Definition Vacation: [vey-key-shuhn]
1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
4. an act or instance of vacating.
I start off with this definition because it seems the word vacation has been dissed over the last decade or two. Growing up on the east coast, memories are clearly scrap-booked inside my head of summer vacations down my the Jersey Shore surrounded by Springsteen’s famous boardwalk, Amusement rides and Kohr’s custard. The Jersey Shore may not have been your summer getaway, but I can assure you if you remember those few decades or so back with your family’s vacation spot of choice, you probably remember the free-spirited time that went along with it. The time when it wasn’t just you and your brothers and sisters taking a vacation… but your parents did too. You know, when mom and dad had jobs that ended at a certain time and vacation days were meant for vacation. And mom and dad didn’t bring any cell phones or laptops. The only technology we had as kids was a boom box shared by the family on the beach or if you were lucky, your own personal tape cassette, equipped with earphones as you clicked buttons to fast forward and rewind to your favorite tune…
I only bring these nostalgic vacations back to mind because that’s just the sort of vacation my family and I just came back from. Butler, Tennessee. Have you been there? Butler is located in the Appalachian Mountains in the Northeast area of Tennessee. Butler is not a touristy location, nor would one go there in hopes of entertainment and fun. Having now experienced this slow, mindful way of living, would I not be so offended when asked why on earth we chose a place like Butler for our family getaway.
“So, where you guys headed this summer?”
We’re going to Tennessee this year.
“Oh, visiting family?
No. We got a cabin on Watauga Lake.
“Really?… so… like, what will you do there?”
Well, it’s just that. We have a beautiful cabin high up in the tree-tops. It’ll be a fishing and boating kind of a vacation and we’re excited to go!
“Oh.” Nod of the head and I swear maybe a role of the eyes.
Were we crazy?
Are we that caught up in societies way of constantly doing, that we must plan vacations away from work to make more work for ourselves filling our vacation up with things to do? Why is it, the more we schedule entertainment and adventures on vacation, it gives us more of a valid reason to take it? Is it true if we don’t come back saying all the things we did on vacation, then it really wasn’t one? I admit I was one of those people. Keyword: was. That’s why I inserted the definition above, as a reminder to us all… exactly what IS a vacation.
Well aware our vacation in boonyville meant we would be removed from major civilization and placed in a more quiet, serene location, but I was not prepared, however, for the lack in cell phone service, internet access and t.v.! If it wasn’t for our nice digs in the tree-tops, you would couple us close to camping with electricity. No cell phone or internet service for miles people! Nada. Zip. Repeatedly embedding in our girls to turn off the t.v., cell phones and video games… it was time for hubby and I to do the same and practice what we preached.
I can honestly say upon my disbelief, I refused to believe that service would not be found anywhere. The first day I remained in idle mode, waiting and stirring for an escape into town where access could be provided. My denial grew stronger like an addicted user waiting for a technology fix to keep all engines a go. To satisfy this craving, hubby agreed to drive with me into “town” and before I could swallow in glee, I grabbed my laptop and cell phone and headed in search of “town”. Well, “town” you see, turned out to be miles and miles away. Let’s just say, the nearest little wee bit of civilization was about 40 minutes away… more civilization would cost you an extra 20 minutes, where the rush of stores and people would fool you into thinking that WiFi was just around the corner. A hit of cell phone service gave me a small high, connecting with work and friends, but the burning and yearning for internet was like craving Mint Chip ice cream, but settling for Chocolate Chip instead. Feeling like a whole day was wasted in the car, we traveled back to the lake to start our vacation full throttle.
Definition Surrender [suh-ren-der]
1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.
2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.
3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.
4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).
5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.
Upon surrendering, it took every effort to cope with the idea that this location is clearly 10 years behind in time and I too needed to go back about 10 years as well. Hell… why not go back even further. I was a Techno-User slammed into a Tennessee rehab surrounded by lakes, trees, stillness and the loud sound of crickets, with every addicting dose of Technology stripped from me.
By day two the addiction starting wearing off with a few shutters here and there of what a little hit would feel like and by day three? Cell phone? What cell phone? Email?… nah I don’t need no stinkin’ email. What an amazing feeling when the Universe forces you to surrender communication from the outside world so that the simple things like self-reflection become more prevalent. What seems like unspoken words of the Divine self, come shouting blatantly out, like a child crying to be heard.
Some people choose all-inclusive vacations as their drug of choice, but I have to say this all-intensive vacation rehab was a pretty good reminder to know when to pull the plug. In the end when asked if my girls would do it again? “Yes, we love the lake better than the beach!” Hmmm…. does that mean I have to unplug every year?!