Vacation Vision and Values

Whew! If I were any more relaxed I’d be in a coma.

My husband and I have just returned from a pretty-much-perfect week’s vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

We stayed in a resort built, as one might imagine in Mexico, with the prerequisite stone, ceramic tile and wrought iron railings. Our particular condo was perched four stories above the street on a steep hill at the edge of town.

In addition to the daily exercise provided by climbing the 120 stairs to our balcony, built-in active living was also provided by a lovely and quiet pool located two stories up - a mere 36 steps. 

Even the weather cooperated with awesome sunrises, sunsets, and days that were consistently sunny and hot. 

The beach was beautiful, the people were lovely, the food was inexpensive and delicious, I read five books, and my husband learned to make a mean margarita. It was all good.

However when we first started planning two months ago, that kind of vacation outcome seemed pretty remote. Our start was rough as we got bogged down by the literally hundreds of choices made possible as the result of us trading our timeshare.  Previous vacation decisions had been much simpler as they only involved selecting from campgrounds or ski resorts within driving distance. Being empty nesters brought one more new challenge our way.

So, not knowing what else to do, my husband and I began, as we would with any other kind of planning, by talking about the vision and values we wanted for our time together.

I don’t mean vision in the mystic sense of the word. I mean vision as in, “What would a successful vacation look like”?  It is a deceptively simple question yet a great way to begin any planning process…..What would successful retirement look like? What would a successful organization look like? What would a successful community look like?

Asking a question to get you thinking about success is a good way to get to a vision or what the experts describe as “a mental image of a future desired state”.

In the case of our vacation planning, it turns out my husband and I were pretty much on the same page.

Not having had a vacation last summer – we moved across the country instead – we both agreed this vacation needed to be about relaxing on a beach in a warm climate.

Since our values also don’t place a high priority on luxury, we looked for a place that was nice but not overly extravagant and also provided the option of cooking our meals if we chose to do so.

Having only a week, we also decided we didn’t want to spend a lot of time traveling so looked only for destinations that had a direct flight, preferably provided by our absolutely favourite airline - WestJet.

The vision and values that started to emerge as the result of our discussion were meaningful for us and also served as filters that ultimately led us to choose Cabo San Lucas.

The vision also allowed us to meet and solve the all of the challenges and problems required to put our vacation goals in place.

Perhaps though, the most important part of having a vision and the positive expectations it reflected, was that it simply made us more hopeful and optimistic that the outcomes would be good. Even when those darned nearby roosters started welcoming each morning at a totally uncivilized hour, our vacation vision somehow made it all much easier to absorb.

The planning process worked so well, we’ve already started talking about our next vacation. Maybe, just maybe, planning doesn’t have to be quite so complicated after all.

Posted on 04-13-08

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