I have been working outside of the home since I was 14 years old…And I have cried at work exactly once.
You may ask what it was that finally brought me to tears? Well, it wasn’t any of the high school juniors whom I taught English Literature. It wasn’t any of the people I worked for or with in public relations, healthcare, advertising, video game production, ballroom dancing instruction and/or politics. It also wasn’t the co-worker who legally changed his name to an animal species and answered the phone “Meow.” Instead, it was one of the nicest men I’ve ever known who brought me to my breaking point…all because of a discussion about travel.
It was 1996, and I was working as a writer at a marketing agency while my first husband was in medical school. Money was tight. I was working long hours in three jobs. And after a client meeting, I was talking to this nice client man about his plans for the summer. He happily listed the trips and his family would be taking over the next month or two…and I lost it. Completely. There was really no good reason except that I was exhausted. And poor. And without realizing it, I found myself standing there in a Houston boardroom, overwhelmed with tears, really really wanting to go somewhere, anywhere, for just for a few hours. I was crying because I was dying to get away.
Fast forward a few decades.
Today, I do events for a living…Events in a variety of locations that are mostly nowhere near my home. What this means and how this translates: I’m now traveling a lot. Traveling for site visits, traveling for conferences, traveling for events, traveling for meetings, traveling. This is completely awesome, in theory, and completely tiring in reality, because now traveling equals work. I know. Gross. I hate my own guts. My 24-year-old self wants to kick my own ass right now.
But traveling and vacationing are totally different things. I still believe in the power of the vacation, and when I’m not working, I don’t want to travel. I want to be at home, in my pajamas, watching rubbish on television or something. That’s a vacation for me. I’ve heard a number of other people I know (primarily people with kids) say the same thing about travel. Staycations have become the new vacation, and isn’t it so relaxing and awesome just to sit around the house and chill out at home? Yes. Sort of. In theory. But A) We never actually chill out at home, B) Most people under the age of 21 don’t actually think sitting around the house is fun, and C) Most of these same young people almost immediately start whining about sitting around the house and/or lots of other things, so therefore D) None of the above people involved actually enjoy much of anything about the Home Staycation.
All this to say, taking everything into consideration, I have become a fan of the short, smart, deliberate family vacations. Related: I was recently sent by Westin Hotels & Resorts to the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is really the perfect example and activation of these five reasons. Are you ready? Let’s do this.
1. It’s good to spend time together, doing things together, in a different setting. This is not always possible. Not at all. But when it is in anyway, it makes a huge difference. Even for a few hours. We were at the Westin Kierland for exactly 32 hours. My son hasn’t stopped talking about it since.
2. It’s good to spend time together, doing things individually, in a different setting. I am (now) all about family resorts that offer unique experiences for kids…especially active kids. I don’t want to spend one minute playing golf. But a 30-minute lesson, taught by a pro, made my son feel like a superstar athlete. And I happily sat on the sidelines…near the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
3. It’s good to get out and meet new friends. The goodness that comes from this is obvious.
4. It’s good to be a little out of your element. Face your fears. Try new things. Experience life. Etc.
5. It’s also good to be completely in your element, in your head, and/or in your happy place. Everyone needs this. Just ask my 24-year-old self. She’ll tell you. And she’ll cry.
I have a lot more to say about these five things, and I plan to do so in the next few posts over the next few days. Get ready.