How to Make the Most of a Getaway

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August 27, 2012 by Will Ray

The absence of any new posts late last week came as a result of Nancy and I stealing away to the beach.  We went down to Beaufort, NC for a little time with my family and some friends for my sister’s birthday this weekend.

It was a great little getaway, and as I reflected on it Saturday night and Sunday, I realized why I enjoyed it so much: it had all the components of a great getaway.  I use the word getaway because this may or may not apply for a full week-long vacation, depending on what you do on that vacation.  It probably would apply for most of our vacations.

For me, a getaway is most fulfilling when it includes six main things.  See if mine are the same as yours.

1) People you enjoy
Duh, this one is kinda simple.  You get the most from a getaway or vacation when you have enjoyable people to be around.  My family and some of our family friends were there, making for a great time this weekend.  This extends to your and their priorities – if their priorities differ significantly from yours, that leads to competing desires.  Which can lead to tension, which isn’t fun to deal with on a getaway or vacation.

2) An above-average amount of sleep and rest
Also a bit of a no-brainer, I’m firmly of the belief that for any getaway to be fulfilling, it should include a good amount of sleep, which this one did.  We got at least eight or nine hours both nights, though we messed up our sleeping schedule just a bit.  We got a nap one day as well – a rarity for us.

3) Physical activity
While I doubt there’s much debate about the first two, I might get pushback on this one.  Just like anything in life, I think a getaway is most fulfilling when it’s balanced, touching every part of your life.  And balance means it includes some physical activity, whether hiking, walking, running, swimming or a sport or game of choice.

This weekend I fit a run in, and we also went across the waterway to an uninhabited island and hiked around.  We saw scores of birds and a large team of beautiful wild horses, that you can see in the picture above.

4) Mental activity
This might also be less popular, but I find that some mental stimulation helps me stay sharper and more “in the game” so that it’s easier to transition back into my normal routine.  This could be anything from reading a book that gets your wheels turning, to stimulating conversation, to a challenging board game.  I read over 100 pages in John Adams over the course of a few days, which kept my mind active on something I enjoyed.

5) Spiritual activity
In line with the “balance” idea, you have to touch and feed every part, and a big part of us is the spirit side.  We had some wonderful quiet times sitting on the porch, looking out at the water in the morning.  Find time to get away and feed your spirit.

6) Diversion 
Last but certainly not least, you have to “unplug” and shut the mind off with something.  I hit a few wiffle golf balls around the yard and played a game on my iPhone.  Some folks watched a movie and played board games.  This may overlap with the other activities – social, mental, physical.  It will vary widely based on your interests, but there’s got to be some time where you tune down the brain and body and just do something enjoyable.

Question: What did I miss on this list?  Which of these things do you feel are perhaps non-essential for you?  

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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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