When was the last time you took a vacation? Why wait!
I recently left town for a few days and was surprised by how re-energized I was when I returned home. Turns out I needed a vacation more than I realized. I now plan to get more trips on the calendar and I encourage you to do the same.
Here are a handful of reasons to pack a bag and jump town for a few days (or more).
Challenge Your Comfort Zone
I love my work. I am thankful I’m in a field I enjoy but, too often, I use this as an excuse to put my vacation plans on hold. Then I remember, if I want to learn to ski, hike a new-to-me trail, or sleep outside under the starry sky, I should go whenever I can. None of us are getting any younger and getting out in nature refills my creative well.
Spend Time with Family
Traveling solo has appeal—you can keep your own schedule and choose your own interests—but vacationing with kids in tow can open new vacation possibilities. It’s an opportunity to introduce your little ones to destinations you loved when you were small, or take advantage of family-friendly resorts you never knew existed pre-parenthood.
Learn Something New
Is there a city you’ve always wanted to see? Or a music festival you’ve dreamed of attending? A trip is a great way to learn something new, from sipping wines in Bordeaux to attending a craft fair closer to home.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Ok, it’s true, vacations don’t have to be about learning new things, sometimes the best vacations are about letting things go. Sound good? If so, start planning for a cruise, disconnect and spend a week on a beach, or explore the depths of the ocean and scuba dive. Focus on your own personal enjoyment.
New adventures keep your mind fresh and your body active. As you move throughout your life, allow yourself to dive into whatever interests you. Experience the world through art, architecture, food, or stunning views. Choose your passion and roll with it.
So, make a plan…and travel while you can!
Yesterday, I had two articles due. In order to complete them, I was waiting on quotes from a couple local boutiques.
We’d emailed back and forth. I exchanged text messages with a few, too.
Nothing. No quotes.
So, I did something radical (well, radical for me). I called them. That’s right, I got out the old phone and used it for something other than its computer capabilities. Now, this is something I do not like doing. For someone who communicates for a living, I’ve come to loathe talking on the phone.
But, you know what? It worked. I had all the information I needed, lickety split.
I was amazed, but when I gave it a moment, thought about it, it made sense. Turns out, some people like talking on the phone. Especially people with super social jobs, like running a women’s clothing boutique.
You see, I enjoy writing. In fact, a large portion of my income relies on writing daily and returning emails and text swiftly and loaded with information. It’s my job. And like many others, my career is a direct result of what I’m attracted to. That said, it’s not everyone’s job. It’s not even something everyone wants to do. As a result, for some who likes talking on the phone, responding to an email or texting a blurb of copy goes to the bottom of the to-do list.
Whatever we don't like to do, we avoid. We drag our feet.
My comfort zone isn’t everyone’s comfort zone, but stretching myself and working in a new way achieved big results and unexpected pleasure. I realized a phone call is showing that I am dedicating my time completely to one conversation. My interviewees worked through thoughts while I listened, and those conversations grew and braided together new ideas I hadn’t considered. These conversations became the highlight of my day.
Yup, I’ll admit it. Talking on the phone was fun, and I wouldn’t hesitate to call those contacts again if I need more information. I chatted, learned, and enjoyed myself.
Added bonus? The articles are done and delivered, complete with lovely quotes.
So, stretch yourself. If you don't like calling people, do it anyway. Trust me, it works.
I used to live near a co-op, a natural food store that also produced a publication focused on wellness. I pitched a couple of ideas and began writing for them. I contributed to each issue for a year or so.
But, I moved away and the locality of the writing wasn’t something I could continue long distance. I thanked my editor for the experience and opportunities and moved on.
Later, that publication ended up being folded into another magazine. When the new site was launched, the older articles were nowhere to be found (there’s a lesson here, as much as we are told things online last forever…well, sometimes they disappear, too.) I didn’t think too much about it at the time, I was working on other projects and although I was thankful for the experience, those articles being in the rearview mirror felt right.
Maybe it also helped I knew I had the printed versions if I ever needed them. They were filed away. Waiting. A time capsule.
This past weekend, I was typing a blog post for a client when an article I had written for the co-op bubbled into my brain. Next thing I knew I was flipping through files and there they were, in all their newsprint paper stock glory.
Reading them now, I’m able to see how far I’ve come. I remember how nervous I was reaching out to authors and professors for quotes. The drafts I’d labor over, learning how to weave a story together. I can see now, through the power of hindsight, how much I’ve grown. Plus, seeing my past articles has given me fresh ideas, new seeds to fertilize my current projects.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you sit and read old work daily, or even monthly. That sounds like an exercise in procrastination. But do look back now and then and give yourself some credit.
You may even find you’ve surpassed your goals. And then some.
Mali Anderson is a Chicago-based content creator. She creates blog posts, web copy, original photography, and feature articles.