My husband and I have been planning a spring vacation since the fall. Ever since our last trip to Hawaii this past summer, we can’t wait to return to the sparkling ocean, warm sand and flowery breezes. We love Hawaii.
I often hear vacations referred to as “getaways,” but I wouldn’t call our family vacations that. What exactly would we be getting away from? Sure, we’re away from our home town, our own house, and the routines, work, and familiar people and places that come with being home. But we still have ourselves, our relationships with each other, our minds and their continuous babble, our dreams and fears, what we crave and what we resist.
Rather than a getaway, I see vacation as life under a magnifying glass. Whatever issues we are somehow able to skirt, ignore or not notice in the busyness of life at home, become very obvious. No more hiding. At home we may not see each other for more than a few minutes here and there while sharing a meal. On vacation, we’re together, in a small condo, almost the entire day and night, for 10 days. It’s like a hothouse. We’re being pressure cooked and all our buttons are exposed and raw.
The discomfort usually starts during the packing process. We’re all a bit frazzled, hurrying around, chasing the perfect exodus. And we’re all in each others way. We’re eager to get out of here, to be in Hawaii (or wherever our “getaway” will be).
And then, after much shuffling and sighing, laughing and complaining, we arrive at our destination. We have gotten away, and feel a sense of relief, a lot of gratitude, and a bit of anxiousness about doing everything we’d like to do while we’re “getting away.”
Truly, it’s hilarious.
Vacation isn’t a vacation from life, or from yourself. It’s you and your life in a different, perhaps more interesting, warm and relaxing place. I’m certainly not complaining: I love our family vacations, and Hawaii is one of my favorite places on the planet. I’m grateful for our focused time together and the opportunities we have to forgive, laugh and play together. Traveling allows us to experience ourselves differently. It can certainly open up our creativity and inspire us in new ways. But we are still who we are. And our “stuff” comes with us.
Wherever we go, there we are! As long as we’re not expecting to get away from ourselves, vacation is awesome!