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The secret to making everyday life feel like vacation

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 07/11/22

We love vacationing in walkable, mixed-use communities. What if we could bring that slower pace to our own hometowns?

Have you seen this viral song pop up on Instagram or TikTok? I’ve been seeing it everywhere. It goes,

“A-a-aye, I’m on vacation 

Every single day ’cause I love my occupation 

A-a-aye, I’m on vacation 

If you don’t like your life, then you should go and change it …”

The song got me thinking about what it means for everyday life to feel like vacation. 

One of the little ways for day to day life to feel like “time off” is so sneaky it almost seems obvious, but it makes a big difference. It’s just ditching the car for more time on foot or bike.

Seems unexpected, right? But think about what you do on vacation. You take a leisurely pace, enjoy time outdoors or in nature, and slow down to enjoy the little things. 

This gentle place is so much easier to achieve when we’re on foot, moving at our own pace. 

When I think of popular vacation destinations, part of why we love them is because of all the things they don’t have—traffic, busy roads, and long commutes.

What if every day life felt like that? What if we enjoyed more time in places just walking distance from our homes?

Cutting down commute time is directly connected to quality of life, so much so that researchers call a short commute “the key to happiness.”

It’s no coincidence that so many beloved vacation spots are highly walkable, mixed-use communities. 

How amazing would it be if the places we live were like that too?

Living in walkable communities with plenty of green space makes us happier and healthier. So for the sake of our mental and physical health, a more walkable and “green” neighborhood is something worth advocating for.

What are some ways to make that a reality in your own hometown?

There are so many ways to work toward this goal! A few might include the following:

  • Volunteering at expanding a community garden
  • Participating in a bike rally like Critical Mass
  • Helping clean up a local park or beach
  • Joining the Strong Towns movement
  • Voting at town meetings to turn part of a high-volume roadway into a green space

That last one has proved hugely successful in some cities already. A city planner shared on Twitter,

Never forget that when Seoul, Korea, removed the Cheonggyecheon expressway in 2003 & replaced it with a restored stream & 1000 acre park in the city’s centre, not only did it transform the city’s public life & economic success, but the traffic got better. The traffic got BETTER.

While we work toward bigger changes like these, we can look for little ways to spend more time walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors in our communities as they are. This slower pace can make every day feel more like you’re on vacation. 

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