I feel so blessed that our family has so many vacation stories. We’ve been on some incredible adventures all around the world. In our 4 years of living in a SE Asian country that was a major travel hub, I had to have pages added to my passport twice. It’s one fat and happy passport. It’s also a bit lonely now that we live back in the US. I think I hear it crying out to me from the safe at times, “Use me! Use me! I’m lonely!”. Our family has always places a high value on vacations. We’d rather go and do things than have stuff. Anywhere from rustic camping to glamping, to cabining (camping in a cabin), to 0-star to 2-star hotels to 5-star hotels… vacations are a big deal.
Vacation ads offer us the promise of relaxing on a beach, reaching new elevations in the mountains, fun in the sun, much needed alone time, much needed family time, following and even fulfilling our dreams, that the only thing on our to-do list is to gaze at the stars, taking a nap. I’m guessing the promise of a nap might outweigh any of these others for some of us. These ads are clever and they cause us to make those reservations, but these ads are also true.
I love getting away from it all. Often, a planned getaway is what actually helps me stay in my day. I can usually face anything as long as a vacation is in my future. Going somewhere that I not remembering what I came to forget. Leaving it all for a few days or weeks, leaving the realities of life, breathing new air and shutting down. I love being in the mountains or sitting by a lake with absolutely nothing on my to-do list besides read a book or gaze at the stars. This is not normal life so we do have to go back to reality at some point in order to pay for these vacations, but leaving it all behind for a moment is both totally okay and healthy. Getting out of our daily routine often helps us regroup and maybe even see parts of our routine that are unnecessary or things we could eliminate from our rat race that we just don’t hold such a priority on anymore but hadn’t had a chance to notice. It’s always a good thing to step out of our situation and see it from a different perspective and I can’t think of a better perspective than a vacation. Disclaimer: I must say that I know full well how some vacations do not produce smiles – at least not in the moment. Some just don’t go according to plan. Some just outright gut punch your plan. That being said, some of our worst vacation experiences have become some of our favorite and funniest stories.
I’ve long been captivated by vacation smiles. They are just the best. (Maybe the only thing better would be grandma smiles but that’s another story for another day. I’m totally resisting the urge to post a pic of my adorably perfect grandson here!) They are the times when the whole face smiles. I see pictures of people who don’t normally smile much in their daily lives beaming with their huge vacation smiles and it makes me happy. Smiles are contagious. Smiles are the product of a cheerful heart. They can come from a fishing pier on a lake in Arkansas or a fishing boat in Alaska, from a $5 camp chair in Texas or the quintessential spot on Brighton Beach (which is in the header photo, btw), from Surfside Beach or the Maldives, from the Rockies or the Remarkables.
Our story… My story… YOUR story… It’s about the journey AND the destination – and scooping up as many smiles as we can along the way. It’s about doing something or going somewhere out of your routine that will make your heart happy, so happy that it shows in your face.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful… Proverbs 15:13
Scoopin’ up some smiles here!! As I was putting together this post I asked a few of my friends on social media to share with me some of their favorite vacation smiles. And they did! And I’m so thankful! Seems I’m not the only one who loves vacations and the smiles they bring. Every one of these pictures makes me smile and “A cheerful heart is good medicine...” Proverbs 17:22
Click on the first pic to scroll through the gallery. Viewing the gallery may not work great on your mobile. There are quite a few pics so it may take some time to load. Thank you to all who shared their smiles with us!! I hope I got them all! If I missed any I’ll update the gallery. Feel free to leave comments on the photos. Prepare to share in some great smiles from vacations around the globe.
One of my sisters is famous for saying, “Bet I can make you smile.” Well, did I make you smile? I sure hope so.
A few of the photos have been provided by friends with blogs. I wanted to share their sites and vacation posts with you. Give them a read. Perhaps they will inspire.