On my last day of vacation I wanted to reflect on what I love about vacations. It is going to be short piece because I am going to jump into the Aegean sea one more time before I head home. It is also a personal reflection about what is it about vacation that makes us happy.
Vacation is time with family.
The luxury of vacation is hanging out with your family, close friends or loved ones. I love that we wake up, eat, swim, play together. Richard Branson said, "How can you find time to get to know your children with the very little holiday time they are given in the United States?" I agree. So we need to make the most of this time spent with people you love most.
Vacation is being in the present.
This is when I smell the wind. Listen to the waves. Watch the sunset. Look at the redness and the shape of tomatoes I am washing. When I am on vacation I am not rushing, I am in the moment. Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, a meditation community, notes that "Being mindful on vacation can help us fully appreciate each moment, from exhilarating new adventures to relaxing quiet afternoons" and recommends going on vacation without a checklist so that you can just experience it as it occurs.
Vacation is more life than work.
Yesterday I read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, for hours. I did this without worrying about what else I should be doing. Without feeling guilty about not working. Vacation is where life-work balance is heavily weighted to life vs. work. Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, who takes 6 weeks off and encourages his employees to take time off as well, thinks that this time away from work is necessary to see things anew--"You often do your best thinking when you're off hiking in some mountain or something. You get a different perspective on things."
Vacation is also vacation from New York.
My annual summer vacation is the opposite of New York, where I live. It is quiet (except for the cicadas). It is all about nature. It is slow and uncrowded. It is extended family, with my uncles, aunts and cousins. Vacation is a total break from my daily routine and environment. And because of that, for me it also makes me eventually want to go back.
But perhaps the reason I love summer vacations so much is because it is like being a child again. Carefree, curious and playful. Just the kind of qualities I want to immerse my work with.
What is it that you love about vacation? I would love to hear from you.
This article first appeared on Inc.com on August 22, 2017