One of the VERY BEST things about going on vacation is the opportunity to deeply connect with your travel partners. Unless of course it’s a solo vacation (which I’m really wanting to try out sometime soon), but even then you are connecting - with your inner self, desires, and priorities and what is FUN and nourishing to YOU, or maybe with people you meet along the way, finding unexpected friendships or shared experiences.
Just thinking about some of the amazing connections I’ve experienced while in vacation mode calls to mind some of my very favorite life memories:
Deeply connecting with family and returning to favorite traditions year after year.
Getting to take a friend on vacation to favorite destinations while growing up making new memories I wouldn’t have had without them there.
Visiting friends who live far away, having meaningful conversation, and getting to see what life is like for them in their locale.
Traveling abroad to places I’d never been before with a dear friend after law school and navigating our way through metro systems, restaurants, etc. in countries where we knew nothing of the language.
Connecting with my husband on our honeymoon (and many other trips!) and dreaming about our future together.
What all of these have in common is (1) travel, and (2) sharing my heart with someone I love and getting to learn theirs. While it’s often hard to find that vacation mode in our busy day-to-day lives, I feel so much more joy and fulfillment when I work to do #2 on a regular basis, not just on vacation!
Humans crave connection, and science tells us why it is SO important. According to this article by Psychology Today, “One telling study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. On the the flip side, strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity. Social connection strengthens our immune system (research by Steve Cole shows that genes impacted by social connection also code for immune function and inflammation), helps us recover from disease faster, and may even lengthen our life.”
So do you want to do something good for your health? Call a friend! Text a friend! Let a friend know if you’re feeling down. Schedule a get-together, a trip, or a gathering. Smile at strangers, and maybe strike up a conversation with one. We spend so much time trying to force unnatural habits on ourselves to make us healthy, when perhaps one of the most natural human traits - connectedness - can help us most of all! All it takes is adding a few minutes into your weekly schedule to intentionally reach out, making space for that connection we crave.
If you try out adding more intentional connection into your life, let me know. I’d love to hear about it!