Awww…that feeling you have when you just can’t wait for your vacation. Everything that leads up to it can leave you in a high state of excitement. Awww….vacation!

I am lucky/unlucky to have a daughter, and her family, reside in Australia. Lisa has been there 20-plus years — most of her adult life. The lucky part is that Australia is a beautiful place to visit and share adventures with them. The unlucky part is that it is more than 8,500 miles away — miles that typically include three to four flights, long layovers and more than 30 hours total travel time.

Most people think that going on the trip is the fun part, right? For me, I might argue that the planning and anticipation can be just as much fun. Often times, vacation happiness comes from what is referred to as “vacation anticipation.” It’s just as it sounds — the excitement of actually going on the trip.

As I reflect on my latest adventure to Australia, I began to compare all those travel tidbits to life in general.

Don’t pack too much. Keep things in life (and suitcases that have weight restrictions) light.

Give yourself breathing room in your schedule. All work and no play might make you old and gray. Where can you find the time to just breathe? Slow down and observe life. Layovers in airports are a great place to people watch and share in others travel adventure energy. Where else can you people watch — the benches on Main Street, The Hub, Kendrick Park?

Go with the flow. Easier said than done for sure! Identify what we do and do not have control over. I shared my last adventure to Australia with our 13-year-old grandson and 11-year-old granddaughter. We arrived at the airport at 4 a.m. Saturday after saying our emotional goodbyes and preparing for our long trip home. We were greeted with an, “I’m sorry, your flight has been canceled and you are rescheduled for tomorrow.” Maybe I didn’t immediately go with the flow (insert crazy face here) but the extra day ended up being one of our most memorable. If we’d gotten hung up on the delay we would have missed out on a really great day.

Have realistic expectations — life, lemons, lemonade.

Do we “just know” how to relax — doubtful. Truly relaxing on vacation means you’ve lost track of the days and time. Relaxing at home may not be as significant an experience but it can be just as rewarding.

Don’t trade your work desk for a motel desk or beach chair. Detach! Whether it’s when you leave the office, town, state or country. Not taking a break can take a toll on your health.

Celebrate moments that bring you joy. I like vacation, but I also like myself on vacation. I’m more peaceful. I’m more present. I enjoy the small stuff. I laugh louder. I laugh longer. It’s possible to create these feelings at home. Not just possible — frankly necessary at times.

Try a new restaurant or attend an event. Vacations offer the opportunity to try new restaurants and adventures. Try a new restaurant in your community. We all have the tried and true spots. We know what we want to order. But on vacation our choices are constantly changing. Eating out isn’t just about avoiding doing the dishes later. It’s about getting to know a new cuisine and atmosphere. What events are happening that you’ve “always thought about going” but just haven’t quite made it there?

Unplug. I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before. But try it. I didn’t wear a watch for 17 straight days and it was wonderful. Take time to throw your cell in a drawer and close that computer. Just lose track of time.

Talk to strangers. You meet the nicest of people by striking up conversations with complete strangers.

Enjoy your next vacation. Whether it’s as far away as Australia or as close as your backyard. Explore. Access the joy within. Celebrate.


Sandy Sare is program director for Sheridan County YMCA.