Oh, to get away. Just for a bit, nothing too extravagant, just a little me-time. Maybe for you, its the feel of sand beneath your toes. Maybe its the waking sound of birds chirping outside your window. Or maybe its having someone else do the cooking and the cleaning for a while. For each person, the reason is different. The reason that we tell ourselves that we need a little vacation, or a retreat from our lives, if you will. While these are all excellent reasons to get away, they are not the real reasons we seek a break from our personal life. What we may just be looking for is a virtual retreat.
I am in no way suggesting that a vacation away from the home is sometimes desired. There is no denying that the vacation business is a billion-dollar business. But what is the real, deeper desire for wanting to get away? What exactly is the travel agent selling you? Whether you go on a cruise, or go to an all-inclusive vacation, or you simply just go to a hotel a half hour away, you are essentially seeking the same thing. You just want to escape “real life” for a while.
For some, it may be wanting some time alone from the spouse and/or kids. For others, it may be some time away from the cubicle at work. For others still, it may just be some much needed time apart from social media, and the drain that it may put on you. Wait, social media? No, that’s not me. My friends post mostly positive things on there. That is the problem. Our friends mostly post all of the good things that is happening in their life on social media, and never the bad things that happen to them. If you see Friend A post a picture of the sunrise and her cup of coffee from her front porch while you are commuting to work, you become slightly jealous of her. Then, when you check in during lunch, you see Friend B posting pics of her newborn crawling on the floor, and you’re jealous of her because she’s at home. Then when you get home from your hard day of work, Friend C writes about how her mani/pedi was pushed back 10 minutes today, but she posts a picture of her pretty nails. You look at your nails, and envy builds up still. You only see the good, none of the bad, and you think your life is horrible since Friends A, B, and C all have “perfect lives.”
What if I were to propose a getaway, without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to go to your dream location? What if you could unplug, right from the comfort of your home? No trips to the airport, no long TSA lines, no waiting on the tarmac, no hassle of the hotel. Let’s face it, with all of the hustle and bustle of going away on vacation, you’re usually more tired and wore out when you come back than when you originally went away! Whenever we come back from somewhere, my spouse and I look at each other with tired eyes and ask each other why we even bothered traveling in the first place? After we get home, we usually just need a couple of days to get caught up on rest.
The virtual retreat is really gaining momentum lately. More people are getting in the movement lately, for different reasons. For some, its money issues. For others, leaving home for a while just isn’t feasible. You can either do it alone, with a friend, or with a group of others connected by phone or by some kind of video messaging app (like Skype). If you are doing it in a group, then most of the time the coach or leader will have some kind of schedule set up, and will sometimes mail you out something in advance. This could be an itinerary for the day, or it could involve something to help you relax your mind and body. Different coaches do different things. Some prefer a one-on-one coaching call, while others will Skype with the group as a whole once or twice throughout the day.
If you are going it alone, or with a friend, the idea is simple. Unplug your TV. Turn off your cell phone. Stay off social media. Don’t check your email. Turn off the radio. Get yourself into a quiet and serene place, and meditate. Clear your mind of all unwanted distractions. Think of your happy place, and meditate on that for a while. Consider the positive things in your life, and think of how you can enjoy them more of the time. Do some stretching and some yoga. Depending on the length of time that you have set aside for yourself, have a light meal or a light snack already prepared for you. Maybe you will want to take a long, hot bubble bath with candles lit. Maybe you want to have a masseuse come into your home and help you relax. Its your day, you decide what you want.
Whether you are a busy working professional, or you are a busy stay-at-home mom, we all need some time to ourselves to unwind. While there is nothing wrong with the occasional getaway, often times a virtual retreat is exactly what we need. A break from our everyday lives while saving hundreds of dollars in the process is definitely more relaxing to me.