Archive | 10:44 PM

Day 209: want to be happy? go on vacation!

28 Jul

We are leaving, not on a jet plane, more like a slow ferry.

We are packed up and heading to “America” (as island locals say) a.k.a. the mainland.

Our destination?  A mini family reunion, a wedding, and a dentist appointment. Hey, it can’t all be fun and games when one gets the chance to sail to America.

It’s a boat trip + road trip + Novocaine trip, all in one.
The latter I am not looking forward to.

But, don’t all road trips have a bump in the road somewhere?

Even though we spend our summer on an idyllic island, this distinctly feels like vacation.  And, according to the recent Time article, Want Happiness? Don’t Buy More Stuff — Go on Vacation, experts report doing more brings more happiness than purchasing more

I can relate.

So far, over this journey (a vacation of sorts, from shopping), I have learned first-hand it is just as adventurous to find a new yoga class as it is to find a frilly dress.  One would think purchasing a physical item would make euphoria last longer.  Turns out, it doesn’t.  We attribute more long-term happiness to memories and special moments, or vacations and road trips than to new t-shirts or TV’s.

Vacations are indeed priceless.

When I think back over my life, I can remember every road trip ever taken.  From the trek last fall where Justin, Pup and I crisscrossed the entire country, to the spring break with my college buddies where Laura and Lisa and I drove to Corpus Christi, Texas, bringing back more than hangovers and memories; we packed up the car with full body sunburns and Aloe vera (not a good combination for a 20 hour car ride home).

And, then there is that one road trip Justin and I took, a very long time ago, heading towards college in his black Tahoe.  We drove from Idaho to Missouri, from West to Mid-west, on our way to college.

It was a long way
Not because of the distance between home and college, but because of the distance between us.  We were recently broken up. (Looking back, now, we think our two mother’s collaborated to put us together in a car for two days in hopes our hearts would resolve. Good plan. Didn’t work.)

On that long and winding road, where there is NOTHING between Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the Missouri River, we made small talk and listened to CD after CD after CD, ignoring the pink elephant in the car: my broken heart.

Somewhere between Denver and Kansas City we spotted billboards for The World’s Largest Prairie Dog.  And when you see a billboard for the world’s largest prairie dog, you have to stop.  Not surprisingly, it was a cement hoax, a large sculpture of a prairie dog (which you probably already guessed).  But, it broke the ice between our two hearts as we laughed and rolled our eyes at the roadside ridiculousness.

We laughed the rest of the way to the Missouri state line. When Justin dropped me off at Laura and Lisa’s front door we waved to each other.  No more kisses, no more hugs.  But we had something new: one, big, prairie dog.

Yesterday, a song on Pandora rang through my computer speakers and held me in its grip.  It’s called Long Way and it’s a road trip song (it caught my attention because it mentions Idaho, and many other places I have driven through.)

I searched online to find out more, and you’ll never guess what I found…

A video where the artist, Antje Duvekot, describes her own road trip across the county and what she discovered.  Turns out we aren’t the only suckers for enormous prairie dogs!

If you have a few minutes, this video is worth a watch and the song is a good listen.

Call it good for your soul.  Or, if you’ve ever driven cross-country, broken up with the person sitting next to you, then it just might be good for your heart too.

Trust the research.
Vacations last longer than souvenirs.
Some trips are short. Some are long.  
But, all are memorable.

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