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When time away from work or school allows, aside from the obvious money question, the main topic for discussion is where to spend our well-earned vacation time. The big bucket list vacation spots are not necessarily what we will be focusing on today. When I am simply tired, want a bit of peace, or have limited time, the last thing on my mind is to visit somewhere I will need a “vacation from the vacation” upon returning.
What are the elements of a good vacation? A good friend of mine helped me to understand that there are 3 types of vacationers. Our first group is composed of individuals who must “do” something in order to feel like they have had a vacation. The second group must “experience” something in order to feel like they went on a vacation, whether that be of a relaxing or an active nature. And the third group needs to observe something “new” by the time they finish their time away.
Regardless of the location or amount of money spent, our sense of “vacation satisfaction” seems to be wrapped up in our core beliefs regarding how each individual defines the word “vacation.” I find that once we discover what that definition is… only then can we understand if it has been fulfilled or not

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Something I practice when planning for a vacation is as follows. I ask myself, “Do I need to experience something new?” “Do I want to feel recharged when stepping back into my life again?” Or, “Do I want to observe something new?” “Is this time away for solo reflection, or is it a time for connecting with my loved ones?” Perhaps there has been something on my “list,” and I now want to check that vacation activity or destination off.
I have also found that if you are going with a partner or a group of people, vacations are often a mixture of many or a few of the reasons listed above. This is true, not just because of the variety of people involved, but because we have multiple needs, according to our “vacation definition”, that we each want to fill.
This year, my family plans to take multiple trips. As I look at the purpose and design of each trip individually, I discover some are about education,
some are about feeling the sand between my toes, and the road trip I will take across the Midwest is to recharge my battery and allow my brain to wander as the mile markers tick by.
In addition, I am looking forward to a “staycation” this year during one of our breaks. Since my daughter attends a school that is several states away, having time to relax, visit nearby monuments and take in the local and beautiful scenery, will allow me to “see stuff” and feel like I did something, instead of staring at the four walls in my home and watching countless hours of television and movies via our various streaming services.

And my daughter is excited to do some shopping. As an alternative to costly hotels, restaurants and plane tickets, I negotiated spending an allocated amount of money on new clothing, make-up and accessories. My daughter also loves to dine on themed, home-cooked meals, and foods she doesn’t normally get to eat on her college campus.
So, while I am able to “see” stuff, she gets to “have” stuff… all while creating memories. This “staycation” opportunity allows us to feel connected, recharged, and maybe even a little productive.
There will be future breaks where I will consider a farther destination with warmer temperatures… gazing upon crystal clear ocean waters, while experiencing something and someplace new. In the meantime, we will pop tiny, colorful umbrellas into our mocktails, while watching a favorite movie, cuddled up on our couch, laughing at yet another one of our inside jokes.

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