Letter from the Editor: This Year, Give the Present of Being Present
“This reduction in stressors will free your family up to the lost art of single tasking.”
It’s crunch time! Don’t look at your calendar now, but Christmas Day is starting to come into focus, friends. We’ve officially entered the holiday season mayhem.
You know the routine. During this time of the year, event invitations pile up along with endless dirty dishes, your “trip to the store” transforms into the scene from the latest action film, and your shopping list goes up and up, but somehow your multi-colored lights haven’t found their way onto the front of the house just yet.
December does bring many joys: family, festivities and food, but if we’re honest with ourselves, what we’d really like to do right now is…breathe. There’s only so long we can continue to remember the next five things on our To Do list.
So while the holiday season encourages you to go-go-go (and ho-ho-ho!), the Discover Corps team lovingly offers your family an opportunity to slow down and take in the moment. Or as we call it, give the present of being present.
Our vacations with purpose create space for your family to get back to the basics. How refreshing would it be to put away the cellphones and laptop to spend a week exploring somewhere new? For some, this may spark an initial shot of anxiety, but disconnecting is healthy. Multiple studies have found unplugging from technology can help you recharge, sleep better and even improve your overall quality of life.
After learning this information, it begs the question: why don’t we unplug more often? The answer is complicated, as societal, social, physiological and other stimuli can draw us back to our screens. Thankfully, Discover Corps designs itineraries with families, community and interpersonal communication in mind.
Take for instance our Cuba Family Island Exploration, an industry-first for families. Here, you can eat, sleep and explore just as many of the locals do. Picture yourself enjoying freshly brewed coffee and a delicious breakfast with your Cuban host, as you start your day in a peaceful casa particulares (local’s home). Vibrant artwork abounds in Havana, but its not solely the work of talented Cuban artists. Tap into your creative abilities, by spending a morning making Cuban ceramics with a famous local artist.
The catch in all of this? Although it’s starting to change, Cuba still has limited internet access, so disconnecting is easy. Again this could be considered an inconvenience by some, but think of the possibilities. It’s astonishing what happens when a family isn’t preoccupied with Facebook, Instagram or even ESPN. Genuine conversations take place. Your children will ask questions about the dramatic history of Cuba. Who knows, card games may even break out around the kitchen table each night.
Two words will describe what your family is doing: being present. With an itinerary already set to go, along with food and transportation lined up in advance, there won’t be a need to worry about your schedule at all. This reduction in stressors will free your family up to the lost art of single-tasking. Whatever the present activity is, that’s where you’ll be too, both physically and mentally. When was the last time you could say that?
When in Cuba, that could mean riding around in a classic car or zip-lining over tropical terrain. If India is your choice for adventure, feel the thrill of game drives searching for the elusive Bengal tiger in the wild.
No matter the trip you select, your family can expect to have unforgettable experiences. What may surprise you, though, is how alive and connected you feel throughout your visit – and you won’t even need Cuban internet restrictions to get you there.
Refreshing your email will be the farthest thing from your mind as your family volunteers alongside other families at a panda research base in China. Likewise, when you see the look of amazement on your child’s face after spotting a blue-footed boobie in the Galapagos, everyday worries no longer carry the same weight. It goes without saying, the connections made with other families and even more importantly, your own children and spouse, is a priceless gift in itself.
In the simplest of terms, we encourage you this holiday season to break free from societal pressures and demands to seek out authentic experiences with the ones you love most. This investment in your family’s health and well-being is well worth it. The text messages and soccer practices will still be there when you return, but there are only so many opportunities you get to truly benefit yourself, your family and the world, in just one trip. Without a doubt, this is one gift you won’t be standing in an hour-long line to return.
Click here to explore all of our destinations and reserve your family vacation now for dates in 2019 and 2020.
Happy Holidays from our Discover Corps Family!