Finding your vacation gateway

Karl Teel

As I cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, that’s where it happens.

At that point, I transition from the first part of my trip, leaving the office and familiar home turf, and officially enter that second portion of the trip, the “I am on the approach to my vacation” zone. It serves as a gateway, both geographically as well as psychologically.

There are many such gateways I’ve recognized over the years. The aforementioned is my beach gateway, but I have a few mountain ones, too.

Route 70 West, crossing Frederick, Md., is my gateway to parts of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Heading south from I-66, the hustle and bustle of metropolitan D.C. gives way to farmlands and rolling hills as the Shenandoah Valley welcomes me, with mountains to the left and right, just like a pair of open arms. I can almost hear the mountains say, “We’ve been waiting for you.”

Heading to points further north, it’s passing New York City. The interesting granite formations along the highway become less and less altered by graffiti artists as more and more tree-lined outcroppings conjure images of the beauty that lies beyond in New England.

On journeys further out, different gateways exist. Airport traffic, parking shuttles, security check lines, baggage lines, and the general cattle rush clearly seem to represent the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day lives we are seeking to escape. At what point does your vacation really start to feel like a vacation?

Is it when you get that first cocktail in a lounge or on the plane? Is it after landing? After claiming your luggage?

For me, it’s after I arrive at my room, drop the luggage on the floor, and plunk my butt down on the bed, even if it’s just for a few moments. It’s a time of transition. It’s that gateway where you depart the workaday humdrum and stress and glide into that relaxed zone where your daily menu contains tantalizing items to select from.

Scientists still can’t exactly tell us why humans need to sleep or what happens in your sleep biologically. All they know is that, without enough, your health fails.

Vacations, getaways, and time off hold similar qualities. How many times have you been consumed on a project and start to get less and less efficient until you stop, get up, walk away, and do anything to flush your mind so you can return with renewed clarity and energy? We all need that. Studies repeatedly show that those who fail to take vacations are substantially less productive workers than those who do. If that wasn’t the case, our capitalist system of commerce would have eliminated that facet of life long ago.

So, when are you taking your next vacation or getaway? Where is your gateway, geographically or psychologically, and are you ready to cross over to the other side? Relaxation, adventure, fun, family time, and a host of positives await you. You need it. And so do your co-workers. Enjoy!

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