There are a hundred reasons why you shouldn’t embark on your right now—but there are even more reasons why you should.
You need a vacation—there’s no disputing that. What is in dispute is whether you’ll actually take one. According to a 2017 study by Glassdoor, the average American worker uses barely half of their annual paid vacation time. Worse, even those who do take a vacation generally fail to use it for rest and relaxation. What are they doing instead, you ask?
Well, what do you do when you leave town for a few days?
Think through the steps of your last vacation. You made the reservation, endured the arduous flight, you arrived at the hotel, put down your luggage—and then what? You immediately checked your smart phone, of course. That’s what you do, even when you know you shouldn’t. The last thing anyone needs to do during a vacation is to watch their queue of emails multiply in real time.
It’s true the phone itself isn’t that big of deal. It’s not the main culprit. There’s only so much time you can spend checking your email or the weather.
It’s social media that’s the true soul destroyer. On social media platforms there’s always something else to click on, another rabbit hole to tumble down. There’s always something trending, some scandal emerging, a person’s life being ruined with a rumor or a dumb joke—the parade is always passing and urging you to join it.
Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, social media is undoubtedly an outlet that engages most online users. However, according to mental health consultants, social media has become an anxiety-provoking factor. In addition to attracting more anxious users, the University of Chicago found that it’s also “more addictive” than tobacco.
Overall, about 30 percent of those who use social media spend more than 15 hours per week online. This can greatly reduce your ability to enjoy real life. If you are spending several hours a day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you are not going to have enough time for things that really matter. You may have social media anxiety disorder and it can also affect your health, both physically and mentally.
And, habit is a hard thing to break. Not just the habit of being constantly online, but the habit of being incessantly busy, of somehow loving the stress of being so freaking important, of doing just one more thing before you finally let yourself relax.
It shouldn’t be this hard to take a vacation. And back in the day, it wasn’t. Taking a vacation meant really getting away from it all. You fled the city and the cares of workday life for a restful week of camping at the lake or national or state park and rediscovered the joys of roughing it.
Believe it or not, these rustic getaways are still possible. In this modern age of constant connectivity, they’re more necessary than they’ve ever been. That’s why we’ve pulled together a shortlist of five sites located within some of the country’s most beautiful, largely overlooked natural settings.
A visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a journey into the heart of the Florida’s Everglades ecosystem. Visitors will find a gentle, pristine wilderness that dates back about 600 years. A 2.25-mile boardwalk meanders through pine flatwood, wet prairie, around a marsh and finally into a large old growth Bald Cypress forest.
Cumberland Island National Seashore includes one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. This Georgia Park is home to a herd of feral, free-ranging horses. Most visitors come to Cumberland for the natural glories, serenity, and fascinating history.
If you really want to experience nature, Congaree National Park in South Carolina is a perfect place to go. Home to one of the tallest deciduous forest canopies on earth, it offers great bird watching and wilderness tours. For those feeling more adventurous there is also kayaking, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and even camping. There are tons of trees to delight in, and you’ll feel super connected to the planet.
A little known valley filled with sandstone formations and starry night skies is located in the southeastern corner of Utah out of the way of the main national park loop. To drive through the Valley of the Gods you will take a 17-mile, unpaved loop. Similar to Monument Valley, but only a quarter of the size, it remains quiet and peaceful.
Go back to a bygone age and take a horse and buggy ride in Amish Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The area offers tours, museums, children’s activities such as doll-making, and, of course, buggy rides. It’s an excellent opportunity to disconnect from technology and see how a resilient, devout group of people get by just fine without everyone’s favorite ladies, Alexa and Siri.
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.