Having recently moved to Denver, Colorado from Maine, I truly believed that my entire existence would become a vacation. After a long day of hauling pallets up to the top floor of my apartment complex (yes, pallets. Photos of a homemade couch to come), I hopped into a friend’s convertible and cruised into a navy sky with the pristine outline of mountains illuminated by city lights. I remember thinking that the only thing that could possibly make the moment better would be if I had an elastic to prevent my hair from whipping me in the face. The rest was just too magical to be tampered with.
It was not until a few weeks later that I realized living on my own was not all it’s cracked up to be as I tried to hold back the tears while on the phone with my Mom. I had walked all over the city and managed at least twenty interviews but hadn’t yet found the job of my dreams. Shocking, I know.
Months later, I have finally settled in my new home and enjoy all that it has to offer. Most days the weather is gorgeous. I am able to go on frequent hikes with my incredible roommate Frankie and discover museums, libraries and coffee shops all over the city. I enjoy both of my jobs and feel very fortunate to interact with new and interesting people on a regular basis. That said, every day is not the vacation that I thought it would be.
Over the past year I have quite literally been dipping my toes in new waters, learning so much about the world around me and only craving to know more. I have discovered that no matter how wonderful my life is, I am not comfortable being stagnant. For this reason, I have made a New Year’s Resolution (not that I’m into that kind of thing..) to take at least one vacation per month. Here is how I plan to do it:
Demanding What I Want Out of Life
If you are a people pleaser much like I am, then you understand where I am going with this. This is probably the most important aspect of taking many vacations. As soon as this idea was born, I forced myself to state it aloud, to speak it into existence. I had to tell myself and everyone else that this is something I am going to do, not something that is up for discussion. I had to learn how to be firm with my choices and ignore any backlash from those who are stuck in the motions of the life that society has imposed upon them. I had to truly believe that this goal is achievable, and know that it is what will make me the happiest.
A vacation does not have to be an elaborate and expensive two week adventure across the country, but it can be. Taking a vacation to me simply means allowing myself a few days off per month to explore a new place or experience a new thing. It can be tempting to lay around in bed all day when you have the weekend off, and although this is relaxing and necessary once in a while, it does not get your heart racing and it does not promote growth. These are the two things I look for when taking a vacation whether that means taking a short road trip to visit a museum or flying across the world to experience a whole new culture.
Working Hard In the Mean Time
I have been called a workaholic by friends and family since the day I turned sixteen and began working at a fast food restaurant. It does not necessarily matter what you do for work or how much money you make. What matters is that you work hard. For me, this means working several days in a row, picking up shifts, and not asking for a lot of time off unless I have a specific event to attend or travel plans. This makes it hard for employers to say no when I ask for a few days off.
Taking Advantage of Opportunity
An easy way for me to save money on vacations and visit a multitude of places is to keep an ear out among friends and family for travel opportunities. Over the next few months I will be visiting my roommate’s sisters in Chicago, staying with my brother at his work-away program in Thailand, and meeting my family in Myrtle Beach for our annual trip in April. Taking vacations every month is much easier when you make connections and aim to share your experiences with others.
Understanding Wants Vs. Needs
A big part of taking vacations is saving money, whether that be to pay for my trips or to simply feel financially comfortable taking some time off of work. While I do consider myself a minimalist for the most part, there will always be the sweet scent of Indian food wafting into my nostrils from a restaurant nearby, or a cute pair of shoes that is practically begging to live in my closet. Although I do indulge every now and then, I try to remember that experiences are more important to me than material things. That said, one can take being frugal to the next level. A few days ago a resident of my apartment building advertised his need for a mattress, wondering if anyone might be looking to get rid of one. I was seconds away from hitting send on an email offering to sell him my bed. I had to give myself a gentle reminder that sleeping on the floor for the next several months is probably not worth the extra hundred bucks. Likewise, when I am on vacation, I try to limit what I splurge on, understanding that certain travel expenses are inevitable, but luxury accommodations and excessive eating out are not.
Embracing Each Moment that Life has to Offer
Although I am eager to stock up on new memories and collect stories to share, living vibrantly in the moment is the most important aspect of taking vacations every month. Additionally, I know it is something to keep in mind even while treading the same waters religiously, counting down the days until the next time I can experience something new and exciting. Taking frequent vacations is just one of many ways to feed my hunger for adventure, and finding that adventure on a day to day basis matters just as much as finding it in my travels.