Unplug, unwind and make the most of your non-exotic vacation

I am writing to you from a Costa Rican beach with white sand in places that will not be mentioned. The cabana boy brings me another Baccalaurean delight just as I finish the first of many margaritas. My steamy summer novel is almost as hot as that tourist two towels over. This is the ideal way to spend a summer day ... if only it were true.

In reality, I sit in my parent’s backyard, my feet submerged in the semi-murky water of a kiddie pool. A rain cloud blocks the sun just in time to spoil any chance of a tan. That cabana boy? It’s really my mom peering over my shoulder wondering whether or not I will do anything productive today. And the steamy tourist is my little brother constantly texting all of his minions in his social media world.

We often think we need to go to extravagant places we have never been to in order have a decent vacation and break. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing yummy French men in Florence, tasting fresh pasta in Rome and sipping this years’ best chardonnay in Napa.

But I have also come to know that the best times are in the most simple locations. Our world constantly bombards our senses. Texts. Reminders. Calendars. Tweets. Facebook. Calls. Emails. Commercials. While we are more “productive” and “connected,” we have become more remote from ourselves.

In all honesty, all that is needed is a place where there are no electronic screens, no social media updates every six seconds and no constant hum of an air conditioner. We all need fresh air and open sky. No need for a crisp sea breeze or lodging in a Spanish speaking country. Just air, sky and some time absent from the constant bombardment of electronic communication our world has become so accustomed to. Time to breathe, time to just sit, time to not think about anything else other than being wholly where I am. No text from my friends, no Spanish Word of the Day notifications, no communication from anywhere other than what was right in front of me. Just me.

I don’t get to go on a “real” vacation this summer, so this time spent in my perfectly imperfect backyard is my vacation time. But I am content.

So whether you are spending your summer interning at a fancy company, taking classes at the local community college or working full time to save up for that big senior trip, just take some time to enjoy where you are. Take some time and disconnect. Stop wishing you were in Costa Rica and just be 100 percent in the moment of where you are. Because you don’t want to look back and just remember a summer of wishing for what you didn’t have. Rather, remember a summer where you enjoyed every day to the fullest. And to those of you who did or will take a great vacation ... well, aren’t you special.

Carolyn Dukes is a sophomore majoring in secondary education and Spanish.

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