Stepping outside to the balcony that overlooked the Bay of Banderas, my sun glasses fogged up from the extreme change in temperature. Moments passed before the fog gave way to the bright sun that shone down on infinity pools and beach cabanas dotted with guests. The sun that nourished the bold flowers that defined each balcony space, creating a personal oasis.

Three years ago I spent one week unlike any I have spent since…despite many trips to many destinations and far away lands….to places I call home like Italy or that had been on my travel bucket list like the Grand Canyon. Trips spent hiking up to mountain tops or exploring city centers. Trips that by all accounts, I loved…and cherish….because travel is my passion.

Except that only this one week, spent in Nuevo Vallarta at the Grand Velas RivieraNayarit….did I allow myself to be fully and completely engulfed in my surroundings. Only in this one week did I truly let go of everything and anything that could have weighed me down. Only in this one week did I find a level of serenity and relaxation that I never knew existed.

If you are anything like me, part of why you travel is to relax…and to recharge. Except….how many times does that really happen? How many times does a trip include late nights or early mornings of email to catch up….or keeping up with social media platforms that you say you are just using to document your adventures? If vacations are so good for our emotional and physical health, why is it that fully recharging while away can be so hard?

Henry Miller said, “If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”

Which is why, as July gets underway and travelers including myself, prepare to arrive and depart on new adventures, it seemed like a good idea to remember how to fully recharge yourself on vacation. Not just to a partial battery charge like on a smartphone, but to full level of complete renewed energy.

Fully recharging at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit | LiveDoGrow

For some of us, recharging completely means shutting down all virtual and digital connectivity. For others, that is simply more stress.

Fully recharging at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit | LiveDoGrow

For some of us, fully recharging on vacation means taking a breath. Or two. In the morning, in the middle of the day and at night, to breathe in the air that can unlock the door to letting go. Not running at the sign of a creature that on most days would be just an annoyance….instead, studying it and admiring its ability to be still.

Enjoying lunch on vacation at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit | LiveDoGrow

Or maybe for some of us, recharging while traveling means splurging or being kind to yourself.

Outdoor adventures in Nuevo Vallarta | LiveDoGrow

Or maybe, recharging is a matter of taking on new challenges or new heights.

Recharging with the Sunset at Banderas Bay | LiveDoGrow

The details of how to fully recharge yourself on vacation will look different from person to person and from trip to trip. My full recharge took place during my belated honeymoon on a magical resort that took my breath away at every turn. But the truth is, you do not need luxury accommodations in Mexico or the Pacific Ocean to fully recharge. You need to isolate those small and big moments that make you giggle spontaneously or the activities that cause your adrenaline to surge.

Maybe all it takes is a burst of music to dance to….or to sing aloud to when no one is listening?

Or a few extra hours of sleep…or…a midday nap?

Or a good book?

Or maybe a walk…in a neighborhood, on a trail, around a lake or around a track?

In the end though, there is one thing that can stop us from fully recharging. It is not a lack of time or resources. Last year, half way into a one month family trip to Italy, my dad asked me if I was going to take some time to relax. His words echo in my ear, even now, knowing that I was the only thing that stood in the way of fully relaxing on what should have been a dream vacation.

The question is not so much about what it would take or how to fully recharge on vacation, but at least in my case….if you will let yourself go.

Six weeks from now, I will be embarking on a new adventure, a Mediterranean cruise that by all accounts, will be another opportunity at a dream vacation…but this time…I am committing to letting myself go.

Will you let yourself go on your next trip to fully recharge? What works for you–or doesn’t?

Elena Sonnino signature | LiveDoGrow

Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Wellness and travel writer, former teacher, runner, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.

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