Vacation Station

February 9, 2016

Vacation, vacation, vacation!! How grand is anticipation? Anticipation is a big, candle-lit birthday cake coming towards you very slowly, one step at a a time, carried by a wild-eyed and excited hero from your childhood, only without the overwhelming anxiety that leads me to crawl under the table to hide or run up the stairs crying. It's moment after moment of building up that delight. I can't think of anything more motivating and wonderful than a materializing trip that I have to look forward to for months. If I was Ally McBeal, I'd be walking along to my theme song of "Two of Us" by my man, Mr. The Beatles, and indeed, thanks to Spotify, I have been.

I have struggled with thoughts of whether or not my excitement for travel is appropriate. Is my life the Hades to my Persephone? Because gross. Am I happy because I think I will be escaping my life? What even IS life if we can't just enjoy BEING here? Can you sit on your couch with the windows open, looking outside and just feel the pleasurable sensation of being alive? Have you ever had a massage and thought of how lucky we are to exist, lying on some table, feeling utterly overwhelmed with how magnificent a squished muscle and human contact can feel? Well, I don't know about you, but I definitely can and have and so I feel it is totally reasonable and healthy to benefit from a break in daily routine that is not at all comparable to a drinking problem.

I used to go to Disney World and weep wholeheartedly upon returning to what felt like a futile, grey, and meaningless existence in a confusing land that had no toons, which was NOT RIGHT. I think THAT is something to watch out for, but otherwise, looking forward to and lamenting the end of an exquisite vacation is totally fine! I have spoken with Rufus about this and he agrees completely.

Now, bear with me here as this may be hard to believe, but I know of people - real world people with feelings - who work and work and save up their vacation time and don't use any of it to go anywhere. Ever. How can you NOT want to use your vacation time? When you stick to the same day to day patterns for years, they will most certainly lose their luster and, even though they're actually quite nice as far as routines go, you will come to hate them or, worse, forget there ever was anything else out there that you once wanted. Breaking the norm allows a healthy reset AND a perspective on a new environment or culture. We need stimulation. Our brains are ridiculous and incessantly puzzling. Our brains are Andy Kaufman. Our brains are what Bill Murray whispers to Scarlet Johanssen at the end of Lost in Translation. Our brains are the universe and its total coyness over whether its finite or infinite. "Oh, you. A lady never tells tee hee!" What are we? What IS this? Well, I can tell you one thing and it's that we can't live like ants and be mentally stable. I don't even need my bio degree to tell you that.

Besides delivering your future self from work-life imbalance doldrum hell, the benefits of travel are undeniable. Nod your head to this list and say YES to life!

  1. A break in routine offers a reset and allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and stay awake for your daily life. People gravitate towards those that appear to be the most alive.
  2. Seeing something new provides endless new topics of conversation. There's only so much that can be said about what's going on at work or in your favorite show and what to eat for dinner at Chili's. Spice up your life. Literally. Maybe you'll get the shits, but you'll definitely get a good crowd pleaser.
  3. You will think something new - at least one new thing will enter your mind as a result of travel and you will change! Whoever said change was a bad thing? I want to know who that was, so I can show them a film. It's called, "Look at me when I was 20. See that? Sobbing over nothing much at all? Isn't it sad? Good thing I never changed!" I hope he understands sarcasm, but given what I know about his philosophies thus far, I wouldn't bet anything valuable on that.
  4. You will increase your flexibility in being comfortable outside of your home space. This is a big one to me. From airports and planes, to drive times, accommodations, or crowds, how many experiences might we miss out on in our lives for fear of temporary discomfort? In my hell, I'd be hot and humid and trying to get ready to go too soon. This is something I've gotten less crazed about when it does happen to me though, because I have traveled outside of perfect comfort, gone without showering, had to let my hair go wild, and - guess what - I still had a great time! Camping is a prime example and form of practice I think and I missed out on years because I thought I'd hate it. We get used to particular conditions and quantities of space with certain amenities that we convince ourselves are necessary for a good experience. As soon as we see a plane is fully booked or a hotel is "small", it's, "Ugh, this is the worst. I need to tell everyone right now," but how much time should you even be spending there? And who cares? It's about letting go of material expectations, as undeniably comfortable to have as they are, and having an experience. Step out of your self-made terrarium and let loose! Get a little dirty! Have fun! I'm speaking from experience, but also as someone who has booked an open air cabin for my upcoming rainforest vacation. I'll be sure to come back and promptly delete this should any unusually-sized arachnids present themselves to me whilst there. I will retract my statement in full. THERE ARE LIMITS AND THEY USUALLY STOP AT SIX LEGS. I also won't kill a spider without feeling the guilt of taking a life from this earth, so this is a double predicament for me. I live in Texas, though, so my threshold is fairly high. We have these little friends...
    Truly terrifying.
  5. Restore faith in your own daily life. I will come back from my next vacation with a clear reminder that the world is much bigger than my work. The time I spend at my job will not be eternal and there is a lot about it to enjoy. It strengthens my appreciation by bringing a sense of impermanence to everything. If you really hate your job, it's also a reminder that you can just sell everything and go bartend in Costa Rica! Luckily, I love my job, so I'll just be goddamn delightful for my coworkers.
  6. Anticipation is one hell of a drug. As I stated before, if happiness could be harnessed as a form of energy, I could provide power equivalent to a whole school full of children on Christmas morning with a vacation to look forward to. Planning is a blast, free time thoughts drift to daydreams of riding waves, and petty differences throughout the days leading up to it are kept in perspective. Go ahead. Eat my lunch or tap that little shut down button on my computer without letting me save anything with a Ted Cruz-worthy smirk on your face. I'm going on vacation and I have been straight glamping at Anticipation Station for a month! Woowoo! I have arrived, you beastly instigator, and so I accept and love you as a fellow traveler in the womb of our mother earth. Costa Rica comes soon and my brain is releasing enough serotonin to rival all the flower-power of Woodstock with the fibers of my existence.

The benefits are countless beyond this, but maybe they're not because my list is done. I just feel very strongly about the power of travel to improve your outlook, attitude, mindfulness, and quality as a citizen of the world and I wish for everyone to do it. About 42% of Americans have passports - a number that should be far greater if you ask me! So, do yourself a favor and get a move on. The world is waiting!


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