OPINION — Vacationing takes time; then after, work piles up and my to-do list gets longer not shorter, and it just seems like going on vacation is more hassle than it is worth. It seems like the universe is sending me a message not to go on vacation.
Sometimes Mother Nature plays a role and wreaks havoc with my clients flying, and I end up working all night. There have been many occasions when I honestly wondered if I would make my own flight the next day. Believe it or not, my attitude toward leaving on a vacation is not always good.
CNN said approximately 57 percent of Americans had unused vacation time, leaving an average of 11 unused days every year. When I think about the amount of work it takes to go on a vacation, I often understand why.
A few years ago, I took my children to Hawaii with the same attitude and found myself wondering if all of the pre-vacation stress was really worth it. When I was finally on the plane and the flight attendant asked us to turn off our cell phones, I had one of those “aha” moments. I started to reflect on our family vacations when I was a child. My parents did not travel with a cell phone attached to their ear, taking calls, worrying about work and continually checking their email.
They could actually take a week away and enjoy a vacation, technology-free. Of course, it was the late ’70s and they did not have that technology then, but it was a time they could truly detach from work and enjoy traveling with their family. It was right then and there, I decided to shut it down. Shut down the phone from work for the entire week, relax and enjoy my vacation with my family.
My office was in the hands of great employees, my voicemail and email were set with my out-of-office message and I was finally ready to start my vacation and show my kids that I could actually unwind and have a great time.
I am happy to report that I returned after more than a week away from work and everything was OK, despite the fact that I kept my phone in airplane mode. (I confess that I used my iPad a few times for social media and just to see if there were any urgent emails from the office.) Yes, I had hundreds of emails to go through, a pile of paperwork to review and several phone calls to return when I arrived home. I had to work more hours to make up for my time away and get caught up again.
But as I reflected on our vacation and thought about the great moments, like my son surfing for the first time, my daughter taking a break from college and reading her book in the hammock as the waves crashed on the shore, our special visit to Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day, capturing the true spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Cultural Center and all of the laughs and fun, I was reminded that this is what family vacations are all about.
It is about taking that time away from the stress of everyday life and reconnecting with your loved ones. Our lives are so hectic with school, work and schedules, we often get caught up in all of the details and forget to take that break.
Summer is just around the corner, and it is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that precious family time. Regardless if it is a week in Hawaii, a family cruise, camping in the beautiful national parks or just taking a day off from everything and hiking in our own red mountains, spending time away from the hustle and bustle with your family is priceless.
Don’t leave your vacation days on the table.
Turn off the technology and collect the memories.
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Written by Celece Seegmiller for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
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