Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lessons I Learned On Vacation That I Should Have Learned At Home

Last night I came back from a quick three night vacation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. First, let me say that for the "Cancun Area", it's a surprisingly peaceful island, devoid of wet t-shirt contests, drunken fraternity-like parties, and everything else that can get annoying about the Cancun region  Which I was quite glad to discover, because I absolutely love the Mexico and Cancun's party image gives the country a bad name.

In addition from gaining a bit of a tan and local culture (and a few pounds!), I came away from vacation with a few insights - things I needed to cross the border into another country to be reminded of. Insights that I should have been able to learn right here at home if I'd opened my eyes to them. 

1. Taking a break from technology is cleansing. No matter how much you think you "need" to be on Facebook all day every day, you do not. In fact, after the initial OMG I feel naked without my apps dissipates, it's quite freeing. 

2. It's ok to occassionally be lazy. In fact, it can be downright good for you once in a while. There's a reason other countries have far lower risks of cancer and heart disease and a multitude of other illnesses than we do here in the US. They know how to relax and create work-life balace. Here, if someone wants to actually relax on their day off, we call them lazy. Wow. 

3. You do not need to be in paradise to create happiness. I met some truly inspiring couples (one in particular) who seemed to defy all the odds and stereotypes. I think they could have been happy living in a cardboard box together. They were glad to just be alive, to have the chance to seize the opportunity of every day, and to have found each other. The island getaway was a bonus. 

4. Paradise is only such if you make it that. People who are jerks at home will be jerks in the most beautiful place on earth. The guests are our resort were wonderful, but some day trippers came over from Cancun who fit the typical "American tourist" stereotype, being loud, obnoxious drunks who didn't even attempt to speak a word of Spanish to resort employees (if you can't manage a butchered "ola" and "gracias", that's pretty rough). They were obnoxious and ignorant and I'm willing to bet exactly the same way back home.

5. We choose our reality, or at least part of it. Sitting at breakfast at the resort I thought, wow, how peaceful, we can sit outside and each breakfast and enjoy listening to the birds and the feeling the warm breeze, I wish I could do this at home! And then I remembered that the house we rent has a good size deck that overlooks the lawn and the trees behind, that gets the perfect amount of morning sun, and that when you go out there you can hear the birds and, when the breeze blows, the wind chimes. I just never choose to eat breakfast out there on the weekends because... I have no idea why. I completely could.

Travel is amazing. It brings us experiences and cultures and people and food that we may never find in our own back yard (I may be able to enjoy breakfast on the patio, but I can't rent a golf cart and drive around my town - to my knowledge at least, nor would I want to). But if we stop and listen, much of what we love about vacation can actually be found at home, within our lives, and sometimes, within ourselves, if we pay close enough attention. We just have to know where to look.


  1. I enjoyed the comment about sitting out and having breakfast on the vacation patio, then realizing you could also do the same thing in your own home. I think that sometimes the things we enjoy when we are away and in tourist mode seem more interesting because we see them as "exotic" or steeped in history, yet don't notice those places all around us that visitors to our area would see as really wonderful experiences. For example, just walking around Philly, it could be easy to take for granted, but foreign visitor would probably find a lot of it pretty amazing.

    1. Absolutely, on Philly! I occasionally, probably not often enough, stop and think about how historical philly is, and how much I take for granted. As for doing things at home, I have been trying to sit out on my deck more often since I got home, which has been very enjoyable. It's just a matter of making sure you take advantage of the opportunities to do "vacation-y" things here at home too.