John O’Leary shares the real magic within vacation; the reminder that the little things, aren’t.
Because of a speaking engagement with my friends at Marriott Vacations Worldwide, last week I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii.
After cashing in a bunch of airline miles, I was fortunate to bring my family along to create special memories in Maui. We reveled in its unmatched natural beauty and lived the spirit of Aloha. It was simply awesome.
While thinking through all the things we did together during our trip, though, a comment from one of my children reminded me that sometimes it’s not the big things that matter most.
Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, it’s actually the little things that matter most. Let me explain.
On our flight back home, one of my boys and I made a list of all the cool things we did together. I asked which was his favorite memory.
Was it snorkeling and seeing sea turtles?
Watching the sunset from a sailboat?
A Luau on the beach?
A car trip to a volcano?
The real magic within vacation isn’t the money spent, hours trekked our meals eaten, but rather it is this.
The highlight didn’t involve an extravagant day trip. It wasn’t a delicious meal on the beach. And it wasn’t even the epic, gorgeous, and utterly perilous drive his dad took them on. (One we were just grateful to survive! Search Kahekili Highway… you’ll understand why surviving a childhood gasoline explosion now ranks as the second hardest thing I’ve ever gotten through!)
So what was his highlight?
“Dad,” he said. “I think the best part of the trip was playing cards with you.”
So, we just used all of our airline miles, flew 12 hours, had a once in a lifetime adventure to Hawaii for a week… And his highlight was playing cards?!
His point, wasn’t that the trip wasn’t awesome. The deep suntan and constant smile as we chatted on the flight home made that clear. It’s just that he found the very best was in the simplest of things.
My friends, as vacation season begins it might be worth considering what a truly perfect one looks like. We worry about getting to the perfect place, hoping for perfect weather, having a perfect time. But before you load the minivan, board a plane or enjoy a staycation, consider what truly matters most.
While the places we go and the people we meet certainly matter, what matters even more is often less noteworthy and perhaps more important. The most remarkable of vacations are the ones where you are fully present with the ones you love most.
So let’s take a lesson from my son. In slowing down, being present, giving and getting individualized attention, and sharing an experience with someone we love. That is the magic of vacation.
He just happened to be playing cards in Hawaii when it happened.
And looking back on everything else we did as a family, that was my favorite part of the vacation, too.
This is your day. Live Inspired.