peace that exists each day instead of reserving the lifestyle you love only for vacation days.

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