Simplify Your Travels: Photos and Advice

Sometimes we need to get away from everything. Whether we’re stuck in a rut or have gotten ourselves into a mess, it’s human nature to want to escape for just a while, as if trying to catch a breath. I’d like to share my own experience about needing to get away:

My Story

Last summer, I was burnt out. The stresses of my work and personal life were stacking up, and without going into detail, manifested itself only as a string of rejections and disappointments. I was highly discouraged and in need of an escape for just a while.

I made a plan to go to Portland well before the stress bomb hit and this particular time seemed most appropriate for a trip.

Of course there would be some planning involved. Not only did I just need to get away to explore and have fun – I needed to go somewhere to unwind, to be able to safely sit and think in a peaceful environment.

I browsed the web and learned about a certain place; the Portland Japanese Gardens. It was a place open to the public, where you could walk around and sit among trees, stones, and pools of water. Everything I could gather from the site told me that this was the place I needed to go. I made a plan to drive to Portland, rest for the night, then make the Gardens my first stop.

I got there my first morning in Portland and what I found was just what I needed: quiet, solitude, calmness. The conditions were perfect for me to wander around, sit down and then meditate. I took in the environment around me, taking the time to really absorb what was happening. When I had enough, I would capture a photo of a plant, statue, or whatever else I had in mind, then move on. At the end of my visit, I gained a boost in my emotional IQ and some peace that was missing for a while.


Now I’d like to share my big takeaway from this experience: don’t complicate a much needed vacation. Many trips I’ve been on have been exhausting, with so many details to remember, baggage to carry, etc etc. If you’re already needing to escape from stress, you don’t want to make your trip more stressful; choose something that will require little from you to get the most out of your experience.

A quick brainstorming session will guarantee a number of things you can do to really escape and relax. In fact, a long-term vacation might not even be necessary; a day trip, or a long, simple walk to a nearby place.

Keep in mind that the point is to have a hassle-free escape, at least for some portion of your travels.  Here are some certain questions to ask yourself to rule out distractions:

  • How populated is my destination? Would I easily be able to find peace and quiet if I need to?
  • Is it located within a city or in the country? Is it a very still environment, or would there be a significant amount of activity?
  • Is it a low-risk area to travel to? What can I do to make sure that I am safe and comfortable?
  • Is the place I’m going to familiar or exotic? What are things I can see or be reminded of that help calm me down?

For some good ideas on where to go:

  • A garden or park
  • Somewhere in nature, like a forest or in the hills
  • On an empty beach
  • A farm or ranch
  • By a river or other smooth-flowing source of water
  • A lake, pond or pool

At this point, all you need are the bare essentials (clothes, hygiene, etc). You might consider bringing a camera to capture memories. Having photos, be they digital photos or physical copies, gives you something to look at and remember to take a breather now and again. For instance, I took quite a few pictures (some of them featured in this article) and saved them in a photo book like this one that I can look back on now and again to remind myself to breathe.

(Photo Source: Blue Haven)

Final Word

My hope is that we can all find some time and some place to escape when we need to. Not only to a physical location, but some mental place like a memory we can recall. Rest assured, every time I’m by a pool or some other place with the sound of water, I can flashback to my moment in the Gardens.

Aaron Farrington is a writer, peace-seeker and amateur photographer. He loves hiking, music and comedy.