By appointment, Monday-Thursday

What does the word vacation mean to you and yours? Inclined toward workaholic tenancies myself, married to a woman who vacations “like it’s her job,” it’s always a source of negotiation at our house.  I am proud of the fact, however, that when we vacation, I vacate. I do insist on one guideline: before we depart, ideally weeks ahead, we share our expectations for an upcoming trip. I carry this practice into the office, often asking clients to complete the same exercise.

Suppose a family of four is headed to Ft. Myers beach for Spring Break. Dad wants to make the most of the trip–you know, make it the finest trip ever. So, he surprises his family by booking a deep-sea fishing trip, group water-skiing lessons, a day trip to a city museum, etc. Mom has already set aside three novels and–in her mind–claimed her chair on the beach. The kids have been busy making plans to meet with their friends. Dad has already checked with the rental space to confirm that a grill is available, so they can create family dinner each evening. The kids are thinking, early bird dinner with Mom and Dad; on the beach with friends before sunset. Mom has zero intention of cooking on vacation! Do you see where this is going?

Each member of this fictional family has a great idea for vacation, however, he/she is not communicating ideas with the others. A simple meeting where one question is answered by each family member can create a true holiday: “What are your expectations for this vacation?” An opportunity for respectful negotiations can begin weeks prior to take-off.

We recently returned from vacation on the island of Kauai. After two weeks on “Island time,” a 5-hour layover in the Phoenix airport was pure culture shock. We morphed from laid-back, hang loose to hurry, rush, and frustration in an instant. Talk about a change in energy!

We found a sunny corner where we “relaxed” on the floor and quickly became lost in the entertainment of people watching. We noted how traveling seems to bring out the absolute worst in families. Granted, sharing of expectations before a trip will not combat exhausted families trudging through airports or assuage the frustration caused by over-booked flights and hungry travelers subject to airport food. However, some pre-planning and sharing can make for much smoother sailing.

Let’s note that vacation is not necessarily defined by a week on a beach, or a week anywhere. It doesn’t even necessarily include family. A vacation can be as simple as taking a day, a half-day, or even ten minutes to vacate chaos–live in the moment. And this, too, is much more likely to happen if we call a meeting with ourselves and set that expectation. A “hang loose” moment can be claimed daily.

This guy seems to get it:

“Neglecting vacation is neglecting success because every success needs an accumulated positive energy!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

“To reach the goals of your life, you need discipline, you need luck and you need something as important as these two: Vacations!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

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