The Value of Vacation

14068931-beach-and-tropical-seaStop what you are doing. Take a breath. Imagine that you are sitting in front of the ocean. Its vastness stretches as far as the eye can see. The sky is a clear blue with a few wisps of clouds. The horizon between water and sky blends almost seamlessly. The sun warms your body. The breeze is light and refreshing.You don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. There is no business suit to wear. No meetings to attend. No urgent phone calls to make. This is not a normal day for you. No, you are not dreaming. You are on vacation. You are living in the moment.

“I haven’t taken a vacation in a long time” you say? Why is that? Is it because you are too busy, too important or “the only person who could get the work done” to take off some time? Everyone is expendable to a certain point, and that even includes you. Whether you take off one day, two weeks or one month, build vacation into your annual calendar. You will clear your mind, function much better, and the people around you – both at work and at home – will be happier as a result.

In case you have forgotten, let me remind you of the benefits of vacation time:

Vacation provides a change of scenery. When you change what you’re looking at, it opens up your mind to see things differently. It shifts your perspective. Instead of seeing the same things, you will see something new and fresh.

Vacation introduces new experiences. Whether you travel to a new destination or return to the same place every so often, new experiences will be waiting for you. A new restaurant to try. A new beach to discover. A new museum to visit. A new trail to hike. Be open to those new experiences.

Vacation reacquaints you with yourself. Sometimes you lose yourself in work and forget who you are underneath it all. When you strip away the business suit and shoes, and let your bare feet feel the warmth of the sand or the coolness of the ocean’s water, you rediscover a side of you that you may have forgotten.

Vacation introduces you to new people and other beings. You meet interesting people on planes, boats and trains, in airports, at retail shops or tourist destinations. Some of my most memorable encounters happened while vacationing. I met Silver Hans on a train in Germany. I met a village elder, Kaki, in Bali. I met a wild horse with no name on Assateague Island, Maryland.

Why does it take a vacation to remind you that there is tremendous value taking off that time? Take out a pen and paper. Write “This year I am vacationing in…” Fill in the blank with one or several destinations. Select a time. Book it. Enjoy your vacation!

Right now, I am sitting by the pool in the Florida Keys, admiring a picture perfect day, soaking up the sounds, sunshine and positive energy, and sending this important message to you. I am having a wonderful time. How about you?