I’m counting down the days, hours, minutes to a vacation.  It’s not a BIG trip – just a little getaway that allows us to veg for a few days with no agenda, interesting activities if we choose to participate, and our favorites, great food and wine.  <<SIGH>>

What makes the anticipation of a trip so special?  It’s a period full of hassles, rushing, stresses, and the inevitable something that you either forget or goes wrong out of your control.  The dogs need updates on their kennel cough vaccines and if you order that thing now will it be delivered in time and what if the airline loses your luggage or your flight gets cancelled?  ARGH!

Still, that expectancy is unlike any other.  While I have packing lists and countdown checklists and systems for getting things right (I have a list, spreadsheet or system for just about anything that’s a repeat process in our lives), sometimes I just want to wing it and see what happens.

“But then you won’t be prepared,” a friend wailed at me.  True, this could be a major issue if, say, my luggage goes to one coast and I’m getting on a cruise ship leaving from the opposite side of the country with no port in sight for eight days, but I’ll cope.  (This happened to a family of eight on a Transatlantic cruise we were one…)

“But what if people don’t understand you when you try to speak Italian?”  This question was delivered with all the urgency a family member usually reserved for a worldwide crisis.  When my brain misplaced my Italian vocabulary in Rome a few years ago, I managed to pantomime and point my way through a three-course meal with a waiter who probably enjoyed the silly show as much as I did.

“But if it rains, what will you do?”  Get wet, I suppose.  We all know I’m NOT made of sugar and won’t melt.  Tested that theory many times over already.

My point is, when you’re counting down to a vacation, a trip, an adventure, focus your anticipation on the GREAT THINGS that could and will happen, not the things that will go wrong.  Don’t waste that super-anticipatory-glow on things that really aren’t the important ones in the long run.  Put your patience in your pocket with your sense of wonder at the unknown and pull both out often.

That, my friends, guarantees that you’ll have a trip worth talking about, one that won’t make others hide a yawn or sidle toward the office door.  Now go plan something and GET EXCITED!

What are your vacation countdown rituals?  What kinds of systems have you set up to reduce the stress and make the anticipation fun?

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