Human taste is wide and varied. Merlot or Chardonnay? Blacklist or Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Catskills or the Florida Keys? Disagree as we may, a shared human experience unites us—the alluring promise of a vacation, the liberating feeling of leaving the routine, hitting the road, and venturing into the alluring unknown. Finding a soul that doesn't yearn for this escape is hard.
Yet, amidst the bustling excitement of vacation season, a common obstacle emerges—why does it take so long to shrug off the stress and truly decompress? If your seven-day vacation takes three days to arrive at mentally, you'll have a four-day vacation – not nearly enough. (BTW, I don't think the full seven is enough, but we can discuss that another time.)
The stress of work, the pace and cadence of life, the crushing metronome of go-go-go spend all year taking residence in our nervous systems, and these habits are hard to turn off, especially on demand. But I care about every day of your precious PTO, and so should you. Try these ideas below to shake off the world faster. Relaxation doesn't have to come with a lag. It's time to master the art of teleporting your mind to vacation mode, pronto!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Does singing karaoke in the hotel bar scare you? Would you be the last person who would go down the big water slide at the hotel splash zone? Then you should do all those things. The combination of thrill, pride, and adrenaline from the activities that make you a little nervous – will help you feel worlds away from the world. Here is the key, when searching for comfort zone expansion, you're looking for things you would like to have done looking back but are scared to do. Focus there. If something is truly not your bag, then don't waste a moment of your precious vacation doing it.
Run from Your Technology
As you can tell by the title of my recent article, Leave It All Behind: Embrace the Power of Truly Unplugged Vacations – I'm a huge proponent of being fully disconnected on vacation. There are many reasons for this conviction, but one of them is that it speeds up disconnection when you disconnect. Removing the subtle tendrils of work thoughts wafting through your mind will speed up your ability to turn to the fresh and different experience of where you are right now. If you want your phone for a camera, put it on airplane mode during the day. Try to rent cars with internal GPSs so you can resist that excuse for getting the phone out. Or take one of your kid's phones for the GPS and looking up restaurants for a double bonus - they are forced to go phone-free while you refrain from contact with yours.
Read more: The Importance of Doing Nothing
Seek Boutique Experiences
On vacation, make the unfamiliar your focus. Don't settle for the global ubiquity of a Starbucks latte when you can savor the authenticity of a locally brewed chai in a funky little roadside coffee cart called "Bean Me Up." Experiencing the local art, history, and traditions broadens your perspectives and helps anchor you in your new surroundings. By fully immersing yourself in a world different from your own, you can fast-track the switch from 'vacation anticipation' to 'vacation sensation.'