Vacation, at last! But how do you get more out of it?

By Martin Thoolen,
Published at 9 July 2023.
Read 5 minutes.

Vacation, at last! More peace, enjoyment and relaxation and an empty head, things that you don’t get around to at home. But is that really what you find? Because you take yourself with you on vacation and you may be confronted with yourself on vacation.

And how can your vacation provide even more inspiration?


You’re excited when you go on a trip, but immediately your inner peace is disturbed. Like when you end up in long traffic jams, take a wrong turn or your baggage doesn't show up at the airport. Or a filling station owner short-changes you 50 euros because he says you gave him 50 and not 100 euros, as I experienced myself.

Arriving at your vacation spot, you may sit and daydream on the beach when suddenly people next to you turn on loud music. Or you spend time waiting for a bus that never comes. You may wake up to a loud church bell in the morning, or hear the morning incantation coming from a mosque. Or maybe you get sick while on vacation. How much relaxation and enjoyment is there going to be then?

Inner peace is disturbed by irritations that arise from your own expectations.

Luck and bad luck, prosperity and adversity, both come to you in your life, even on vacation. Sneak up on your own thoughts and expectations daily, and allow them to be blown away on the breeze. Once you let go of your expectations of how your vacation should go, you'll have more fun and peace of mind. Whether it's about the journey itself or where you are on vacation. Try it, and then decide if it works for you.

“As soon as you let go of your expectations about how your holiday should go, you will have more fun and peace of mind”.


Just getting away from everything. A little distance from your life and career. From a distance you can see the bigger picture. Because when you’re in the thick of it, you can't see it. Like your own blind spots in your relationships. Or the higher purpose for which you are doing something.

“From a distance you can see the bigger picture”.

If you focus on individual letters alone, you will not see the entire text. If, as a soccer player, you focus only on your opponents, you miss the spaces in between them, where you can pass them. Star player Lionel Messi can do this like no other. If you keep driving on the roundabout of your work and life, you miss landscapes, roads and adventures that can take you further. Dare to wander and you will get somewhere. 

“Dare to wander and you will get somewhere”.

From a distance you can see more clearly whether you want to continue working like you were when you return. Like Johan for instance, who encountered a snail during a walking meditation in one of my earlier Retreats 'Inner Nature' in the Belgian Ardennes. He decided not to ignore it, in fact he even wondered about it for half an hour. In his very fiber he became aware of the breakneck speed at which he traveled through his daily work and life. And how much that exhausted him. Because of this deeply felt experience, he decided to set limits on his own work pressure and to make more room for a relaxed life alongside his career. 

From a distance you can see how and whether you want to continue in your relationship(s) sooner. I once experienced this myself during a ten-day mindfulness training in Yenne, near the French Chambery. During a ball exercise, I watched a ball roll away from me and I couldn't help but think about the natural movement I was making away from my partner at the time. Painful, but inevitably healthy for my further soul development.

Make room for the things that matter in your life, muse, and above all make space and time to feel what your heart is telling you. This way your vacation will give you new clarity and show you new opportunities and healthy choices, which you would otherwise gloss over.


Do you know that feeling? When you are sitting on a hill or mountain top and you feel completely one with everything around you? Or you’re in a trance during a car ride and experience complete bliss? Or you are in the desert or jungle where there is no longer any separation between you and all the plants, animals and earth around you? You experience a deeply felt 'boost' of unconditional love and connection with the elements around you. All is well and heaven seems to be completely present on earth for a while.

These unity or spirit experiences are a cosmic nod to what has always been in the background, namely universal consciousness, or spirit. Only our ego often causes us to have fewer of these experiences than we actually desire.

How nice would it be if you could take this unity experience into your work and private life when you come back from vacation? And if that universal consciousness becomes more of a foreground than remaining in the background? Or as saxophonist John Coltrane once said: “Wherever you are, always leave a piece of heaven behind.” At work as well as in your private life when you get back.

"Wherever you are, always leave a piece of heaven behind.” -John Coltrane

If you want to know how universal consciousness or spirit becomes a bigger part of your work and life, check out the book 'Spirited Personal Leadership'. For more effective working, meaningful living, and a better world. View or order a copy here:

See the promotional copy and find out whether my book could help you.

©2023: Martin Thoolen

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Martin Thoolen

My 30 years of professional experience as an awareness coach, clinical and organisational psychologist has enabled me to help thousands of clients in Personal or Collective Leadership. Both groups and individuals, in coaching sessions, training courses, leadership development and organisation development programs, retreats and seminars.
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