Vacations are necessary to maintain a healthy life balance and a happy head, but sometime’s you feel you need a vacation to recover from your vacation! Here are 3 tips to help you relax like never before and enjoy every second of your time away in the outdoors.
1) Take your shoes off
One of my biggest regrets is that, after returning from a recent trip to Ireland, I realized I never actually stepped foot in that breathtaking country. The only time I took my shoes off was with a huge sigh of relief in the hotel after an endless day of walking. Digging your toes in the earth, making that physical connection with a new place, is something I find important in getting the most out of an outdoor trip. Getting in touch with nature requires actually touching the nature. Touching with your hands is nice (and still important), but to truly get grounded in nature, we have to ditch the barrier: our shoes. So whether it’s boots, Chacos, or tennis shoes; take ‘em off for a moment. Bare hiking isn’t for everyone. As a tenderfoot, its definitely not for me. So just dig your toes into a nice grassy spot and meditate for a moment. Soak it all in. Let the piggies play in the mud.
2) Put the camera down
This sounds exactly opposite to what most people would say, and don’t get me wrong, as a photographer this is one of the biggest difficulties for me. I love taking pictures! I find them super important to remembering where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. However, I have found many times that the only way I see nature on a trip is through my lens. I am constantly looking for an interesting angle, or a worthy shot instead of enjoying the beauty around me! The pictures are great when I get home, but sometimes the only memory I have of that beautiful place is taking pictures of it. Feel free to snap some shots, but remember to put the camera down eventually.
(A good hammock shot could win you gear in ENO’s monthly photo contest! But still, remember to enjoy the view.)
3) Watch and learn
Personally, I love to know where I am. I know that “not all those who wander are lost,” but I like to say “those who do not wonder are lost.” What I’m trying to say is, if you take some time beforehand to research the history of the area, it creates a whole new atmosphere. Knowing you are walking the same steps as people you’ve only read about in history books, is wicked awesome. Only after I was back from the Mayan Ruins in Mexico did I truly begin to research the culture. I had known about Mayans, but not enough to really appreciate what I was seeing when I was there. Same goes for any place, outdoors or indoors. Knowing where you are in regards to what has happen and who has been there before you can completely change your perspective while you’re there, and learning about it afterwards can lead to regret of not really soaking in history of it all. Learning the history while you’re there is also important. If available, I always love to take at least a small historical tour of a place when I’m visiting. This could just be the history nerd inside of me that loves this so much, but I hope the feeling of appreciation I have for places around the world is shared by everyone.