Zen is often touted as the way to inner peace. We have done some reading and studying about the “Zen Way” to a stress-free life. We also love to timeshare and take about 15 to 20 weeks of timeshare vacations every year. We think that our timeshare vacations can help lead all of us to a more “Zen- filled” life.
We brainstormed a list of some ways to practice the Zen philosophy on our vacations. There is some overlap, but here are some ideas to work on so you can experience some great timeshare vacations:
1. Keep it simple. It seems like the more complicated things are, the greater the stress. We like to use the KISS principle, which is “Keep It Simple Stupid”. We think that you need to plan less, so you can take time to enjoy your vacations. You do not need to see everything or get to every store, climb every mountain, and on and on. Also keep it simple in what you take, cut back on the amount of clothes and extra stuff that is just creating more than you need to deal with.
2. Be in the moment. Sometimes when we go on vacation, we engage in many job- related activities like email, texting, phone calls, etc. Granted, sometimes this is necessary, but try to limit it to maybe an hour a day. Then, forget it all! We also worry about things on the home front. This is harder, emotionally, to distance yourself from, but try to put things into perspective, and do the phoning, emailing and communicating once a day. Then, try to put yourself into the vacation, enjoy the timeshare you are staying in, enjoy the people you are with, enjoy the activities, the area around you, etc. Focus! You are lots of miles away from home, and many things that we worry about never transpire.
3. Learn stuff. On a recent trip to Florida we found bananas growing on a tree at the resort. The entire family, from a 3 year old to an 88- old senior, was astonished by it! (We do not have banana trees in Michigan!) We had to take pictures, and get back to our unit so we could look up and read all about bananas on the internet. We are never too old to acquire new knowledge. When you are on your timeshare vacation it is an excellent opportunity to do just that. Plan on learning about the area in which you are staying. Explore museums, local attractions, new activities, art galleries, etc. It is amazing the amount that we and our families have learned on our timeshare vacations.
4. Enjoy and appreciate the beauty around you. So often we never take the time to look at and enjoy our surroundings. We are often shocked at how the locals act toward the awesome scenery that we are seeing for the first time—and of course, they see it every day. Look about you and take in the splendor of what you see. We often pack a lunch and head out to climb a mountain or sit along a quiet stream—it can be most therapeutic.
5. Participate in activities. If you can, get involved in the activities that are offered at your resort. They offer occasions to learn new things, meet people, and get in touch with your own being. Try yoga, a massage, playing a new game, making a new craft, zip-lining, horseback riding, whatever! Also, it could be a good chance for you to exercise. Most timeshares have an exercise room, or offer walking and hiking opportunities. I first tried bead jewelry-making at Wyndham Smoky Mountains, and now I do it on a regular basis. Never in a million years did I think I’d enjoy whitewater rafting, but I won a trip at Treetops, and we had a great time. You can gain a lot of insight into your own sense of self as you explore the many activities that are available to you on your vacation.
6. Relax. One of the main reasons people take a vacation is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the usual routine and mellow out. Be sure to build in time to sit on your deck or by the pool and chill. Also, it is an excellent time to relax with a good book. Too often we think we need to fill every minute of our vacation with doing stuff– don’t get caught up in that syndrome.
7. Unplug. We too often see folks with the TV on for the evening when there are some really neat activities happening at the resort. We’re not big TV watchers at any time, but it especially seems like when you are on a vacation, watching television would be way down on the list. Also, try to unplug from work- related activities. Turn off your cell phone when you go on a walk or hike. Turn off the computer and get out and enjoy yourself!
8. Indulge in culinary pleasure. The timeshare experience lends itself to having some excellent meals. Most timeshares come with a full kitchen, so take advantage of them. You have a chance to put together some special meals with each other, family or friends in a pleasant setting. Check out our timeshare cooking posts on this site for many excellent timeshare cooking ideas. You can also take the opportunity to go out on the town for that special dinner. Slow down, and take the time to enjoy your food and the people you are with. Too many times we inhale our food because of limited time, or just out of habit—break that cycle, savor each bite, and enjoy your surroundings.
9. Experience culture. So often when people go on vacation they stay in their own little world. They do not get out in and dig into the culture of the area in which they are visiting. For example, we know people who go to Las Vegas and never leave the closest casino. That’s sad, because there are so many amazing sights there, as well as a beautiful desert to explore. These posts will help you find them. Another example is Hawaii. At the Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Village, we went on a nature walk with Joy, the Activities Director, and learned many interesting things about the native plants and history of the region. That inspired us, on our own, to seek out fascinating places like the Painted Church and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Visiting Hawaii was not just visiting another state—it was visiting a fascinating place deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and history. Learning about their culture helped us to better understand the Hawaiian people of today.
10. Meet people. Along with learning about the culture, the timeshare experience encourages getting out and meeting people. We have enjoyed some excellent friendships over the years with folks we have met on our timeshare vacations. Participate in the activities and introduce yourself to other folks. Talk to them about their vacations, what they have done in the area, where they have eaten, and share your experiences; it is amazing what you can learn. Also, get out and meet the local people in the area you are visiting, by going to places where you might find them. It might be a farmers market, or the local store or a bare bones restaurant with a long line out front, but make the effort.
Hopefully we have given you some ideas to get in touch with your inner self and have a Zen timeshare vacation. Tell us some of your Zen ideas, and happy timesharing!