By Ellen Barone
Just do it.
It’s one of the most famous and easily recognized slogans in advertising history. Why? Because it tapped into the human desire to get moving, to be active, to get out there and play. Yet, when was the last time you took a family vacation?
Are you letting shrinking savings, job insecurity, the price of gas, or any number of ‘realistic’ reasons, keep you home this summer –even though you desperately need a break? You deserve a vacation. Here are six good reasons to defy logic this summer and JUST DO IT.
Next time the boss gives you a hard time about taking your vacation days, tell him you’re following doctor’s orders. Studies confirm what any traveler already knows: vacations are good for your health. Among the documented health benefits of leisure activities are a diminished risk of disease, an enhanced immune system, reduced obesity, and increased life expectancy. In addition, roughly one-third of employed U.S. adults (34%) reported feeling better about their job and feeling more productive upon returning from vacation, according to Expedia.com's 2010 International Vacation Deprivation Survey. Take that, Mr. Scrooge.
New Sights, New Insights
Unfamiliarity and change are great catalysts for new insights. Away from daily routines, a vacation is ripe with new challenges - navigating public transportation, deciphering foreign languages, and learning the rules of cultural etiquette. At the same time, you’re discovering new interests, hidden competencies, and alternative perspectives that can have a profound impact on life, and work, back home.
The News Not Fit To Print
Thanks to a daily barrage of gloom-and-doom news headlines, one could easily conclude that life stinks, people are rotten and the world outside your door is unsafe. However, when I scan my database of travel memories, I see a world where kindness is the rule –not the exception. In Morocco, for example, only two months after 9/11, I repeatedly experienced the benevolence of strangers eager to express their outrage over the attacks. In another instance, an elderly Vermont couple invited our bicycle tour to camp overnight in their backyard, baked us brownies, and provided us access to their clothes washer and dryer. Sure, stuff happens. But why not go anyway? Meet new people, exchange ideas, share a smile, and live the good news not fit to print.
Going Alone? No Problem
Single or not, male or female, on a budget or ready to splurge, looking to learn or seeking solitude, traveling on your own is so much easier when you take the guess work out of it. Small-group adventure travel offers a safe, convenient, and convivial choice for independent travelers who embrace exploring the world and their own abilities.
Last August I was itchin’ for a summer adventure, so I signed on for CMH’s Bodacious Girlfriend Getaway, their women-only heli-hiking and yoga vacation. The warm welcome I received from the amazing Bodacious hosts, hiking guides, lodge staff and fellow guests provided the perfect incubator for getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my limits.License to Play
Somewhere between the job, the bulging inbox, and the daily run around, it’s easy to forget that life is supposed to be FUN. If an extended escape just isn’t in the cards this summer, take a vacation from the routine: go play soccer with the kids, take the bike for a spin, hit the hiking trails, or gather up some friends, crank up the tunes and party like you did before life got so serious. Bottom line: give yourself license to play.
Keep It Simple
Getting away doesn’t have to be complicated. I know people who approach vacation planning with the intensity and precision of a military operation. And who among us hasn’t crammed so much into a trip that we’ve needed another holiday when we get home? If preparing for a vacation feels like just another chore added to your never-ending to-do list, try heading off with a minimal amount of planning. Or leave the planning to the experts and book a just-show-up getaway with a trusted adventure travel company. Whether it’s a trip around the block, or around the world, if you keep it uncomplicated you’re more likely to JUST DO IT!
Travel expert Ellen Barone did what many of us only dream of doing: at the age of 35, she traded a successful academic career for the wild blue yonder and set out to explore the world and herself. In the dozen years since that intrepid decision, she has turned passion into profession journeying to more than 70 countries in search of evocative images and life-enriching adventures. Learn more at EllenBarone.com