With over 170,000 miles on our van, we opted for a staycation this year. As much as we’d like to head out west again, we didn’t want to break down and have to buy a new van on the way. Been there, done that.
Here are five things I learned on my staycation.
1. A change of scenery can reset your outlook on life.
Being cooped up in an office, even though I love my day job, gets old. Vacation provides an opportunity to get out, to escape from the daily fires – something I really should do more often. My escape of choice is hiking. Experiencing nature (except for the spiders and snakes) relaxes me, and viewing it through the lens of my camera allows me to capture details I might otherwise miss.
My creativity has taken a nose-dive lately due to situations beyond my control, so my change of scenery is giving me a new perspective. Nature relaxes me, so maybe I should try writing there. I can take my choice of writing tools and find a picnic table overlooking the lake. If the weather isn’t cooperating, I can skip the coffee shop and find a corner table in the food court at the local mall where I can people watch. It might be noisier here but you never know what characters you might observe!
2. Change can be painful.
Hiking works muscles that get lazy all week, sitting in comfy chairs. Hubby thinks he can give me a better workout than any gym. He heads for the more rugged trails, ones that wind through an assortment of terrains: hills and valleys, rocks and streams, ladders. And steps. Hundreds of wooden steps. So many steps that if I never see another step in my life it will be too soon. Just ask my calves and thighs.
Traversing life experiences can be difficult, sometimes downright painful, both mentally and physically. But our experiences make us who we are, and have brought us to where we are today. We have to take our experiences and run with them, make them our own.
Don’t like where you are today?
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
My 17 year old son wanted to go to King’s Island and ride rollercoasters. I love rollercoasters, so I was game. But then I rode the Diamondback. I should have known better than to ride a coaster named after a snake! That first drop was waaaayyy out of my comfort zone, and left me thinking I was not in my right mind.
Whatever possessed me to get on that thing? It scared the daylights out of me. It made my heart beat a little faster. It was an adventure! Adventures are the spice of life, so go ahead, do something you wouldn’t normally do. (Just trust me, and don’t ride the Diamondback.)
4. Proceed at your own risk.
While hiking, we came upon this sign – twice. Hubby ignored the first one, even though it was stuck smack-dab in the middle of the trail we were on. The bridge that was “out” couldn’t really be called a bridge – we were able to step across the rut below it with no problem. But the trail eventually left us stranded at the bottom of a ravine, with two choices: go back the way we came, or climb out by following a narrow deer path up a steep hill. Guess which way we went?
The second sign was off to the side of our trail, but given the status of the previous bridge – let’s just say life is always an adventure with my hubby. This bridge was mostly under water, and it was too wide to jump. Lucky for him, there were boards and logs across a narrower section that we were able to cross and continue on our way.
Taking risks – taking chances – is what enables us to have unique experiences. Nobody wants to put themselves in peril, but where would we be if we never ventured out? Think of taking chances as an opportunity to be resourceful, and accept the challenge.
5. Surround yourself with supporters.
My family challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and try something different, but they were right there with me, making the trip more enjoyable.
My fellow writers are always right there with me, too. They have different and helpful ideas and viewpoints, if only I will listen. They encourage me to take risks, and to be resourceful. They encourage me to build my own bridges.