Passports & Pineapples

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” – Unknown

She steps off of the plane and breathes in the fresh, salty air. She already feels at home. Looking at her passport, she is stoked to get another stamp on her slowly progressing travel journal. Grabbing her luggage off of the conveyor belt, she is immediately greeted by the sights of palm trees with tropical flowers blooming all around her. A lei, composed of bright lilies filled with colors of white, pink, and purple lay precariously around her neck. And she smiles. The sky, as the sun begins to set over the mile long beach, is painted in vibrant gold, orange, pink, and red. This is a scene out of paradise, a portrait that only our Creator could present, she thinks. A wide smile forms across her face as she walks with the flow of the ocean. Calm. At ease. Without a care in the world.

Starfish and seashells line the shore, and one by one she picks up the most unusual and pointed shells for her collection. With a soft breeze blowing gently through her hair, off in the distance she hears a school of dolphins swim by. She can’t help but identify with those majestic creatures. She feels as happy, as playful, as free, and as beautiful as those dolphins, and she simply wonders, why? Why had she waited all of this time to experience the joy of relaxation? Why had she waited so long to explore the world around her? She suddenly began to realize that there was more to life than bills, money, weekly office meetings, and daily planners. She realized that trading in her high heels and silky blouse (with that classic black skirt) for a pair of flip-flops and a long sundress was the freedom that she never knew she longed for. In the morning – at least for a week – she would trade in her usual five cups of coffee and an everything bagel, for a bowl of fresh fruit and freshly squeezed pineapple juice, or perhaps, a mimosa or two. She didn’t know, but she didn’t have to know…that was the beauty of vacation. She could escape her high-profile corporate life back home and be whoever she wanted to be. She could live in the present for a change, without worrying about deadlines or meetings or conference calls or the stresses of everyday life.

As the sun now kisses the tip of the ocean, she closes her eyes, leans her head back, and lets her feet squish together in the grain of white sand…

Did my short story excerpt make you want to leave the world behind and travel? Yes? GOOD! That’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. No? Well, then, read it again.

Did you know that every year millions of Americans choose – yes, that’s right, I said choose to leave behind unused vacation days? Um…what? WHY? Well, between work, children, extracurricular activities, finances, etc., it is easy to overlook the importance of self-care and restoration.

It’s time to reverse that… in my opinion!

January, the Mondays of the year. The free trial period. The month of new beginnings. Yes, January has been dubbed many things, but in the travel industry, January is known for a couple of things – Disney month, and….wait for it, National Plan for Vacation month! In fact, January 30 is now a day that has been declared for planning a vacation!

The purpose for this is to get people motivated and start thinking about planning their vacations, and for people to realize the importance of actually using their vacation time!

As a former travel agent, I know that vacations are very important to families of all ages and sizes. Vacations bring people together in ways like never before. Families and friends make one-of-a-kind memories that are strictly unique to them. People have a chance to relax, rejuvenate, and escape the pressures of every day life. I don’t think it’s a secret that a vacations bring people happiness. And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a little bit of happiness and rest in today’s world?

But, one of the keys of planning a successful and relaxing vacation is to plan early. January is the perfect time to explore all of your options. Decide where you would like to go, and just go. In the words of one of my friend Alyssa, “Buy the damn plane ticket!”

Feeling like you need a little vitamin sea? A cruise or resort it might be! Are you a history buff? Love to learn? Love different cultures? Europe might be in store for you! Love nature? Love the wild outdoors? Alaska, or hey, even the Northern Lights in Iceland would be perfect for you! Would you like to be filled with so much magic that you glow pixie dust? Bibbidi Bobbiti Boo! Make your Disney dreams come true!

Whatever you prefer…book it. Life is short. Nobody who was on their death-bed ever said “I wish I spent more time at work.” Bring a little passports and pineapples, sunsets and flip-flops, or pyramids and palm trees to your life!


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