Are Your Vacation Plans Just You Running Away in Disguise

Clint Oka
4 min readAug 12, 2020
Person holding a passport
Photo by Levi Ventura on Unsplash

A lot of the time we don’t even know what is bothering us. We make plans, for example a vacation, as a distraction from our problems. It’s better to be aware of life challenges than to run away from them.

I got my plane tickets in hand, and dreaming about the blaming beaches of Indonesia

Should I pack an umbrella? Lol nah

What about these shorts?

Thank to GOD I am going on this trip.

I needed this!

The Getaway

Why do we call it the getaway?

There’s room service, new places, new food, shopping, the beach. It’s exciting to get away.

Traveling to a new destination, you will have stories to tell and you will feel like you are experienced and cultured.

Sometimes we just want to “get away” from our problems. It could be that our system or set up at home is failing, and that this vacation is only a temporary fix.

Problems at Home

It is easier to ignore or put off problems. They could be right in front of us, but we are not ready to deal with the situation.

It could be building up for months, and even years.

Not happy with your job.

No free time because of your family, work, and your kids.

A relationship that’s falling apart, and desperately needs a kick start!

Death of a loved one.

Vacation Smart

You have a lot of free time on vacation, sightseeing, restaurants, reading your favorite book. Spend some time reflecting why you needed this vacation so much.

In my early twenties I decided to go on a study exchange to France. I had a girlfriend at the time, but couldn’t pass up the chance of a lifetime.

I embarked on my journey not even thinking why I was going on this adventure. What was the root reason I wanted to go to France, of all places.

I was engulfed by new friends, sightseeing, and food. I did even call or keep in touch with my girlfriend at the time. Yeah, you can say it, kind of immature. I was looking for an adventure, but why?

The problem I was running away from was I was searching for an identity. I wanted to be a world traveler. I wanted to set myself apart from my friends and be the first to go to another country.

If I realized that at the time, I would have communicated with my girlfriend why I was doing what I was doing. I could have found other ways to find an identity right at home without traveling.

When I got back, you can guess, my girlfriend was not waiting for me.

Explore ideas why you are on this vacation. Don’t forget to enjoy your vacation. After all distractions can be a good thing. As long as you are aware of reality and take care of the things you need to take care of.

The IDEAL method

Once you’re back home and show off all your travel pics to your friends and family, take out a paper and pen and use the IDEAL method.

It stands for:

Identity: After some time to think on vacation, write down what is causing you stress. Then as what is causing that and get down to the root of the problem.

Define: Ask yourself to look back and remember when things were working well. Ask yourself what happened that made things change for the worst. Try to remember when the change occurred.

Ask, what do you know about the problem and what do you not know about the problem?

Explore: Think about different solutions and analyze the sacrifices it will take to implement the different plans. After thinking about each option, weighing the pros and cons of each, choose the best one.

Action: Create a timeline and execute the plan. Take action and make sure you follow through with the stated plan, stick to the timeline.

Look back: Think about how things went. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How is your communication with other people? This is an important step which will help you with other issues that will undoubtedly arise.

Realizing and Seeing more Clearly

I wish I knew about the IDEAL method when I was in my twenties. I could have identified why I was doing the things I was doing. Understanding myself I could have been a better communicator. I should have analyzed my problems before I left on my vacation. I could have been a better person to my friend.

Vacations are great! Don’t get me wrong. Just check to see if there are problems that you are running away from. Most times they are small problems, but just in case it could be a warning sign of a disaster to come.