I’m on vacation as a write this. People who know me know that my version of vacation is far from typical. I tend to exert myself more when I travel more than I do at any other time of year.
Long ago, I lost the ability to sit around, sleep late, and do absolutely nothing. When I take a break from normal life, you’ll often find me hiking a multi-day trail, or going on a six-part adventure. I enjoy the fact that when on vacation, I have as much time as I want to engage in my favorite active pursuits, no vegging out necessary.
But every once in a good long while I do like to take it easy. I want to escape the constant noise of daily life – the din of existence that keeps me slightly on edge and ready for the next surprise. I want to stay in one place for a while. Sometimes, I’d like life to stand still, if only for a few days.
To experience this feeling of freedom, this silence, this calm, I immerse myself in nature.
When I’m isolated in a world where plants and animals reign, there are no big surprises. I can spend the day understanding the current of a stream or the sounds that the local birds make (without the help of Google). During these slow-paced times, I can watch the sky as the weather changes and the stars as they come out at night.
In the great outdoors, the many minutiae and stresses of daily life fade away into the background. I don’t feel an imposed sense of calm, facilitated by poolside pina coladas or all you can eat breakfast buffets. Rather, I tune in to the deeper comfort of the world around me. Its greatness reminds me of our tininess and the smallness of my problems. Its predictable rhythm reminds me that life doesn’t always have to run at a frenetic pace.
Sometimes, quality really does come with a lot less quantity. On these trips, my conversations (even those with my six year old) become slower and more meaningful, set against the backdrop of the natural world.
This summer, feel free to take it easy. Spend some time in nature on your next vacation. Whether you stay in a rustic home, a log cabin, or even a tent, you can find calm in an escape from life’s noise. In the quiet of the natural world, you’ll adjust your usual pace by tuning in to the slower symphony of nature’s song.