Vacations are deceptively convenient. We plan them obsessively, look forward to them, talk or brag about them as they approach, yet often they fall short of their chief task. Here are 8 ways to exploit vacations for all they’re worth.
1. Learn how to do nothing.
Travel is seldom without long stretches of idleness, a terrific challenge for busy, connected people. Construe the doing of nothing as an end unto itself.
2. Alternate a day of unbridled bingeing with a day of detox.
Rather than just drinking or partying or sampling local intoxicants all day everyday, try alternating between indulgence and restraint, days of decadence and days of detox. Wondrous things will happen.
3. Read something challenging.
Rather than breezing through easy reading, bring 1 hard book with you. You may not finish it, but what you do read will be ennobling.
4. Change your look.
Stepping outside your home community is a great chance to explore the magical effects of self-expression.
5. Be nice to yourself.
Vacation is a very ripe context for useless self-criticism. Save the self-rebuke for therapy back home. Or better yet, train yourself not to do it at all.
6. Do not stress about financial or budgetary matters.
This is a poisonous habit that can ruin everything. Focus this energy instead on making sensible choices about purchases an instinct rather than a struggle.
7. Put yourself second.
This may sound unreasonable in the context of leisure, but all the research shows that sacrifice and responsibility are the only reliable sources of lasting happiness. Since vacations are so short, find easy wins like teaching a young person something or giving some of your stuff away.
8. Stop looking for love.
Don’t obsess over the possibility of finding true love while traveling. The same rules that apply in your hometown are in effect on vacation: love only comes calling when you’re not in search of it.