A vacation in the mountains? It’s like winning the lottery
By Stephan Drew firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been several years since I took a vacation and spent some time “away from the world.” As you read this, I am halfway through a week’s “retreat” in a cabin my best friend and I rented in the mountains of North Carolina. We used to go to his family’s beautiful place on Lake Wateree from time to time but they sold it several years ago and we’ve been missing our “quiet” sabbaticals. I’ve been thinking about this getaway for several weeks now and I’m so glad it’s finally here! As many of you know, I’m not the most “outdoorsy” person. I love to walk around and look at nature but I don’t do any fishing, hunting or hiking. So why the mountains? Because I hate the heat just as much as I hate the bugs and it’s a lot cooler at this elevation. The high temperature all this week is supposed to be 65 degrees or cooler so it’s my perfect type of weather. It would really be nice if we had a little rain but I’m not about to complain. And I can’t wait to see God’s handiwork as the fall foliage changes colors! Packing for a trip has never been my forte’. I usually end up taking twice as much as I need, but even though I was never a Boy Scout, I was taught to “always be prepared.” I should change that motto to “always bring TOO MUCH!” I always bring my own sheets, pillowcases, towels and washcloths, soap, toilet paper, etc. But it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have, right? Yes, I have been accused of being a “pack rat” at times on trips but I really hate to arrive somewhere and realize I forgot something. As you can guess, that doesn’t happen to me very often. The buildup to the vacation can be just as exciting as the trip itself. I seldom take vacations so they are really a big event for me. That’s why I’m so excited about this one. Vacations are not just nice ways to treat yourself. They can serve as a way to recharge your batteries after a frustrating time dealing with the chaos and confusion of the real world. Many people think they’re a frivolous waste of money. I suppose, if you go crazy with your spending, they can be. Many people spend thousands of dollars at a theme park or major resort, riding every ride, eating every treat and buying every souvenir available. But I prefer a vacation that is “almost like home” except without the daily grind of a job, yard work, housecleaning, etc. Renting a lake house or mountain cabin is my idea of Heaven. All the peace and pleasures of home with none of the hassle. There are no rules while on vacation but isn’t that part of the fun? Go to sleep when you wish, wake up whenever you want and eat whatever you desire. Sitting out on the deck in the morning and sipping your coffee or hot cocoa while enjoying those beautiful mountain views. Truly, that has to be a “peace that passes all understanding.” I have always felt closer to God whenever I’m outside in the early morning. To me, that’s what the Earth was like when it was brand new. No pollution or loud noises, only the early morning mist surounding you and the animals waking up to thank God for another day and say “hello” to the world. No telephone ringing, no television blaring out bad news. No alarms sounding or any other noise reminding you that it’s time to start your day and get to work. Yes, a quiet week-long vacation in the mountains has got to be right up there with winning the lottery. As your eyes scan over the words in this column, I will be feeling like I’ve hit that jackpot. I know I’m having a fantastic time and I’ll be sure to tell everyone about it when I return to Darlington this weekend. But it was time for a break and some rest. After what we’ve all lived through the past 18 months, isn’t it time we ALL had a long vacation? Just to get away, refresh our tired minds and bodies and remind ourselves that everything really WILL be all right. Vacations are wonderful but they’re also necessary from time to time. I hope you have a nice one planned for yourself really soon! You sure do deserve it!