What I Learned on Vacation

What I Learned on Vacation: my trip to LA and what it taught me about life perspectives | College with Caitlyn
If you read my last blog post very closely, then you would have known that I was on vacation for the last week and half. I was visiting my best friend Emma who lives in Los Angeles. While I was there, not only did I have the time of my life and spend way too much money, but I also figured out why people love vacations so much.
When people are on vacation they completely forget about “real life,” and completely submerge themselves in where they are at the moment in time. No worrying about this month’s bills, getting up early enough, how many calories are in that ice cream cone or how they look to the random passerby. Just how beautiful life is and what fun thing they can do next.
Personally, there are two things that come to life in me when I’m on vacation: the desire to live in the moment and the urge to treat myself. I really didn’t want this trip to end, but obviously, I had to come back home. Mostly because my bank account was crying and begging me to go back to work. The trip ending was inevitable, but that doesn’t mean the way it made me feel had to stay there in LA too. I mean thinking about it now, it wasn’t really the trip itself that instilled all that joy and bliss in me; it was more the feelings I got from what I was doing and who I was with.

“But the most beautiful things in life are not just things. They’re people, and places, memories, and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter.” -Unknown

So if I could just recreate those feelings, then I wouldn’t have to sit around wishing I was on vacation to feel that way again. I asked myself, “Which parts of the trip were what were gave me those feelings of complete and utter bliss?”
My answer: the things that resulted from me living in the moment and treating myself. These were the two things that made the trip so great, so what if I lived like that every day? No really, what if I lived like I was on vacation every day? Then I would make memories I could never forget and never be able to wipe the smile off my face.
So how exactly does one incorporate these little “rules” into their everyday lives? By following this advice:

Live in the Moment

Do you. Be weird. Act like you’re never going to see the people around you again. Like if you’re in Mexico and you go surfing and hardcore fail but you don’t care because you tried and everyone who watched you fail will never see you again. Or like if you were on a cruise and sang karaoke in the lounge every night because you didn’t care if these complete strangers heard you sound like a dying cat. You should be having so much fun that the thought of what other people are doing or thinking shouldn’t even be close to materializing.

“The best moments of my life don’t make it to social media.” -Rosalynn Mejia

You also shouldn’t be thinking about pulling out your camera or phone. That’s why I have less than 50 photos from my 12 day trip. You can tell from the photos I included that it was only when we were between big things that I even remembered I had a phone. The best moments I’ve ever had could never be documented anyways. Some of my favorite memories are actually feelings, and no matter how hard I try, I would never be able to find the words that could describe the way I had felt.
If I had to choose an actual tangible thing as a favorite memory, then it would be the little things: the smell and sound of the ocean, late night talks with my best friend and just trying new things. Even these things are hard to describe. They seem so simple and small, but to me they were the magic that made my trip. Just posting a picture of the beach or a video of me and Emma laughing could never explain what I was feeling or thinking in those moments. They just aren’t really things that you can put on social media and people can get the same feeling as you had in that moment, so don’t feel like you have to document every little moment or emotion.
If it means enough to you, then you will remember it. You’ll just stress yourself out if you try to document and show off all the fun you’re having. It shouldn’t matter if all your followers or friends know how much you’re enjoying yourself, so long as you are actually enjoying yourself.
If you’re reaching for your phone every 5 minutes then you’re not doing it right my friend. It’s weird because I didn’t even want to touch my phone while I was there, so I thought when I came back it’d be the same. No way. I kept reaching for my phone all last night and all today too. I had to keep reminding myself that there was nothing new to look at and it was better to actually do something with my time than just stare at the same post on Facebook for the fifth time. I know this is the one part this is really hard when you’re in “real life” mode and not on vacation, but if I’m willing to teach myself to put the phone down.

Treat Yo Self

Your whole life is one big vacation, one long adventure, so if you want something, get it. If you want to do something, do it. Whether it’s Cinnabon, or a new bathing suit, or tickets to Universal Studios, BUY IT. You deserve it. Life is hard so you need to treat yourself. And honestly I’ve gotten pretty good at this, so I like to think I’m the queen on treating myself. Besides Donna Meagle of course. (By the way, shout out to you if you get this reference.)
When I’m not vacationing, I’m always turning down offers to have fun and indulge because, “It costs too much.” There were plenty of movies I wanted to see, gifts I wanted to buy and meals I wanted to eat out with friends, but I didn’t because I told myself it was too much money. I was telling myself a lie. No amount of money is too much if it’s being spent to give you an experience you’ll never forget. Whether it’s a movie with your favorite actor, the feeling you get when you give a gift or spending time with friends, it is worth it.
Now I’m not saying you should go willy nilly and blow all your money on everything you want; I’m saying you shouldn’t let green pieces of cotton and linen determine how much happiness you have in your life.
Overall, this trip opened up my mind to the idea that life is about the experiences, NOT the looks or materials possessions. It’s all about the feelings, and I have never been happier than I was these last two weeks. Every day I was excited to wake up at the crack of dawn and experience a new day with my best friend.
This one trip opened my eyes to the world of traveling (I feel like that’s a pun?), and now all I want to do is travel. If you would have asked me a year ago if I ever wanted to travel, I would have said heck no. I spent so much time traveling as a kid, because my dad is military, that I thought I had seen everything already. Boy, was I dead wrong. Now I know there is so much more to experience and try.
I have this huge list in my journal now with 15 places I’m dying to visit. To name a few on the list I have: Chicago, Nashville, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Australia, and Scotland. There’s plenty more that I haven’t even written down too. I don’t care how much these trips are going to cost, or how far away they may be in my future because I know they will feed my soul’s desire to wander.
I literally just got home a little over 24 hours ago, and I’m already ready to go back out into the world. I think you’re ready for a vacation too, so get out there and either finally book that trip of a lifetime or live like you’re already there until you have enough money.
Here’s to new adventures and happy souls.

Where do you want to travel to? What was your best trip?

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