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The Most Important Part of Any Vacation AKA We are going to Lima, Peru!

Travel is Good for the Soul

It’s been a rough twelve months, the kind of slow slog when a series of difficult things occur in a delicate string of dominoes. You’ve probably had such a time. You felt worn down by the onslaught of stuff, one thing after another, that inevitably wears at the psyche.  You felt battered by the end, but with time hopefully realized you were damn lucky if you still had options.

In my world, it’s been my spouse who was hit with illness this past year—and one issue after another followed, summing up to the kind of medical details that shatter the illusion that health is a static state of being. Thankfully, we are doing fine now, you could call us fortunate, but it has been an ordeal.  

In addition, the last two years I made the right and joyful choice to care fulltime for our grandson who will transition to childcare soon. I’m grateful I was able to make the commitment to our family, but it meant cutting back on the progress with projects in my business.

These last 12 months, I’ve felt I was in the trenches of daily life and realized recently that it had been awhile since I’d planned for a treat to look forward to; not a goal, but something meant to be pure enjoyment. I needed to create and prepare for something within my control, a date on the calendar to prepare for.

PLANNING FOR A TRIP

That’s when I decided I’d visit my daughter Alexandra in Lima, Peru. She lives there and we’ve gone a few times, so it wouldn’t be a destination trip for sightseeing, rather a chance to break from routine and see our daughter, which I love to do.

I planned on early December to avoid the high airfares associated with the holidays. David will be teaching so he can’t make the trip, but Alexandra and I planned to make it a session of brainstorming Storied Gifts Shop and a content strategy for our businesses for next year. I felt there was nothing wrong with a working vacation in sunny Peru with my daughter to gaze upon.

About the time I made the decision, my sister-in-law expressed an interest in going to see her niece and check out the city Alexandra loves so much. With her on board, it seemed appropriate to ask our dearest friend to join in the fun so that the three of us could experience a girl’s vacation together.

This has changed the purpose of the trip, and thus heightened the experience anew.

We have talked and planned together, held conference calls and compared research. Alexandra is a resident, so she’ll be our expert guide, and seeing the city through her eyes will enrich our understanding of Lima as well. What will we see? What will we do? What will we wear? All of this preparation has become part of the fun.

Our friend suggested employing the Hopper app so we could keep an eye on airline fares. It was exciting to see the prediction of when it would be best to buy our tickets. We will travel to Chicago because flying out of Des Moines is more expensive. We will take off early in the morning on a Monday and drive together to Chicago before getting on our first flight.

While in Lima, we will do tourist things. On our list is seeing the Huaca Pucllana Temple built in 400 AD by the ancient Lima people. Our dust will merge with ancient times. We’ll also check out the boardwalk and the many beautiful parks in several of the districts of the city, including Barranco, known for being a center for art and its proximity to the shoreline. This will include a walk on the Bridge of Sighs down to the Pacific Ocean.

We’ll stay in a beautiful and affordable Airbnb in the San Isidro district where Alexandra lives. Of course, we’ll eat our way all over the city known for great dining, and enjoy renowned dishes such as ceviche, anticuchos, causa, ají de gallina and lomo saltado.

My favorite spot to see each time is Central Lima founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. It’s the area of the city that shows off the Spanish colonial influence with old government buildings, churches and streets lined with brick.

Planning for a vacation is different from one traveler to the next. I prefer to take in little snippets of information about the places I visit, but generally don’t spend too much time in guidebooks or perusing the internet. That said, sharing the trip with friends who have not been there before has upped my interest in doing more study ahead of time.

Over at Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Funds, Candice Gaukel Andrews explains how the planning can be the best part of a trip and extend the joy of the experience. In studies featured in the article “Anticipation is the Happiest Part of a Travel Journey,” Andrews explains that there is a link between planning for something in the future and a greater sense of general happiness, especially true when associated with the investment in an experience rather than things.

ANTICIPATION IS KEY

A quick check on the definition of the word tells us anticipation is a noun meaning to “eagerly wait for something, a nervous expectation for an event on the horizon.” Of course, when we plan for a vacation, we hope and predict that all will fall into place, but it is the dreaming ahead of time, reading articles and talking about our trip which extend the delight before we even depart.

In the article “The Power of Anticipation: Why We All Need Something to Look Forward To,” Steven Handel explains that anticipation is vital to our sense of wellbeing because, while living in the present is important, we need to have hope for the future as well.

Anticipation for what’s ahead helps us to navigate the routines of our “now.” And it needn’t be a big trip or major event to benefit from the good vibe of anticipation. Handel explains that by identifying and creating small rewards in our near-term we assist in propelling ourselves toward goals.

Is there a piece of chocolate in my future once I finish this article? You bet!

The anticipation of rewards goes hand-in-hand with the use of mini habits, which I’ve discussed before. Once you complete your small attainable goal for several weeks at a time, why not infuse a treat to recognize your success? Your journal, that best friend and companion, is a useful tool to note the journey and your feelings along the way.

I circle back around now to the notion of options. If you have the ability to plan for a future, I think the benefit can enhance your present so much more. It is in having options and the ability to plan for tomorrow that reminds us all of life is a journey. Each day is worthy of being infused with more anticipation for as many little things as we can imagine. We don’t know about tomorrow even if we plan for it, but we can live off the sweet elixir of hope.  

Carly Simon brings that message home in her song Anticipation. “And tomorrow we might not be together, I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways. So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now, and stay right here ‘cause these are the good old days.”

So, as long as we are here and considering a future and the journey of our lives, we are fortunate indeed. The stops along the way make the trip to the destination that much richer.   

 Recognizing you have options is a good thing. If you want to wear it as a badge of truth check out this shirt!

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