Vacations are a great way to unwind and hit the pause button on our otherwise hectic lives—a time to slow down, reflect and enjoy a simpler style of living. This past weekend, I spent the holiday at a small lakeside cabin, surrounded by friends, good food, and poor cell phone reception. As summer getaways often are, it was a practice in simple living and it got me thinking about ways to incorporate these ideas in my everyday life.
Last month, Cambria wrote about how to get the benefits of a 2-week vacation in one day. It's an idea that many took to heart (including myself) and on the long drive back to Seattle I tried to breakdown in my head the elements that make a getaway so relaxing and how they relate to green living.
1. Time: This is a big one - without the perpetual to-do list haunting me, I was able to truly relax. It made me realize that cramming too much into my life only opened the door for compromise - whether that means replacing something instead of repairing it or jumping in the car when riding my bike would only take 15 extra minutes.
2. Breaking Away from Materialism: The cabin we stayed at was nearly 100 years old but the inside was a sampling of every decade in between. Maybe it would drive me crazy 365 days of the year, but the mismatched dishes, worn quilts and teeny tiny bathroom reminded me of the importance of people over things and that consumerism is often a choice and not a necessity.
3. Unplugging from Technology: Although I think technology certainly has its place in our daily lives, turning off my phone for a bit was not only refreshing but also a wake-up call as to how much I rely on that tiny device. (If there was an app that tabulated how many times on an average weekend I checked e-mail/Facebook/Twitter/Google Reader, I'm sure I'd be mortified!) While there is no argument that technology can be an incredible resource and educational tool, I'm now encouraged to set my own personal daily limits in order to give myself more time for other things.
4. Teamwork: Ok, it sounds cheesy but sometimes I forget the value of everyone pitching in. Whether it's cooking, cleaning or figuring out how to best hang the 4th of July decorations, sharing tasks provides an opportunity to learn new skills, work with what you have and perhaps most importantly, it frees up more time (see #1) to slow down and make more thoughtful choices and decisions.
Have you used vacation time to reflect on a greener lifestyle? What elements have you been able to bring back and incorporate in your day-to-day life?
(Image: Lauren Zerbey)