Making Your Vacation an Adventure of a Lifetime

by Derrick G. Jeter

This was a fun, little article of mine recently published in Insight for Living’s newsletter.

I fell in love in the backseat of my parents’ 1974 Ford station wagon . . . in love with the mountains, I should say—a love affair that continues to this day. And it all began on a family vacation.My dad was a biology teacher, so my two sisters and I didn’t grow up with Disneyworld memories. Trips to the beach and deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or hiking in Red River, New Mexico, were the stuff of our vacations. But in my childlike imagination, that station wagon, stuffy and cramped with luggage and siblings, was like a magic carpet whisking me away to otherworldly adventures.

I eventually traveled to many far-flung places, but memories of those family trips are some of my most treasured; not because they were exotic or expensive, but because my parents encouraged a couple of biblical principles that made every vacation an adventure of a lifetime—principles that can make your vacations like ours.

First, people are more important than places, so focus on your family and friends. Before departure, read brochures and travel books together and talk about the places you’ll visit. Once you arrive at your destination, don’t send the kids in one direction while you go in another. Muster the courage, swallow hard, and ride the rollercoaster of terror. Absorb yourself in historical sites and revel in the beauty of nature. But do it together, remembering to consider others “as more important than [yourself]” and not looking “out for your own personal interests [only], but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4).

Second, vacations are for fun and rest, so “unplug” and recharge your batteries. A vacation is not a business trip. Leave your laptop at home and let your cell phone ring. Give your heart something it hasn’t known in a while, joy, and your face something it hasn’t done in a while, smile (Proverbs 15:13). Sleep late. Or get up early and watch the sunrise in quietness. Sit by a fire. Read a good book. But don’t try to see and do everything, only to wish you were back at the office to rest. That’s not a vacation—that’s a marathon. Follow Jesus’ example when He said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest” (Mark 6:31 MSG).

That day I fell in love with the mountains taught me a valuable lesson: It’s not how you travel—whether in the backseat of a station wagon or flying first class—or where you go—Disneyworld or Red River—but that you make each vacation an adventure of a lifetime by focusing on your loved ones and taking time for fun and relaxation.

Taken from Derrick G. Jeter, “Making Your Vacation an Adventure of a Lifetime,” Insights (July 2007): 2. Copyright (c) 2007 Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.