What I Learned in Barbados

I had a lovely time in Barbados, and when I came back, my mind was still on the island staring at the beautiful ocean. Now that it’s been a few days since I’ve been back, I’ve come down from the vacation high. Real life has settled over me and I’m longing to be back on vacation.  So what I’m wondering is how can I bring vacation back home with me.

I live in a place that is vacation for most people: Miami has beautiful beaches with great weather year-round. But Miami feels like anything but vacation for a resident.  Driving the hour from the airport, with the blaring lights of traffic, aggressive drivers, stop lights, buildings, signs, noise, and city clutter was overwhelming. Barbados is very rural. Most streets can barely accommodate 2-way traffic. Often times you see very little for miles. While navigating the island was confusing, it was wonderful.

North Point Cliff

Find a place that makes you say “WOW” and go there often.  In Barbados, there were 2 places that blew me away. We visited, only for a moment, North Point Cliff. Thanks to getting lost, we found a spot that hadn’t been developed for tourists. We could stand right at the edge and look down at the sharp rocks and out at the clear blue sea. I only spent about 10 minutes out there.  “WOW” places can really put life troubles in perspective.  Even if it is an hour away, go there once in a while, you won’t regret it.

Seek solitude in a beautiful place. The place in Barbados I visited every day for solitude was the roof of the building. We were in a beachfront hotel, so while on the roof I could look out into the vast ocean.  The winds were strong but their caress made me feel close to the earth.  I would go up there at 6:30 or 7:00am and enjoy the quiet. No other tourists were on the roof that early.  I voluntarily worked on my thesis up there. Writing ideas came to me easily there.  For you it could be a slow moving stream, northern woodlands, a local pond, or an open field. Find a quiet place to connect with nature.

Make time for yourself while at home. We do it on vacation, why not when we come back? We go on vacation to forget work, school and the stressors of daily life.  When you leave work, do the same. Work is only a part of your life. Maintain a work-life balance. Don’t mull over a work problem during dinner with your family.  If you are, you are voluntarily working overtime and not getting paid for it. Even if you love your work, you can’t work all the time. And more than likely, that solution will come when you aren’t thinking about it. (If the idea comes during family time, jot down enough so you remember, and move on: go back to your life)

Waste not, want not. For some reason I remember that being the motto in Barbados. Compared to other countries, we live so lavishly and excessively in the USA. It is so unnecessary. Even the toilets in Barbados have significantly less water.  Do your part, and save the planet! You’ll save money, time and energy if you’re thriftier and eco-conscious.

Unplug from the internet and your cell phone. My new, cheap cell phone service allows me no access while overseas. My AT&T using family was still able to connect with the world, but at a ridiculous cost. While I had internet access in the hotel, I had to completely detach if I wanted to go anywhere.  It was liberating.  I could focus entirely at the moment at handDo the same at home. The world is not in the internet.  The world is outside of your computer screen.  Turn your computer off, leave your phone at home and enjoy the world as it is

Have enthusiasm about wherever you are. We get so excited to go  on vacation, and sort of sad when we must go back home. While on vacation, we often throw caution to the wind and try new things. Vacation is about living life to the fullest. What about weekends and holidays? Sundays sometimes become the lesser of the awesome weekend days because it is the day before you have to go back to work. Enjoy Sunday! You don’t waste that last day of that out-of-town vacation do you? Stop wasting your Sundays; enjoy them to the fullest.