There are so many different kinds of vacations! And when I look back at some that my husband, Abe, and I took over the years, I realize how each one was different, each serving a different purpose, each including different people and different experiences, but all satisfying a need for adventure as well as a change from daily activities. All providing wonderful memories of both good and bad experiences!
Some we took were just “tuning out” when we felt the need; a need to just do “nothing.”
And I mean “nothing.”
Books, beach, water, meals, sleep, quiet, boring…until the point when you looked in the mirror and all the tension in your face was smoothed out. When you were ready to go home and start the routine again; refreshed! A time when you weren’t constantly watching the clock, when you were able to say to yourself: ”I just don’t feel like doing that!” or “I would really like to do that!” and then do it! What a luxury!
And then there were the “adventures.” These were travels to “exotic” places; places like Tibet or Papua New Guinea. And there were diverse experiences…like sleeping in a military headquarters or walking out of an airport to the parking lot to discover a nude man getting into his car!!
These vacations allowed us to take “time out,” in a way that some may think would be “boring.” But it was exactly the opposite…it was stimulating! These experiences allowed us to come home with great stories for our kids, friends and family. Often with great pictures that I still look at from time to time and sometimes can’t believe we actually did some of these things! Sitting on a mound of white sand with an Arab guide waiting for the sun to rise…. Or hugging a Maasai chieftain as we were saying “goodbye.”
These experiences – the “adventures” as well as the “nothing” ones — still allowed us to take a much needed time-out.
Finally, there were the wonderful vacations we always took with our children. Of course these now included planned activities: water – oceans, lakes, rivers — museums, sightseeing, and events that gave the children an opportunity to learn something new…. watching them absorb the entire new world around them. And of course laughs, smiles, hugs and kisses and lots of love!
Even while all of the above experiences seem so different from one another, they all provided the kind of respite everyone needs whenever possible. It doesn’t always have to be some expensive trip to an exotic place. It can be a day to a local zoo or beach; it can be to a local park or museum. My parents couldn’t afford exotic trips, but always took me and my sister to concerts in the park in St. Louis and wonderful museums. It is not only a day of refreshment for the parents but a day of sharing and building memories for the whole family.
One wonderful story that I love to tell is the time my husband and I took our two sons to a concert at Wolf Trap, an outdoor venue outside of Washington, DC. It was pouring rain but we were determined to go so I found as many plastic covers as I could find to take with us but finally, when I could find no more, I put my youngest son, age six, in a clear plastic garment bag with the zipper open for him to breathe, (pretty important!) and hear!
Fond and loving memories but also an evening just for us to have fun.