Growing up, my family always went on a summer vacation. It seems like we hit most states, as I remember many great vacations, including trips to Florida, California, Canada, Wisconsin and New York. And to think that my Dad made all of those plans without the benefit of the Internet, and we got to where we were going without a GPS app!
Since we have been married, almost every year, Tammy and I have been blessed to take a week’s vacation with her sisters and their families. We’ve seen the “kids” (nieces and nephews) grow up, get married and start families of their own. Each year we start having discussions about the next year’s vacation destination around the holidays. Talking about where everyone wants to go is great fun. Over the years we’ve enjoyed great family vacations at Hilton Head Island, the Ozarks, the Hamptons, Door County, Wisconsin, Breckinridge, Colorado, Maine, St. Simons Island, and other locations. We recently enjoyed a Disney vacation with ten adults and seven children ages seven and under. A vacation is a great way to get rested so that you can return to your callings with new energy and a fresh passion. Many are looking forward to their first vacation in a few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully you and your family will enjoy some time together away from work this summer, be it a trip to a favorite or new destination, or a “stay-cation”. Here are a few suggestions for your vacation:
- Strengthen relationships. These days, some of the family members that go on vacation with us live far away, and we only see them a few times a year. Use the time you have together on vacation to get caught up and strengthen those relationships. I know as I get older, relationships become more and more important. Enjoy doing some incredible things and seeing beautiful sites, but be intentional about strengthening relationships as well.
- Don’t check work email. If you are constantly checking on what is going on back in the office, you are not going to relax and get in “vacation mode”. It will probably take you a few days to totally relax anyway. It used to take my brother-in-law about half the week to do so. I was always fortunate to have leaders on my team who would manage my email while I was out of the office. They took care of things so that I could get up and running quickly when I returned to the office. If you don’t have that option, identify a backup or two, and then put an “Out of Office” message with that information on your computer and phone.
- Enjoy the outdoors. If you take a trip, enjoy the beach, the pool, a hike, biking or just walking. If you stay home, enjoy reading out on the patio, listening to the birds and watching a beautiful sunset. Either way, enjoy God’s wonderful creation.
- Read good books. One of my favorite things in preparing for a vacation is to decide what my “vacation books” will be. Years ago, that meant packing several books in our suitcase, while today it just means adding them to my Kindle. I know not everyone is a reader, but if you are, a vacation is a great time to get caught up on that book you’ve been wanting to read and just not had the time.
- Consider unplugging, or at least cutting back, from social media. Why not take a break from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok during your vacation? This will give you more time to be with those you are on vacation with. I know most of us want to post photos of the great fun we’re having on Instagram or Facebook, but why not be intentional about trying to at least cut back? Maybe even disconnect from screens (phone, TV, computer) altogether? Where we go in the Ozarks you can only get 3 TV stations and one wireless provider, but you can see the Milky Way and enjoy the chorus of crickets in the evening.
These are a few of my suggestions for making the most of your summer vacation this year. What other thoughts do you have?