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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

How to Save Money on Vacations

Create the life of your dreams, so you never feel the need to take a vacation from it. 

I've seen variations on this sentiment multiple times. I've been rolling this over in my mind all spring and summer. I believe this is what I've been doing for the past few years, without really putting words to it. I have been pondering what it is that would bring me joy in my day to day life. And how can I add those activities and surroundings without extra cost. Fortunately, I find enjoyment in the simpler aspects of life, such as watching the sun come up over the trees in the wee hours of the morning in summer, or growing plants and tracking their growth, or listening to the frogs talk to each other as the sun is going down. Yet, simply knowing what I enjoy isn't enough. I have to make the time and plan for these enjoyments.

There are some qualifications to the above statement. 

I don't think it's realistic to create such a life that you never, ever want a break from it. Doing even the most wonderful earthly thing becomes routine after a while. I try to build in some breaks from the tedious for myself, either getting ahead on some chores or asking for help from other family members. Even so, I do look forward to going new places every so often. But the sentiment stands, loving my life means I don't want to escape from it.

Obviously, it's helpful to choose a vocation that fits one's personality type. I'm more of an introvert, so whatever I do each day, I need some peaceful time away from others. I also prefer to be forthright in all of my dealings. I'd make a terrible used car salesman. However, choice isn't always an option. Sometimes, we have to take a job that doesn't at all suit us, simply to provide for ourselves and perhaps others.

Which brings me to this, I need to feel like what I'm doing has a purpose beyond just making someone else wealthier. When a particular job wasn't the greatest fit for me, in my younger years, I continued with it until I found something that was better. But all the while I worked knowing that I was taking care of myself on my own. And this was something for which I took pride. Work that supports oneself and family is a purpose in itself. In the same way, I cook and clean for my family because I want them to have a clean house and good meals to come home to each day. My purpose is serving them.

Gratitude and appreciation goes a long way in finding a life of my dreams. Whatever task I'm working on, I try to find enjoyment, either in the work itself or in some added benefit discovered while working. -- finding the lovely or pleasing in whatever I'm doing. I didn't always love some of the tasks of being a stay-at-home parent, but I really enjoyed getting to see first hand the funny or sweet things my kids did on a daily basis. In keeping the gardens, I don't enjoy some of the work, but I do invoke "grower's privilege" when it comes to picking that first juicy raspberry to pop into my mouth or the first ripe tomato to add to my lunch salad.

The life of my dreams isn't just about a job or role. It's enjoying the moments before my workday begins and after my workday is completed. It's finding joyous or peaceful activities for downtime or weekends. It's noticing the beauty of a sunset. It's taking in the aroma of the first cup of coffee on a cold morning. It's reading a story on a lazy Sunday afternoon that calls to mind far-in-the-past times. It's trying a new craft or baking cookies with my kids or writing here. 

I think I am on the path to having the life of my dreams, one where I don't feel the constant need to escape from it.

You may be wondering about the photo above. Keeping the produce gardens is a big part of my role right now. I spent a couple of hours in the hot sun preparing a new spot for growing blueberries next year. It was hard and very sweaty work. Towards the end, I certainly was not having fun. So I rewarded myself with a visit to the front yard pumpkin and sunflower patch when I finished the bit of work with a saw. My reward? Seeing the first of the sunflowers open its yellow petals. This made my heart smile.

Are you living the life of your dreams? If so, how did you get there? If not, what changes would you want to make to have the life of your dreams?


  1. Another aspect of what you're describing is living in the present - meaning it doesn't do any good to keep going over difficulties from the past or worries about the future. That doesn't mean that we won't do that, it just means that if we are finding what we like in the present, we won't have time to worry so much. And won't miss the good things that are happening here and now. One of the things I say a lot is, "The Present is the Present," (or Now is the gift.)

    I too am an introvert and don't have desire for a lot travel. However, I have found that a new environment/experience is always good for a reset to my mind. Getting away to an entirely new place does that better than anything else that I have found. Of course travel can be expensive, so for now, we're doing a staycation for the next few days and exploring some areas we've been meaning to see. It won't be a total refresh, but it will be good to break our routine and sleep in our own beds at night. Since we now have flexibility to our schedule, we will probably do some kind of travel this fall when the prices go down. In the meantime, I will enjoy a blooming flower, a ripe tomato, watching the busy birds in the morning, or a joke with my husband. I think the older one gets, the easier it is to notice the little things like that.

  2. Have you been listening in on my conversations, lol? My husband and I were discussing this exact topic two to three days ago also around the "create a life that you don't need to escape from" meme. I told him that I feel like we're *mostly there. That's not to say I don't ever want to "get away", but also that I don't dread my daily life, either. I would much rather spend my time in the garden producing the most nutritious (and affordable!) foods for my family, than to work for someone else, especially at a low-wage job. I really appreciate the more leisurely-paced "schedule" I often follow at home (though some days are also anything but!). And am grateful for being home when my autoimmune issues kick up and I'm tired and not feeling well, sometimes just for a few days, but sometimes for weeks at a time. Most of our current getaways involve us just getting away from life with 4 teens at home and having time to be a couple, or me going out to backpack, because, as a I call it, that's how my soul breathes. And we've chosen to have fun or interesting experiences together rather than to purchase material gifts (my husband and I, not the kids).

    I enjoy pausing for a moment in my bedroom window (after maybe folding a load of laundry) to watch a hummingbird visiting my garden out back. Or to take a short nap in the afternoon after getting up extra early to walk in order to beat the heat. To go out and just walk around observing and picking cucumbers in the garden while letting the ducks out of their pen for a little while to find insects to nibble. To crochet or knit while listening to an audible book after accomplishing my morning tasks. Small joys throughout the day, week, and year.

    1. Ugh, Cat again, sorry. Still can't get my google account to sign in here.

  3. I think what you are describing Is a feeling of contentment. It’s a great thing when we are content with what we have and where we are. I see people in real life and online who are constantly looking to buy that next great thing, or justifying to themselves why they “need” things-anything from clothes, to gadgets, to cars and toys. Travel Is great, if you enjoy that. I like to say that I have been everywhere I want to go, and a few places I wish I had skipped lol. 2 of my kids used to live in AZ and New Mexico, so Every few months I’d go down there for a couple weeks, and visit each of them. They have both moved back now so I don’t get my two week break from my mundane life, but that’s ok. Dh and I haven’t gone anywhere in 3 years, and that’s fine by me. I do enjoy a weekend getaway with my daughters now and then, but mostly I am happy right where I am.


  4. I agree with Diane that you seem to be describing a life of being content with what you have. Mostly I think I am, although occasionally something will happen to trigger a sense of the green-eyed monster. Over the weekend, a coworker showed me a picture of the lovely home she purchased and I had a few moments of feeling envious. For me, that is usually a signal that I need to remember the many blessings that I do have and to take time to enjoy those blessings.

    We are leaving Saturday for our vacation and I am excited! I love to travel, and I love to come back home again with the fun memories of travel. Part of why we live simply is to allow us to afford a yearly trip to a neat location. There is something about being in a different locale, without the pressures of everyday life, that changes the dynamic of our family interaction. When I was caring for my elderly mom, it was the only way that I was able to get a breather. People are much more hesitant to contact you if you are out of town, and I was constantly being called/texted/emailed about things regarding her care. I was very willing to help out, but being somewhere where I didn't fear hearing the phone ringing (often with bad news) was good for my mental health.

  5. I do get the feeling of wanting to escape and explore, in fact just a few nights ago. I do grow weary of the same routine, which has been my downfall. Fortunately, we survived our work years and can now pretty much do what we want everyday. Every night, husband and I say to each other, "another retirement day comes to an end" just to express our gratitude for the luxury of time that we currently have. As I grow older, I put fewer demands on myself, and feel taking care of ourselves and our needs is all that should be required minimally. I don't know what happened to the good old days when the tempo of life was easy, predictable and slow. I yearn for that, thankfully we have those memories circa the 60s so I try to be in that space as often as I can. I don't know if there is a message here but as difficult as life can be sometimes,, we have to make the mental adjustments to carve our own peace and happiness.

    Peace and love,

  6. Thank you, all, for sharing your thoughts. This has just been something on my mind these last couple of years. Then I kept seeing different variations on this theme in memes and such. I appreciated reading what you thought about this.


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