It was sure a bitter cold evening, a fire was blazing in the fireplace, and we carefully sipped the hot toddies that we cupped in our hands. I was sitting between my beloved ex-mother and father-in-law on their tiny, well-worn loveseat. I listened intently to story after story of their many trips taken during their younger years.

Now in their early 90’s, their minds still sharp, together, they relived specific memorable experiences they had years ago on various trips they had taken around the world. They delighted in recalling the times they went to Ireland or Scotland or their beloved London. The photos helped them recall in vivid detail peoples names, conversations they had and even which hat she wore to dinner.

The stories never get old to them or to me. Reliving their travel experiences made them feel young, alive and so happy! Pulling out those old photo albums was one of our favorite thing to do together, especially since their ability to travel to distant places was no longer possible. Sitting squeezed together on that little yellow loveseat, listening to them relive their vacations as if it were yesterday is one of the sweetest memories of their many years together.

Mom and Gene lived with a Vacation Mindset every day of their lives. They were content with their stage of life. They knew they couldn’t actually travel to those far away places anymore. But, they also knew that at any given moment, they could choose to relive the feeling of excitement, adventure and aliveness simply by embracing a mindset of being on vacation every day.

This life lesson is particularly meaningful to me right now as I am just returning from a 30-day life-changing journey to the South of France where I worked 3 days and played 4 each week. Sitting on the plane, excited that I had unexpectedly been upgraded to Business Class, I realized I never wanted to lose that feeling of being on vacation. I never want to lose the experience of noticing the beauty all around me. I never want to lose engaging in each moment. And, I never want to lose the aliveness I feel when I live fully each day.

It occurred to me that like my elderly in-laws, I could actually choose to live with a vacation mindset everyday for the rest of my life and I didn’t have to be on the Mediterranean on the South of France. I could create vacation memories and moments in my own back yard. Opportunities are all around me to make my everyday list just as exciting as my bucket list.

Have you ever asked yourself:

What is it about being away on vacation that makes you feel so alive, carefree and excited about life?

What is different about you when you are on vacation – the way you think, act and respond?

Is it possible to feel like I’m on vacation each day?

Yes, you can. But, it will take some time and effort to practice this new vacation mindset.

Top 6 Secrets to Living a Vacation Mindset Everyday

  1. Recall one of your favorite vacations. Describe in detail where you were, who you were with, what you were wearing, what you were doing. If you have a photo, look at the photo as you are doing this exercise.
  2. Recall your favorite experience or moment. Describe in great detail as if you were reliving it now.
  3. Notice how you were feeling in that moment (i.e. excited, carefree, relaxed, grateful).
  4. What are you noticing about yourself? How were you being? How were you acting (i.e. curious, open, spontaneous, engaged, in the moment).
  5. List 10 ways that you could practice reliving those feelings in your everyday life (i.e. at home, in the office, when you are with your family, when you are driving to work, when you have time off).
  6. List at least 10 ways you will commit to reliving that Vacation Mindset today, this week for the rest of your life!

Vacations change us. If you never want to lost that feeling of being on vacation, if you never want to lose the person you become on vacation, then make it a priority to cultivate a Vacation Mindset so you can live it everyday.