Your Grand Getaway: It’s Not as Far as You May Think
I need to get away.”
This is a loaded statement — all too frequently uttered from the lips of human beings like you and me who live in this world. The truth is:
No one knows the intimate stress you deal with like you do.
Therefore, the power in this statement is actually found in what is so succinctly implied: the reality of the suffocation we find so difficult to escape – otherwise known as ‘the grind’. It’s very real. And it’s real for each and every one of us.
So, if you feel you just can’t take another day, or if you’re about to pop your cork, I humbly suggest that you plan a getaway. And if you’ve found yourself pitching this statement to yourself or anyone else in the last few weeks or months – then you’re very likey past due.
It’s time to get away.
You need an escape. You need to remove yourself from all that is familiar to you, including everything that pulls at your conscious and subconscious mind. Everything. Turn off the phone. Put away the laptop and ipad. For some of you this spells ‘social suicide’. But I’m here to tell you – it’ll be the best thing you do for yourself.
Before we go further, this is not about taking a vacation. I’m talking about some good ol’ fashioned R&R. That means sunshine, fresh air, good food, restorative leisure, and definitely some deep sleep – either spent alone or in good company. It may be for a day. It may be for a week. Whatever the length of time, we’re going to talk about how to plan a grand getaway.
The getaways we long for reveal to us what is most precious in life; those things we value above any other – those things that money can’t buy. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the best getaways have nothing to do with money, and very little to do with destination. They have everything to do with our most basic fundamental needs. They revolve around the well-being of our spirit, soul, and body, and those we dearly love. And God knows precisely what we require to be healthy: a sound mind, a peaceful spirit, a strong heart, a healthy body, and loving relationships. The key to a perfect getaway is centered upon these things. So if you feel the need to spend thousands of dollars toward a destination half way around the globe, I’ve got news for you.
And if you have been duped into believing you can’t afford a getaway that will truly benefit you because you’re financially strapped…
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can. So start planning.
Because this is not about taking a vacation. Now, I’m not bashing the traditional vacation: that two-week time-frame that comes once a year in which we empty our bank accounts and return home more exhausted than when we left. We all dream of the perfect vacation. But we need to be able to enjoy it when it comes. Preparing for that requires more than time off and money in the bank – it requires a sound mind and healthy body. Your dream vacation may be that beach somewhere on a remote island. It could be in the concrete jungle. It might be a small cabin tucked deep in the mountains. It may even be the romantic city of antiquity half way across the world. If so, you should plan for that.
But the getaway is different. Unlike a dream vacation, the perfect getaway is not centered upon your destination. It is centered upon how you spend your time and who you spend it with. So whether you’re rich or poor, if you need to get away and would like some ideas, this post is for you.
The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to have a grand getaway – and by the time you read this, you’ll be delighted to find that your time away can be far more frequent than you may think. In fact, it can be consistent. Regardless of your budget, this can happen for almost anyone with a little noggin-knocking and a few spare dollars.
Do your regular getaways. And when your big planned vacation comes, I think you’ll actually be up for it, and it will be the delightful experience you long for it to be.
So let’s talk about how to make this happen. I truly believe that we can all be a bit happier and healthier if we learn to get away on a regular basis.
A GREAT GETAWAY IS NOT ABOUT WHERE YOU GO.
IT’S ABOUT HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME AND WHO YOU SPEND IT WITH.
Planning & Mapping
#1. Determine the goal of your getaway. Is it to see a friend? Is it to be alone? It is to reconnect with your spouse? How about some time with God? Do you need to sleep? Perhaps you just need some sunshine, fresh air, and good food? Begin to assess what you really need to restore and refresh. We are all very different. Regardless, you should have a time of rest for your spirit, soul and body. How that happens and what is involved is between you and God. For me it means quality alone time doing long walks with God in the rain and sun. It involves lots of trees and flowers, sunrises and sunsets, ridiculous amounts of sleep, some great food, and a fantastic read. What does it mean for you? Determine your goal.
#2. Determine frequency and duration. Only you know the stress that impacts your life. So for me, I have concluded this needs to happen once a month for three days. Every month I have three days I can really look forward to that is set aside to recalibrate, refresh, and restore. And I change it up every month. If you have kids, then things get tricky. So, whatever that frequency and duration may be will differ depending upon your lifestyle. The point is to make it as consistent as possible so that you have something you can look forward to. What kinds of stress are you constantly subject to? Determine how much restoration you need and when.
#3. Determine distance. For me, I pick a town within a 50-100 mile radius and consider my options. I have two or three that I just love. There is the cutest little town just two hours away from me which is absolutely adorable. I LOVE IT. It has the most charming B&B’s and the most wonderful Amish food. It’s quaint storefronts are all within walking distance. It’s quiet. It’s secluded. It’s safe. Spending three days and two nights in this lovely town by no means breaks the bank, and it’s all too convenient. It’s the perfect combination of solitude and social life. So, what is within your radius? Determine your distance. You might be surprised.
#4. Spontaneity & Freedom. I don’t suggest planning too much. Let it come to you. Go somewhere new. Drive. Get in your car and go. Be willing to land somewhere you’ve never been. If you’re like me, I really enjoy times when nothing is planned. Sometimes my greatest getaways are literally in my car. The scenery is gorgeous, and I love the solitude that a good country drive affords. I get my coffee, some good music, and I just go. It’s excellent time to empty my mind, unwind, pray, and worship God. I’m a true believer in the long therapeutic drive. There are several routes I love which lead to very quiet destinations. Being free from an itinerary is a wonderful thing. I believe we all need that once in a while. On those three days my calendar is EMPTY. Those empty days allow God to fill me up again. What spells spontaneity for you? What do you find liberating?
#5. The Bag. Yeah. You need a bag. Just ONE. So keep it packed with your basics, and you’ll be ready whenever your getaway comes. Grab it and go. Keep it simple. A good backpack works great for these getaways. I suggest batteries and a flashlight for those campfire nights. So, what are your basics? Pack your bag.
#6. Determine your budget. Budgets are all relative. It may be a couple of twenty dollar bills. It could be a couple hundred. Whatever it is, your getaway should not be expensive. What does your shoestring budget look like? How much do you have and what can you do with it? It’s time to get creative. Air B&B has some excellent hot spots and plenty of affordable options.
#7. Determine your destination. How far are you willing to go for a three-day getaway? Do you want to fly or drive? Plane tickets can actually be quite affordable. In fact, they can be cheaper than driving in some cases. If you can find the right flight and book it in advance it may be well worth it for you. As for destination ideas, there are some wonderful retreats available – and there are many kinds. Do some searching in your area. For those of you desiring a private and secluded time with God, there are churches and organizations which offer retreats for a minimal fee, or at no cost at all, being funded entirely by donations. State parks are another great option for those of you who enjoy a good camp or cabin like I do.
#8. Your Companion. So who is going with you? Who you spend your time with will determine many things, and how fruitful your getaway becomes. If you’re single, you may not want anyone with you. That’s okay. Spend that time with God. Or you may choose to invite a friend. It all depends on the goal of your getaway. If you’re married, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy your spouse. Rekindle those flames. Actually look into each others eyes. Connect again. Talk. Do some laughing. Cry a little. Feast at each others table.
Rested & Refreshed
Think outside the box. Color outside the lines.
I am a firm believer in the grand getaway. This does not have to be elaborate or expensive. These simple excursions can be some of the most luxurious for the soul — not because you’re in a five-star hotel half way across the world, but because you’re catering to your true needs with someone you love instead. I believe these trips need to be consistent and they need to be affordable. Pack a cooler. Load the truck. Pitch a tent. Drive to the next state. Go on a retreat. Lay in the grass at a state park and watch the clouds go by. Go sit in a boat and watch the sunrise. Sit under a tree and read a book. Enjoy a glass of wine by the fire. These are very simple pleasures that life affords. They’re not complicated and they’re not out of reach. We simply have to make room for them.
Get away. Hop in the car and go. For goodness sake… just take a drive.
Whatever the grand getaway is for you, the goal is to keep it simple and affordable. Let it be something you can do consistently and really look forward to. When you can set aside a few days on a regular basis to treat yourself to some much deserved R&R, you’ll have spent your time and energies wisely.
Finally, save your hard-earned money for that two-week dream vacation and it will be everything you want it to be – an experience that thrills and delights you with new cultures, people, and places. Don’t ever go on your dream vacation emotionally and physically exhausted with your extra hard-earned cash. Maximize the experience by going with some extra energy as well as extra money — and with a vibrant mind so you can really enjoy those things you long to experience that you have invested so much toward.
I raise a toast to all of you. Here’s to some much deserved R&R.
Just remember to call your mom and let her know where you are.
Cheers & Shalom,