Summertime Shake-up

My daughter Eilise hanging out in Vietnam.

My daughter Eilise hanging out in Vietnam.

My daughter Eilise hanging out in Vietnam

School’s out and that means summer is in full swing. The season of barbecues, flip flops, long days, and vacations is upon us and here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re abuzz with anticipation. To me, the promise of summer means living with all my doors and windows open, walking around barefoot, lounging in the sun with a good book and the occasional nap, and of course, lots of outdoor activities. Back when my daughter was in school, I’d plan many summer getaways to go camping, hiking, kayaking, biking and swimming and we spent a lot of time driving around the Pacific Northwest, exploring our own backyard.

One summer when my daughter was eight or nine we rode our bikes around the beautiful Timothy Lake – all 13 miles of it! She was a real trooper as the terrain full of rocks on the trail in the last three miles was torture for her. We laugh about it now and call it character building, because even though it was way beyond her capabilities at that age and skill level, she did it. That’s what travel and adventure is all about – pushing yourself to find new limits and trying things you never thought you would do.

I love to travel – always have and always will. Travel has been so good for me in so many ways; I’ve discovering new things, new places and experienced how other cultures live and thrive. I enjoy testing my limits and challenging myself on my adventures and I’ve been known to be a daredevil a time or two!

Traveling and going on adventures is so important because it gets us out of our routines and schedules. Doing too much of the same thing only breeds habits that may or may not be healthy for us. This summer I’d like to encourage all of you to travel; whether you venture to a nearby lake for a few days of swimming and hiking, or you jet across the globe on a cross-cultural endeavor, take some time to explore and create adventures for yourself.

Throw away all your excuses that you’ve come up with to not travel over the years. Believe me, I’ve used them all myself and not taken opportunities because of them: “It’s too expensive, I don’t have enough time off from work, I wouldn’t know where to go, I don’t know how to speak the language, My family wouldn’t be able to function without me for that long.” I promise you this- every time I’ve found a way to work around my excuse and taken an opportunity to travel and venture out into the world, I’ve never once regretted it. They may not have all been easy or simple to pull off, but when I look back at my adventures I only remember the good things- the interesting and unusual things, the things that challenged me, and the things that took my breath away.

If you’re feeling fearful or doubtful about travel (and you’re not alone in feeling that way), remember that traveling simply cannot be a waste or time or money. Traveling and seeing new places and cultures opens you up to new ideas, possibilities and connections to yourself in so many different ways. Even the negative experiences are character building, just ask my daughter! Humans are curious creatures, we aren’t mean to stay put in one place for too long; If we were, we would be trees.


10 Tips for Planning your Summer Travel:

1. Make a list of all the places you’d like to visit. Consider putting them in order of priority or feasibility.

2. Put money away for a trip every week or put a portion of your paycheck into a special travel fund.

3. Make your weekends count! It can be tempting to catch up on work and errands every weekend, but make sure you take a few summer weekends to get out and explore.

4. Do this exercise: On the left side of a piece of paper, make a list of all the excuses you use that stop you from traveling.

5. On the right side of the paper, be honest with yourself and write what the real truth is for each excuse. We often create roadblocks in our minds that can be overcome with the right mindset.

6. Create a vision board for your next trip. Collect pictures and start researching places to stay and things to do to keep yourself motivated to get there.

7. Sign up for Skyscanner alerts – they notify you when airfare prices to your choice destination drop.

8. Start saving money! Consider ways you can cut back on your spending habits like packing your lunch instead of buying it or switch out your car for your bike while the weather’s warm and sunny.

9. Sign up for a credit card that gives you frequent flyer miles as a reward.

10. Focus on expanding your life instead of contracting. Traveling is a wonderful way to do this.

Eilise Ward