Creativity is key to getting away

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Let's face it, with the high costs of gas and food in addition to demanding schedules that include trying to balance any combination of work, school, family, and everyday responsibilities, it is not uncommon that a lot of people are short on cash and time. But, that doesn't mean that vacations have to be put out of mind altogether. It just might take a little more thought, an adjustment in perspective, and a little creativity.

Sometimes we have to rethink what is really important. While long trips to the beach, the mountains, a private getaway, or even a spectacular theme park are all ideal for vacations, the cash and time you have available may not permit you to take these kinds of trips.Where you go is not nearly as important as the people you want to spend that time away with, right? So, why let a little thing like finances keep you and your partner or family from enjoying one another?

A couple once told me that sometimes as a "mini-vacation" they would drive to the Wal-Mart in their area and park in the parking lot and watch the cars pass by on the highway while having an ice cream cone and talking to one another about the little things that often get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of their busy lives. This couple spoke about how much peace and fulfillment they had found in those hours and in one another-in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. I remember thinking how profound that was for me.

If you are a couple without enough funds to vacation where you would like or parents who cannot afford to take your kids someplace wondrous for the summer, now is the perfect time to create your own "mini-vacation".

Maybe ice cream in the parking lot of Wal-Mart is not your thing, but maybe a night or two at a nice hotel (in town or a town over) away from home, work, and the kids, is. What about an old-fashioned picnic in the park while the children roam and play without a care in the world? How about rather than a trip to the beach, you take your family to a nearby lake for fun in the water.

Even educational places like a museum or the library can be a part of "mini-vacations" when you are creative and combine visits with a favorite snack or meal for the kids afterwards. If you cannot go out to the movies, bring the movies in to you. You can rent movies for less than two dollars per day and pick up some favorites from the grocery store and have a nice family movie night. You could camp out in your own backyard, build a fire and roast marshmallows, and tell stories. If you cannot go on a cruise, maybe you can rent a boat ride and go out on the water then follow that with a nice dinner and buy a little souvenir as reminder of the experience.

I think you get the point. There are a number of activities that don't actually cost much, but still achieve the goals of creating time away from the noise of everyday life and enjoying quality time with the ones you love. It is not where you go or even what you do, it is about being together or if you need a solo vacation, then, it's about taking time for yourself to enjoy yourself.

The couple said, "y'all young folk don't nothing about a thing like that", oh, but I did.

Vacations are not grand because of how much money you spend or how far you travel, it is about finding peace in what you have in the time that you have.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.