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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

Natural Living Vacations

I love to travel for fun, exploring new places and relaxing on new beaches. I love the experience of travel. Packing a bag and taking off for new places while enjoying the journey along the way. I really love giving this sense of adventure and love of travel to my son and sharing these experiences with him. I hope the trips we are able to make as a family give him that sense of adventure he carries with him into adulthood. I want him to experience this world and all it’s beauty and splendor big and small.

The problem is traveling, specifically family vacations, is they can be costly. They are complex to plan for on budgets and schedules between work and school. They are challenging to prepare for in terms of what to do, where to stay, options for food and how to get there. It’s fun to plan for a vacation but the darker side of them is the budgeting and choices we are sometimes forced to make as a result. Will we have enough to do all the adventures we are interested in? Will I have enough vacation time stored up for it in time? Can we pick a time that won’t be over-crowded with everyone on school summer break and lines everywhere? It’s a careful juggling act of time and money. It is also easy to feel guilty when you can’t do something due to cost that you believe is a must for a family vacation.

As our family has moved into a more natural living lifestyle I have changed how I plan for and budget our vacations. We follow some simple principles of setting aside a budgeted amount of money each month for vacations and trips. Like most families some years we can do a bigger trip and others we need to do smaller as a result of what can be saved. This year we are looking at smaller trips and less costly options than resorts, amusement and theme parks. We are looking at more nature themed trips to mountains, beaches and outdoors adventures. At first I had this notion a smaller vacation would be dull and not as much fun but I have not experienced that to be true at all. I have found these years we do these types of smaller less planned and packaged trips we actually have more enriching experiences.

Planning vacations in a natural lifestyle perspective means we change our focus on why we are choosing the vacation we are. It means it doesn’t always have to be the packaged resort with pre-planned and scheduled activities and itineraries. It means outlining a vacation that gives that time to each other, trying new things and honoring what our budget has for these activities. At the heart of it all is experiencing life at its most free moments and seeing our own spirit come out. It is feeling wind, water, sun and coolness touch our skin. It is seeing what is around us like it is the first time we’ve ever seen it. It is tasting and savoring the very essence of living in this moment with those you love. Accomplishing that in a vacation is a set of memories you will carry with you long past the vacation season.

This year that looks different than last year. Last year I cashed in all my airline miles and hotel points from work trips and took us to Hawaii. This year there will be camping at the state park beach campground, time in the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains and a trip to grandma’s in Florida. Looking at these trips I am excited about the adventures and opportunities to walk with my son and husband along the sandy beaches and hiking trails exploring. I am looking forward to those quiet evenings sharing giggles over board games and hot dogs grilled on a camp fire. I am looking forward to watching the stars and being with these two guys I love the most. To me this is every bit as wonderful as that trip to Hawaii was last year.

When I think of vacations and even a stay-cation in our own backyard I am filled with joy. As much as I love going to new places and traveling there is so much enjoyment I get from being able to visit familiar and smaller landscapes. It is the experience as well as the memories that make the trips the best for me. I still take pictures. We still create adventures and experiences together. We laugh, hug and spend time together. To me that is all I really need for the perfect family vacation regardless of where we are or what the budget says we have to spend on our vacation. Thinking in terms of how to generate more of those feel good family feelings changes how I think about our summer vacations and plan for them in our budget.

This is what living naturally on family vacation looks like. Some times it is theme parks and resorts jet setting across the skies to get there and others it is the simpler smaller trips that also create the moments in time we most cherish and remember. When I think about what our son will most remember about his childhood it is these times I want him to recall the most. The times we spent together, laughing, playing and being together regardless of where it was or how extravagant it was. When we reset our intention, focus, purpose and reason for vacations this is what comes to my mind as where to place that priority. It is giving my family the enriching experiences of being a family together. That is true living naturally on our terms in our family.

As I plan for time off work this summer and look at our budget for vacation this is what is on my heart. It is all about how to have the best time I can with my family and take in watching them explore, capturing moments on my camera and talking of our days over evening meals. It is hearing giggles and laughs, stories of adventures we’ve taken and planning for more of those times. Knowing I don’t need a large budget or debt to live naturally and can deeply enjoy those times while taking a vacation for this to happen is the best feeling and added bonus in my mind.

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