Every mom I know has an escape fantasy.
So many of our vacations are planned with fun in mind—but what we may need is to rest.
Some people wish to drive off to unknown destinations. Others long to go for a hike and never stop, or to head to a beach and drink Mai Tais and watch the sunset, the stars twinkling overhead, and to stay there until the sun rises again. And so on and so forth. I’m sure it’s not just the moms. Anyone who is weighed down by any level of responsibility will feel that urge to be free.
But, what we’re really longing for is a vacation for the soul.
Not all of our vacations are relaxing, particularly when we travel as families. There are still responsibilities. Where will we eat? What will we do? If we go to amusement park, we can expect long lines and overpriced food. Even a fast pass won’t cut out all the annoyances. We may snag a thrill or two in the process to make it worth our time. The same could be said for beach vacations where we deal with the crowds and the sunburn just for a chance in to soak in that salty sea breeze and the sound of the ocean as it kisses our feet and then dances away.
For some, that may sound boring. I’m rarely bored, so a vacation of rest sounds delightful to me, particularly as my mind is often too busy for the luxury of boredom. If we’ve never had a vacation like this, it may be difficult to know where to begin.
First, we need to go back to nature. We’re all consumed with technology—smartphones, television, social media, and a constant influx of images and sound that fill our days. We need to unplug and find ourselves in the natural world again. There are so many options: beaches, mountains, forests, deserts, or any natural setting will do.
We need to make it a mindful trip. It’s not enough to go hike that mountain or sit on that beach. We need to be there. I mean really be there. We need to soak in the experience with all of our senses rather than counting down until we have to go back to work or thinking of all life’s stresses while we’re supposed to be on our soul vacation.
We might need to take it alone. This may be counterintuitive for the more social among us, but we may need to make it a trip for one so we can truly begin an inner journey rather than being distracted by other people. But if we absolutely can’t make it a trip for one, we need to be able to assert what we need with our traveling companions. If we need to take that long walk in silence, enjoying the sounds of nature only, we should declare that before we start. We need to make sure our traveling companions are capable of being there on that soul vacation with us, simpatico in our needs of rest and reconnecting to the world around us.
We need to spend more time being observers of nature than photographers. Don’t get me wrong: I love taking pictures of my trips. But it becomes important that we take the time to put down our cameras and our phones and just notice what’s around us. I did that recently on a trip, and I spotted the furry face of a raccoon scavenging in the dry area around a marsh, its orange, striped tail catching the rays of the sun. I saw wild horses roaming near ruins, and I could see dolphins playing in the waves as our ferry headed back to shore. I even had a seagull come as close to me as it dared on the beach, inspecting me as closely as I was inspecting it. I even had the chance to turn my journal entry into a drawing as we watched each other. It was a moment I might have missed had I not been paying close attention.
When our souls need a vacation, we don’t need to head to the nearest amusement park, although that can be fun for a different time. We don’t need to queue up in lines or stand in crowds. We don’t need noise and more entertainment. What we likely need is a rest. While we can get that rest enjoying a spa day or simply staying home, sometimes what our souls long for is to go back to nature for a little while. To sleep in tents and stay up late counting stars. To hike in the woods and stop for a picnic at a waterfall. To swim in the ocean or paddle a kayak down a river. To just be.
My soul needed a vacation, and I gave it one. I came back more peaceful and content than when I left. Our souls need as much attention and care as our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. We forget that we need to invest in that essential core of ourselves. We get so busy meeting the needs of everyone and everything around us. Sometimes we just need to reconnect with ourselves again.
Sometimes all we need is a soul vacation.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Angel Lebailly
Copy & Social editor: Lieselle Davidson