I recently took a deep dive into an wonderful adventure that was simplistic and yet so profound that when it was time to come up for air, the only thing I could say is, “I don’t want to go home.”
I’m recovering from a period of suspension of must do, daily activities of everyday living. In other words, I’m talking about a vacation – where I enjoyed rest and relaxation in an atmosphere conducive to leisure. Moreover, like a child happily playing on the school playground, it was like a recess for me, a time to chill, take a break, relax and, as Lional Richie sang, “Easy Like Sunday Morning.”
In addition, a road trip to the tourist hot spot of Branson, MO., from St. Louis with my wife, daughters and young granddaughters, ages 9, 8 and 3, was just plain fun. Pizza for breakfast, why not. Fruit snacks, too. In the pool every day? Let’s get wet and splash a bit. And playing Uno with the kids and two-handed Spades with the wife was fun. She wins almost every hand.
Remarkably, the Branson main strip is loaded with engaging attractions and activities like roller coaster rides – them not me; the Shanghai Circus, featuring amazing acrobats; the Hollywood Wax Museum, a hangout for Prince, Michael Jackson and of course, Elvis; the iconic Titanic Museum; King Kong on top of a skyscraper; and cafés and restaurants that fed you well, not to mention a grocery run to Walmart where one of my daughters made her version of the Philly Cheesesteak on Hawaiian Bread that were created in the condo’s fully equipped kitchen.
Branson, a 500 miles roundtrip about 45 minutes south of Springfield, MO., is people friendly. Diverse. And like a lot of things, Branson is still recouping from the pandemic. Visitors are returning. Tourism there is on the rebound, the locals and business owners I talked to say. It is a close to home getaway to visit.
The most fascinating part of my vacation, perhaps the most endearing, was the balcony in the high-rise resort that made my stay extraordinary. Every morning I was up at the crack of dawn, viewing the spectacular sunrise from the balcony of my condo. The Ozark mountain sprawling trees made for a breathtaking sight, a picture perfect and stunning portrait of God’s handiwork.
The crisp, bright and glowing sun lifts one’s spirit. My balcony experience refreshed my mind’s eye, allowing me to see more clearly with a sense of pleasure. It is good to be happy, like those “Happy Feelin’s” Frankie Beverly and Maze sang about. Vacationing is an opportunity to clear one’s mind, too, refreshing the thinking process, enabling one to examine that required “to do list” after vacation is over from a different point of view.
And then there was the peace, the serenity, the slowness of the motion. All this under the magnificent clear blue sky. The mountain air, clean, fresh, and pure. All is at peace. For four days, I was away from the noise of everyday life. What a beautiful balcony experience.
The morning of my departure, dense fog consumed the mountain. With Branson being some 800 feet above sea level, I was literally in the fog, giving me an astonishing perspective from seeing fog from ground level.
As we were packing up and preparing for checkout, my three-year old granddaughter voiced it well, “PawPaw, I don’t want to go home.”
Last, a vacation is what we all need to do regularly. A respite. Several articles I’ve researched about the value of vacationing draw the same conclusions about the benefits:
1. Improved physical health
2. Improved mental health
3. Greater well-being
4. Increased mental motivation
5. Improved family relationships
6. Decreased burnout
7. Boosted happiness
So, going forward, more vacations will be part of my “to do list.” I want to be like my granddaughter, who says, “I don’t want to go home.”