Here is the deal (and I am sure you will agree): We don’t have by far enough vacation time. Especially in the U.S. it is unheard of to take 5-6 weeks off per year (which is the norm in most European countries) to relax, BBQ with your neighbors, hang with your family and friends, read a book in a hammock, and yes to go on wild, thrilling, perspective-refreshing adventures.
Yet, vacation is so vitally important for our happiness, for our physical wellbeing and our mental clarity, and for our deepest, soul-level experience of what it means to be alive in this beautiful world. Vacation also matters a big deal when it comes to delivering our best work possible, loving our jobs, and feeling excited about what we do on a daily basis.
However, we come up (often very creatively) with all sorts of excuses for why we cannot take time off, cannot go on a vacation, or don’t have the time to even plan a little weekend get-away.
If we only applied this creativity to how we CAN get away and how we CAN have lives filled with adventure, love, and excitement, we would be a whole lot happier, don’t you agree?
Well, let’s do that! Let’s get creative. I’ll start and tell you about the last 10 days of my vacation with my boyfriend Raz and the adventures we went on that are now making me sit back at my desk in NYC with a completely re-freshed awareness for how much I freaking love my life and my work.
Trust me when I tell you this: There is nothing that will freshen up your perspective, get you into your body, and catapult you from small, worrying, negative thinking into big-picture, life-loving, positive vibes as fast and efficiently as a solid adventure.
1) Travel somewhere simple.
Last week, Raz and I traveled up to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway and stayed at a little fishermen’s cottage. We were totally removed from everything and the simplicity of the place (think: no TV and barely any other tourists) allowed us to 1) sleep like babies, 2) spend quality time in the quite together without worrying about a thing, and 3) soak up our surroundings without feeling rushed or distracted by other people, traffic, or noise.
Tip: you don’t have to be entertained or talking non-stop to enjoy your time together. Being together in the quite is often a much more bonding and intimate experience.
2) Get into nature!
There is no better way to clear your head than to get outside and use your body. Raz and I went on a different hike everyday and thanks to our rainproof hiking boots were able to follow all the thin slippery trails, jumping over puddles, balancing on wood panels, and climbing over rocks. We had to be focused on where we stepped and all of our senses were tuned in, alert, and present. There was no space for worrying thoughts. We even turned into temporary sheep-herders (see picture).
Tip: the weather doesn’t have to be perfect, warm sunshine for you to get outside and have an awesome time in nature.
3) Be open and spontaneous.
Raz had been talking about going fishing forever but when we tried to book a fishing excursion, we were told that we were a bit too early for the season and that fishing boats weren’t going out regularly yet. The next morning, we were all packed up for another hike when one of the fishermen ran up to us and told us that a boat was going out right then and that we could jump on it if we wanted to. Needless to say, we got on that boat faster than they could count to five. Three hours later we came back to the harbour with our self-caught cod, catfish, and pollock, which we made for lunch and dinner that day. I cannot tell you how good it felt to be in touch with where and how our food ends up on our plate. Food is something that we take for granted in our world all the time, so this was a super novel experience for me
Tip: I didn’t think that I was going to enjoy fishing as much as I did. Being open to new experiences and being willing to try things that you feel resistance to is key in having these awesome, thrilling, and totally unexpected positive moments.
4) Grab a blanket and enjoy wine with someone you love.
Maybe it’s because Raz and I met in Northern California that we love wine, but if you ask me there is rarely anything more romantic than lying on a blanket by a body of water, watching the sunset and toasting with someone you love. Raz and I did just that while enjoying the midnight sun in Norway (no joke- this was at midnight! Crazy, right?!)
Tip: It doesn’t have to take much effort, preparation, or planning to do something special together. All versions of picnics (food or wine) are simple, easy, inexpensive and super fun!
5) Get up high! Literally.
It doesn’t matter if you are in a city or in nature. Getting up and having a view of your surroundings is an amazing reminder for how big life is. Being able to see far into the distance is such a wonderful way to re-focus and understand that your worries and your negative thoughts are tiny compared to the immensity and magnificence of the world. On our last day, before taking the ferry back to the main land, Raz and I climbed a mountain called Reinebringen. The weather had turned super sunny and warm, and we tackled a super steep 1.5 hour uphill climb. We arrived sweaty and with shaky legs to see one of the most magnificent views I have ever seen. At the top of that mountain, I felt so alive and so certain that the universe will take care of me.
Tip: Look into the distance, see how big life really is, and seek out opportunities to remind yourself how small your worries and fears are in comparison to the greater scheme of life. Re-focus on what really matters and give your mind a break.
6) Ask your friends for local tips.
TIP: When going to a new city, try to find someone through your network who knows that city so that you don’t fall for the tourist traps and get to the beautiful, charming, and $ worth spots right away.
But now, over to YOU: What are your favorite ways of seeking adventures? In the comments below, tell us what YOUR tips and tricks for relaxing, changing your perspective and using your time off are?
Then, take out your calendar and plan a vacation, a get-away weekend, a simple day-trip, or an afternoon picnic. I say, go bold, plan it now, pencil it into your planner, and buy that ticket, otherwise it’s so likely not to happen. Trust me, you mind, body and soul need it!
P.S.: Speaking of falling in love with you life… I would love to invite you to my up-coming event “Falling in love with your life- how to set goals for yourself that set you up for success and happiness.” It will be this Thursday, June 13th from 7-8 pm at Fair Folks and a Goat in NYC as part of the SHE Summit Conference, a transformational event for women’s leadership and lifestyle. If you are in NYC, you don’t wanna miss it. It will be filled with tons of revealing and fun information AND personalized exercises. Check it out and get your ticket here.