How Living Lithely Can Make for Better Vacation!!
A long time ago, a friend was going away for a three week vacation. I offered to check her apartment, pickup the mail, make the place look occupied, the usual. Now, I understand the rush that can happen before taking off on such an extended trip, the running around, the packing, the finalizing plans, but when I walked in the front door of that apartment, I was shocked at the chaos and the mess and the smell and the trash cans filled with garbage. Imagine going away for three weeks and coming back to that mess. Ashtrays filled with butts, milk in the fridge, coffee cups filled with coffee and cream. I had an urge to surprise my friends by tidying up a bit, not cleaning, but at least taking out the trash, dumping the milk, loading the dishwasher, but I shook of the urge after thinking, if they don’t care why should I bother. This looked like weeks worth of clutter buildup beyond the usual life mess they lived.
I felt a bit guilty for not doing more then toss in the mail and turn of and on lights and the television and radio and putting the newpapers in the recycling bin, but I got over that pretty quickly. When I was growing up and we did a lot of traveling, my mother insisted the house be in order before we left- beds all made, clothes washed, dishwasher emptied, trash all taken out, and the house left tidy. This was for two day or two week adventures. It irked me at the time, and I never really appreciated coming home to the calmness she wanted. With clothes to wash, mail to sort, food to cook, shopping to be done, having an organized space to come back to was heavenly and allowed for more appreciation for the trip.
Imagining coming back from a three week vacation to a chaotic mess, well, I couldn’t. And imagine trying to get ready for a trip amongst all that daily mess.
When my girls were little and we were getting ready for a trip, I also readied the house for our return. Cleaned the fridge, did a quick wipe down of the bathrooms, did the laundry, I wasn’t neurotic about it, it was a surface kind of power cleaning, but when we came home, it was very easy to unpack, and get back into the daily groove. Putting the travel clothes away was easy, as we separated the dirty from the clean as we used them. Suitcases, and other travel items were all stored away within a couple of days.
Now when I travel, because my life and home is pretty clean, organized, and my environment and practices are lithe, then there isn’t much to be done before I go. I never let the clutter build up. I do what I power cleaning once a day, I spend 15 minutes putting things back in order, dog leashes, trash out, keys in their place, devices being charges, 15 minutes can save triple that time.
And the same goes for preparing to travel. If you are doing a major trip, say to Europe, start preparing for the trip by spending a bit of time preparing your home. Clean the fridge, make a run to Goodwill, organize your papers, set up bills online, double check all the expiration dates on your various cards. Two days to a week before the trip, walk through your home and do a power pick-up. This is especially important if you are living with others, and wow, with kids, this is very important. School work, backpacks, school papers, sports gear, projects, should all be ready to go. Nothing worse then searching for soccer cleats for practice the day after coming back from a trip amongst all the travel piles. A week before we would leave, I made sure everyone knew what was happening for when they got back, so they got it all prepped- uniforms, library books, all ready for the “real world”.
I know we all get excited about the wardrobe, the luggage, the museums, and absolutely start looking at the fun stuff that goes along with travel, don’t forget the home and how wonderful it will be to come back to a calm serene home after an unforgettable trip.
My friend still lives chaotically when she travels, and seems be in panic mode, and always forgets something important. Maybe she likes the drama, maybe she doesn’t budget her time wisely, I am not sure why she chooses to travel with such stress, as it is a choice.
I am going to Seattle for three days next weekend, and I am very excited. I am bring my new put together lithe wardrobe (more on that after the trip) and am practicing mentally and physically living lithely while I travel. Take it as it comes, enjoy it as it happens, see what I can, and know that I am coming home to serenity and joy. And two very happy dogs!!
Travel lightly in all things,