Already this has been a summer of much travel for me. In May and June, we enjoyed a family weekend in Asheville, NC followed by work-related conferences at Marymount and Davidson Colleges. This month my husband and I put almost 6,000 miles on our car going cross country to visit family and friends in Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. I just returned from a long weekend celebrating a wedding in upstate New York, and I leave later this week for Haiti to reconnect with dear friends as part of our ongoing partnership there. And I am so excited to introduce that wonderful place to my oldest son and his fiancé.
I am a little embarrassed to admit to all this travel, especially since I know it is a true luxury to be able to get away. I try to remember what a real privilege it is to leave home and explore the world.
I have also enjoyed trips vicariously through pictures, Facebook posts and blogs shared by others. Students, faculty and staff on Study Abroad trips that have visited countries in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe, have inspired me. I can’t wait to hear all their stories up close and personal upon their return to campus.
For those who either are unable to travel or who prefer being closer to home, “staycations” are becoming more popular. One such person is an LC grad who directs a non-profit and also has young children. Each day of their staycation found them enjoying a local activity such as Amazement Square (children’s museum), bowling, or Miller Park pool and then practicing a random act of kindness. Sweet gestures including making goodies and cards for firefighters, paying it forward by buying dessert for strangers in a restaurant and taking pet treats to the local humane society. I love how this woman’s children are learning at a young age to balance enjoyment for themselves and service to others.
If you are reading this column and have had your own adventures this summer either close to home or far away, I hope your time away was enriching, rewarding, and renewing. If you have yet to leave but have plans to go out and explore, I hope you travel safely and enjoyably. Finally, if we know of people who for a variety of reasons aren’t able to enjoy staycations at home or vacations away, perhaps we can find creative ways to bring a little adventure to them. Invite them to go for a weekend drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy a movie together in AC on a hot summer evening. Share an ice-cream cone at Mr. Goodies or Maylynn’s. Walk together on the Blackwater Creek bike trail. Cheer on the Hillcats at City Stadium. Even simple activities have the potential to bring joy and appreciation to others, especially when they are shared in a spirit of friendship and camaraderie.
August will be here before we know it and another academic year will soon be upon us. In the meantime let’s savor whatever moments we have to rejuvenate our own spirits and to help renew the spirits of those around us.