Since the kids had their winter break from school this past week, we took a much-needed trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was amazing. We’ve been going away to a different Caribbean Island for the past 3 years during this same break week and each year it’s been such a great experience with a lot of family time, even more relaxing moments, and tons of adventures.
I could have worked a little bit to get some extra posts scheduled before we left or at least done some business planning during the week but I decided instead to enjoy the anticipation, the planning – and the amazing trip.
I always do a little soul searching when I travel – I don’t think I do it intentionally but it just seems to happen. So here are a few observations and thoughts I had while away…
• We can all learn some amazing life lessons from traveling. Being away from our daily routine and in a new environment can’t be matched by any book, lecture, class or movie – even if it is a documentary. I believe the idea of experiencing something for yourself is the best way to learn. Click here to see my post from previous years on Lessons Learned In Traveling.
• Our sons are young men now (16 and 14) and our daughter is 11. I feel like I say this all the time but they are at such awesome years and they seem to be changing so fast. Living with 2 young men and a pre-teenage girl is like being in a whirlwind. So anytime we can spend some quality time together is something I cherish. I love having our trips be just the five of us. We truly get to know our kids – I know that sounds strange – and we eat it up!
• I have mixed feelings about reading on vacation. I don’t read enough in real life but I have always read while traveling. But when I read, I get very involved in my book, and usually still think about it even after I’ve put it down. But this trip, I didn’t want to be absent from the experience. The story in my book often gets intertwined with my real life. With that said, I did read most of To Kill a Mockingbird. But I put it down mid-trip and I’m so glad I did. Magazines and social media are a little bit of the same distraction, but since those are short spurts of time and information, I never feel too immersed in either.
• I always contemplate life when I travel. What could I do to make things better? What are our family goals? What do our kids see for themselves? What are our business goals? We even brought up the word retirement. Some heavy stuff but for some reason, talking about these things on vacation seems to give us a bit if a new, lighter perspective.
• Traveling makes me see things differently. When we’re caught up in our own lives, we tend to place emphasis on things that may not be so important. Being in a different environment, surrounded by things that are not usual, helps – or forces – me to see things differently. Different foods, people, architecture, and traditions are a great way to expand our minds and acceptance.
• We learned so much from the native people. I’m always impressed with how much history and pride the local people have for their homes. I only hope I could offer the same knowledge to our visitors. I also found myself fascinated by the people who were not native to the islands, but who chose a completely new way of life by making these beautiful islands their home. Their stories were so varied and interesting – and adventurous. A part of me was very jealous.
There is so much to learn and discover when traveling – no matter where you go – about places, ourselves and others. And we soaked it all in.
We came home to a very happy puppy that we missed terribly. And we were just in time for my daughter and I watch the Oscars and enjoy some some guilt-free couch time. No laundry was done, no cooking, just good, mindless entertainment. And it was good!
And now that I’m feeling rested and fulfilled, it’s time for me to get back to work. I’ve got some fun DIY projects, organization ideas and even a few healthy dinner choices that I’ll be sharing soon. Have a great day!