I kicked this month off with a girl’s trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  We planned the trip around the Diva Half Marathon and 5K – two of us trained for the 5K and two, for the ½ marathon.  A runner, I am not, and so since I ran my last 5K exactly 5 years ago, I decided to stick with that!  Although the sun didn’t shine much that weekend, we laughed much, ate well (and very healthy I might add) and had so much fun!  The first night, we stayed up until 4:30am chatting, singing, dancing and Zumba-ing!  YES – a full out workout in the middle of the morning and I have the video evidence to prove it!

Image courtesy of Rhonda Hicks

We are planning to do it all again next year…and why?!  Because, we deserve time away, too!  Vacations come in many variations, most often with family or a partner/spouse, but how often do you plan a vacation just for you?  Whether it be with the girls, a group of friends or just solo, why not? Allow me to stimulate your planning juices to begin embarking on your next trip…just for you!

A beautiful island.  Sandy beaches.  A fruity libation.  Sunshine.  Waves.  Warmth.  A relaxing massage.  Maybe an adventurous excursion or two.  This is what comes to mind when I think of my ideal vacation.  But then, I realize that a “vacation” doesn’t have to be somewhere else or cost a lot of money!  For me, a vacation provides time and space to step away from my everyday crazy to relax, enjoy and be carefree without having to worry about the constant churn of life.  But does that mean I have to go far, far away to a distant land?  Maybe, maybe not!  Here are some other options to consider…

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SPA DAY!  This may not seem like a “vacation”, but when I think of escaping to a place that looks to pamper me all day with facials and massages, manicures and pedicures, maybe even a quiet room to rest or meditate or sip on some tea…I’d like to make a reservation, please and thank you!  Think of it as a day away to recharge and renew your mind, body and spirit!  I have done this a few times, but clearly not enough!  Take a vacation day or better yet, a “staycation” day and make plans to spend it your way!  Start off with breakfast for one at your favorite cafés!  Then off to the spa, filled with your favorite services; try something new, too! Personal suggestion…if you haven’t tried a stone massage, it is such a soothing experience! Or, maybe a salt cave!  It does wonders for the body to include the improvements of lung and respiratory care, especially as it pertains to allergies, asthma, COPD, sinusitis, etc.  It is also good for the skin and helps with conditions like eczema, acne, skin aging and more!  (https://www.salttherapyassociation.org/about-salt-therapy/benefits/)  For those locally here with me in Raleigh, NC, try Skin Sense, A Day Spa for any of the services I mentioned above to include the salt cave!

Has there ever been a day where you wished you could just jump in the car and go to your favorite place?  I’m sure we can all identify with that feeling of wanting to escape – “Calgon, take me away!”  Is that concept so farfetched, though?  It may take some quick planning, but all things considered, it can be done!  Grab a girlfriend or go solo.  As I get older, I am finding that solitude is healthy and necessary!  Don’t be afraid to go and do things by and with yourself!!  I am fortunate enough to live in a place where I am only a few hours from the beach and mountains.  I love both, but since summer is approaching, l’ ll head to the beach.  I’ll get up at the crack of dawn, pack my beach bag with the latest Oprah magazine, my book selection (currently reading Women, Food, and God (again), by Geneen Roth), a couple of towels, sunscreen, a few snackables and a water bottle, a cute beach floppy hat, some cool shades, headphones and I’m out!  I’ll drive the short two-hour trip playing my favorite play list of tunes with the volume up and the windows down!  I’ll yelp some of the best breakfast places in the area, enjoy a delicious bite and head straight for the beach!  Towel down, book in lap, music in ears!  I’ll take a break every now and again to go to water to just sit, relax listen and feel the waves as they rush in.  Maybe go for a stroll along the beach and breath in all of that salty air!  I’ll take a nap, people watch, finish my book, do whatever I am led to do for that day!  When dusk comes, I’ll head back for relaxing ride back home, maybe this time, listening to some jazz or gospel music to bring me down.  Soothing music always does that for me!  Now, that may be what my day looks like, but what about yours?!  How would you design your day away?  Write it down, schedule your vacation day and go do it!

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If you do have a few days or more to spare, you can always go big and plan for a destination vacation!  Again, you can go at it alone or with some friends, as long as the focus remains on your personal pleasure and replenishment!  It could be some place tropical or maybe lush adventurous landscape.  Maybe a cruise is your thing or possibly a guided tour of your favorite country in Europe!  It just takes a kitty of saved funds and planning the trip.  I am a planner at heart, so I love to explore places to stay and things to do.  As a tip, I don’t always look at hotels as my first option for lodging.  If you would rather stay in surroundings that feel more like home, consider a vacation condo or home on sites like Airbnb.com or homeaway.com.  Be sure to check the ratings and read all the fine print about what is and is not included.  I have done this on countless occasions, both domestically and internationally, and it has not failed me yet!  If you don’t have the time or could use some planning assistance, engage with a travel advisor!  In fact, if you have AAA, that is one of the many services, they provide, included with most memberships!  They are the experts and will know much more about every aspect of the travelling experience!

I still chuckle at my girls weekend earlier this month – eating a delicious, guilt free, carb filled dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in Myrtle Beach, Luigis Trattoria the night before the race, laying on the beach listening to our favorite tunes, literally dancing night long, ohhhhh, and yes, running…well as we would prefer to say, “Diva Jogging” the entire 5K!

So, where will you be going and what will you be doing for yourself this summer and going forward?  Think about a destination, whether the spa, a trip downtown to visit your favorite museums or an adventurous trip to Costa Rica! Select a date, request your vacation time and get to planning!  We deserve it because we have earned it!  Take the time for you so that you can become a better you!  You’ll thank me for it later!