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Five Ways to Add More Meaning to Your Vacations

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Torre Trasita, or the Trasita Tower is a 16th century castle perched on the ocean side of a rocky cliff, with a single orange light on visible through the window and overlooking a violet sunset and Mediterranean Sea in Positano, Italy.
Torre Trasita, a 16th century tower perched on the cliffside of Positano, Italy. ©Alonzo Wright

When we travel for leisure, it’s an act of self-love. We are signaling to ourselves, the universe and anybody who will listen that we are open to new experiences, we are taking our needs and desires seriously, and that our personal time matters. But most of us get so few vacation days, we cram as much as possible into our trips so we can make the most of our time off. But you don’t need to add more things to do, you just need to add more meaning.

It’s important to point out that before the pandemic, the way many of us were living was completely unsustainable. As a society, especially in the U.S., we had become overly consumptive in most areas of our lives. We adopted a more-more-more and a go-go-go mentality. And unfortunately, that leaked over to the way we traveled. We became itinerary stuffers; the ‘ten cities in two weeks’ people. The “If I see the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame and the Seine today, I can see the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Louvre and the Champs-Élysées tomorrow” people. That approach left us more exhausted than we were before we’d gone on vacation, and sometimes it left us feeling hollow or like the trip never even happened.

Listen up, guys: We’ve got to stop doing it for the ‘Gram and start doing it for our own mental health and sense of well-being. Here are five ways to add more meaning to your vacations.

Looking up from the forest floor into a canopy of towering green pine trees.
When the cliché that 'nature is the best medicine' happens to be spot on. ©Alonzo Wright

1. Commune with nature

When most people think “I need a break,” they imagine sleeping in late, lounging around all day and watching tv or playing games on their phone to shut off parts of their brains. Unfortunately, that rarely works. Because what they really need is time spent in Mother Nature. Spending time outside is restorative in so many ways. It decreases stress and anxiety, increases happiness, positivity and short-term memory and makes us feel connected to something much bigger than ourselves. More and more scientific and academic organizations are studying the health benefits of nature immersion.

In fact, the mental health benefits are so vast, “ecopsychology” is a new interdisciplinary field of study that has been created to examine the correlation. But you didn’t need scientists and researchers to tell you that. Why do you think so many people take beach vacations or rent cabins in the mountains or forests? Nature is the catalyst for mind, body and spiritual alignment. A vacation in the great outdoors may not be your idea of a restful retreat, but luckily it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a city dweller or visiting a place like New York, head to Central Park and lay under the trees. The crazy thing is, it can be as little as 10 minutes and you will still feel the benefits.

Check out more Outdoor Blogs from Manifesting Travel