Instant Vacation


Sometimes we need a vacation long before our vacation days arrive, don’t we? Responsibilities pile up, monkey wrenches get thrown into our plans, and stress mounts. We’d like nothing better than to walk away from the pressures and problems pressing in on us.

So what can we do when we need an instant vacation, a ready retreat that will refresh our spirits, souls, and bodies? How can we find the fresh perspective that will calm us as well as the recharged batteries that will reenergize us for the situations at hand?

One thing we can do is simply go outside. We may not be able to walk away from our stresses permanently, but we can take a desperately needed breather from them by spending a few minutes soaking up the beauty and wonder of the world around us. Just call it nature’s own tonic and remedy for those in need of refreshment.

Here are a few simple ideas for an instant vacation:

1. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Take your camera along and watch for wonder, be alert to beauty. Snap a few vacation photos.

2. Spend some time relaxing in your yard. Plan ahead and have a personal sanctuary of sorts at your disposal—a porch swing, a chair on your patio, a bird bath and feeder in place, flowers planted, a fountain set up, etc.

3. Take a bike ride to a nearby park or another refreshing spot. Enjoy the breeze on your face as you ride and revel in the beauty around you.

4. Throw a blanket on the grass, lie down, and enjoy the sky. Marvel at how birds wing their way from place to place and look for fun shapes in the clouds.

5. Sit on your doorstep, close your eyes, and tune your ears to hear each and every sound. Enjoy them as if it’s the first time you’ve heard them. Also take special note of what you’re feeling physically—a light breeze, a strong wind, the warmth of morning sunshine, the heaviness of clinging humidity, the brisk bite of cooler temps, etc. Before you forget all you heard and felt, jot down your impressions in a notebook, a journal, or the notes feature on your phone.

If you weren’t already longing for an instant vacation, I’d be willing to be that now you’re suddenly thirsty for one, huh? With ideas like these on our minds, it’s no wonder we all want to head out the door!

Let’s do it—let’s gift ourselves with instant vacations on a regular basis. Let’s take advantage of nature’s tonic and ready retreat. Maybe we can head some of the stress off at the pass. Maybe our real vacation days won’t seem so far away.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3a

*What’s your favorite way to enjoy an instant vacation?

*Flickr photo by shoothead, Creative Commons License


  1. Great ideas, Cheryl. Fall is my favorite season to spend some time outside and enjoy nature. I like going for a walk at the park and have some quiet time with God.

    • Rachel, enjoying nature is the best, isn’t it? Even when I’m pressed for time, I love getting outside for just a bit. And it’s double therapy if I have my camera with me and can snap some photos :)

  2. Cheryl, Joe and I take a few hours every now and then to hike through the woods with camera at the ready. It is our favorite way to take a break from our busy schedule and enjoy God’s creation and our time together. I like your name for them–instant vacations.

  3. Cheryl – So true! There’s nothing in the world like a walk in the fresh air to clear the head and refresh the spirit. I also love to sit on my deck or front porch and watch the world go by. It clears the cobwebs in the mind.

    • Mairead, love your idea of sitting on your deck or front porch and watching the world go by. Sounds so relaxing. Reminds me of the days when people used to sit in their cars downtown just to watch the people go by :)

  4. As you know, I’m a walker and a firm believer in instant vacations. I’m not much of a “sit outside kind of girl” because of all the summer bugs that enjoy snacking on me. However, one of the things I love most about fall is that the bugs go into hiding, and I can enjoy the outdoors at a higher degree of comfort. Since I won’t be going to the mts. this fall, these mini-vacations will have to suffice. I am taking my classroom to the zoo next week – does this count? Blessings, friend. Great picture. Did you take it?

    • Elaine, wish I could claim the great photo as mine, but darn it all, I didn’t take this one :) And yes, I’d say taking your class to the zoo will definitely count as an instant vacation. Sounds like fun. Hope you have a beautiful day for it!

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