How To Take A "Good" Vacation

Have you ever wondered what defines a "good" vacation? This may seem like a trivial question, but it's one I've been wresting with this summer. 

My family and I just returned from a wonderful two-week vacation in Montana and Idaho. Initially, I was hesitant about making this journey west. First, it is a long drive for the kids and honestly, a long drive for me too. Also, planning and packing for a big road trip takes a lot of energy and at my house, I'm the one who has the job of making sure everything is ready. Finally, I knew that once we arrived, I wouldn't be sitting on a quiet beach or eating at fun restaurants. I'd still be doing many of the same things I do at home, like preparing meals and washing dishes. 

Needless to say, as the day grew closer to us leaving, I began to wonder if this would be a vacation at all or just another trip. 

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

The vacation started as a trip. I was consumed with plans and details, but then something hit me on the second day. It dawned on me that I had the power to decide whether the next two weeks would be a vacation or not. So, as our car wound through the rugged Bear Tooth Mountains, I made up my list of what I wanted our time to be filled with. 

Here's what I came up with: 

Vacation is a time for...

  • Connecting with those who are most dear to me, but who all too often get lost in the shuffle of daily life. 
  • Disconnecting from technology, work, routines, and relationships that are good but not my top priority. 
  • Experiencing a piece of God's world that I don't get to be a part of every day. 
  • Free Space to remember who God is, what he has done, and what my life is really all about. 

As I've wrestled with what defines a "good" vacation, I've decided I want to take a whole lot more vacations, and fewer and fewer trips. I'm realizing too that a vacation doesn't need to be complicated. A simple walk with no agenda, a hike in the mountains with those I love, or an afternoon drive for huckleberry shakes can all be vacations if we simply let them be spaces filled with our presence.