Make Your Summer Time Off Meaningful

When I think of summer, I imagine sunny vacations with my boyfriend. Every year, we put aside work and our day-to-day life to relax in his hometown in the mountains. As much as I enjoy our time together, I often head back to work after my vacation feeling wistful rather than motivated. This year, I took a different approach to my summer vacation.

After encouragement from a dear friend, I rented a beautiful room in an old inn in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I took two days off from work and drove out to the tip of Cape Cod by myself. I made the decision beforehand to unplug and focus on replenishing my creative juices — no cellphone, no computer, and no TV. By basking in the beauty of my surroundings rather than staring at my screens, I felt renewed and grounded.

I spent two days exploring this beautiful village and savoring the magical landscape of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Instead of grinding out articles on my laptop, I wrote in a journal while listening to the waves on the beach. By intentionally setting aside this time to nurture myself, I brought a real sense of meaning to my time off. It’s a trip I now hope to make every year.

Vacation With a Purpose

I love to travel, and I always wanted to take myself somewhere to relax and write. But I put off taking this kind of retreat because I thought it would cost too much and that it wasn’t worth the hassle. Sometimes, we don’t do what’s best for us even when we know it will bring meaning to our lives.

Is there some extra element you can bring to your summer vacation that would imbue your time off with a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment? Perhaps you need to tackle a personal project or spend time with a family member across the country. Instead of settling into the same old routine, think about creative ways to deepen your experience. Some people embrace voluntourism, which gives you a vacation while supporting a community in need.

Even if you’re going to the same vacation spot as always, you can make small changes. Decide to go for a nature walk every morning, or read that self-help book you’ve been meaning to start. By bringing a deeper awareness to your summer vacation, you’ll return to your day-to-day life just as I did after my retreat — feeling motivated and fulfilled.

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