Vacation is defined as “an extended period of leisure and recreation especially one spent away from home.” It dominates our summer time and conversation. We take all kinds of vacations, long, short, nearby, faraway. We travel with family, friends, ourselves by car, train, bus, plane, and perhaps by hiking. Vacation can be a relaxing time as well as a learning time.
I had the good fortune of taking a trip this summer to the beautiful land of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is a place of great natural beauty. There is still something pristine in the forests and woodlands that dominate the land. I stayed on the shore of Lake Huron and found it refreshing to wake up to the waters of the lake and watch the moon go down over the lake in the evening. One of our daily trips was a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, about a fifteen-minute crossing over Lake Huron. On the island, we took a two-hour carriage ride and learned a lot about the history of Michigan and the island while enjoying the humor and good will of the drivers. Contrary to popular demand we did not buy any of the famous Mackinac fudge. Our next adventure took us to Tahquamenon Falls about an hour and a half north of St. Ignace. The falls are the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi and breathtaking. There are upper and lower falls and they are worth seeing. Crossing the 5-mile, Mackinac Bridge was awesome and a bit scary.
It was a great vacation experiencing the beauty of nature and being away for a time. The weather was perfect. However, I think one of the benefits of taking a vacation is the opportunity to connect with other people. I found that seeing and hearing others helped to widen my world. People were friendly, helpful and ready to share their stories. It was amazing to see the number of families with children who delighted in things around them. Truly amazing was watching parents with babies and toddlers in hand answering all their needs and wants. Many folks in wheelchairs enjoyed the sites despite physical difficulties. It was a happy time to be among the people. They were young and very young, middle-aged, old and diverse. I felt a kinship with the folks around me. We were all sharing a common goal, something we dearly need today. I recommend we leave our daily comfort zones at times and take a “vacation time” near or far, long or short and connect with people we do not ordinarily encounter. It gives us the opportunity to expand our worlds. It need not be summer to vacation. We can take time away any time of the year, if only for a day.
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96