Using Vacation as a Time to Reconnect

When I say “connectivity,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re like most, you probably assume I’m talking about internet access, free wi-fi, or how many bars you have. But for our purposes here, I want to talk about maintaining a different type of connectivity on your next vacation.

Specifically, connecting with friends, family, and even your own self by taking time off.

We know that time off lets us recharge in a way that isn’t quite possible in the midst of our everyday routines. Spending time sleeping in, taking that long anticipated sunrise run on the beach, or finishing the book you downloaded two months ago are simple but important activities. They’re powerful, restorative elixirs that bring the mind and body back into balance, and reduce multiple health risks from depression to heart disease. When was the last time you spent an entire Tuesday afternoon reading just for fun or slept in on a Wednesday morning? You can when you’re on vacation.

More than those quiet moments when we reconnect with ourselves, though, my favorite kind of connectivity is a family vacation. 

Unfortunately, 43 percent of American workers dedicate less than 20 hours a week to quality family time. And in a given year, the average person misses more than three (3.3) events, whether it’s a child’s activity (35%), vacations (25%), or visiting family (20%). Think of all the memories you’re missing out on by being a work martyr! In order to strengthen our relationships, we need to make time off a priority.    

A few weeks ago, I headed down to Florida for a family vacation that pulled in relatives from all over the map. The first part of the week, my brother and sister in-law joined me and my wife, then my sons, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby checked in for a few days.

During that week, I had an astounding number of warm, funny, and insightful conversations with my loved ones. I used this time off to download hours of content—whether it was the impromptu discussion about a new business strategy, the serious consideration of relocating for a job opportunity, to the recollections of my son's “terrible twos,” and laughing over how they’ve been passed on to my granddaughter.

These discussions took place everywhere and were able to happen anytime during vacation—over breakfast and cups of coffee on the lanai, on floating foam noodles in the pool, in the grocery store where we spontaneously competed to see who could find the peanut butter first, and fishing together while we listened to the soothing sounds of the surf during the final wisps of fading daylight.

This family vacation was better than scrolling through a hundred Facebook posts, exchanging dozens of group text messages, or yapping on abbreviated phone calls. Of course, there was a digital aspect to our family vacation. We took photos and videos, we Facetimed with great-grandparents who were far away. But these memories, moments, and conversations couldn’t have occurred in the digital realm in as nearly an impactful way. Nothing beats the real-time, real-life connectivity that time off uniquely provides.

So what about you? Have you planned time for your family to connect this summer? 

July 21, 2016