In Praise of Stay-Cations


“Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5 

Most people in Arkansas plan vacations during June, July and August.  It’s interesting to watch people working so hard, spending lots of money and getting so stressed out just to get a week or two off from their job! Pursuing rest and relaxation can be hard work.  But does it have to be? 

I have been blessed to visit 36 nations around the world and most of the United States in my lifetime.  I love to see faraway places and meet wonderful people whose experiences are very different from mine.  For me it’s more restful to stay close to home on vacations.  Maybe ‘stay-cations’ would be a better description for what my family does. There’s a lot to discover right in your own back yard.  I’ve met people from various walks of life who know very little of what the area around their own home has to offer.  I actually met a man who lives in London, England who had never been to the Tower of London or Buckingham Palace!  That’s like living anywhere in Northwest Arkansas and never attending a football game at Razorback Stadium.  That just ain’t right! 

I love vacationing in the ‘good ole summer time’ in Arkansas, the land of 10,000 lakes!  Native Arkansans enjoy jumping into nearby creeks, rivers or lakes to keep cool.  Arkansas offers many get-a-way places to camp outdoors that are off the beaten path.  I don’t camp out much these days.  I prefer a bed to a sleeping bag.  So cabins fill the bill for me.  I like to shut things down in a location preferably without an internet connection.  I know, it’s living on the edge!  But I guess there’s a bit of an adventurous, ‘mountain man’ spirit in me. 

My wife and I are busy planning a family getaway to a cabin good friends have graciously been loaning us for 20+ years.  The cabin is situated along a beautiful little river in SW Arkansas called…well, Little River.  My family has made many wonderful memories there.  It checks a number of our boxes.  It’s peaceful and mostly safe (if you don’t mind the occasional cotton mouth or alligator sighting).  Having said that it’s mostly a family friendly place.  It’s a good place to write songs.  And it doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg financially.   My anticipation for this year’s stay-cation reminds me of an old Beach Boys lyric, “We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow.”  There’s a reason that lyrical hook is so instantly appealing.  People need a Sabbath rest.  The hope of resting, sleeping in, slowly embracing the morning sounds like heaven to most Americans.  We are a driven, hardworking bunch.  Unfortunately many of us skate on the edge of burn out much of the time.  But, don’t tell anyone.  We like to appear to have it all together at all times.  It’s hard to keep it together when you never take time to shut it down to rest your mind and replenish your soul regularly.  It’s fun to have some fun! 

Now there’s nothing wrong with a big budget vacation if you can afford it.  If you can do it, enjoy yourself.  But I encourage you to consider a ‘stay-cation’ this year.  Avoiding spending lots of money and opting out of the stress waiting in long lines at the amusement parks might just be what the doctor ordered for you.  And finding rest—real rest for body and soul is a worthy, healthy pursuit. 




Leave a comment