“Where did the summer go?”… Have you ever said that? Yeah, us too! It’s all too common to spend the winter months dreaming of how we’re going to spend our summer and the adventures we’re going to take, only to get to the end of said summer and wonder what the heck happened.
Where did all the time go?
It’s super easy for us to jam our schedules full of family events, home-projects, errand running, and other obligations that we forget to actually plan (and execute) our summer vacation and adventure goals. You know the ones, it’s those trips or adventures you think of during the colder months and daydream about taking once the warmer weather hits. Maybe it’s a family camping trip you’ve been promising your kids. Maybe it’s an adrenaline pumping adventure you’ve always wanted to do like sky diving or white water rafting. Maybe you’ve been wanting to get your scuba certification or climb a mountain. Maybe it’s getting away for a long weekend with just your partner or spouse and turning off your devices. Whatever that “thing” is for you, THIS is the summer to make it happen.
This time exactly two years ago, we were planning our first Dashboard adventure – a trip to Newfoundland, Canada. That trip was the beginning of what has turned into one adventure after another and by the time summer was over that first year, we had accomplished more than we could have ever imagined!
We had so many amazing experiences, met incredible people along the way and learned a TON about what it truly means to plan (and have) the best summer ever.
This year we’re at it again planning some epic adventures and we can’t wait to take you along with us BUT we don’t just want to show you all the amazing things you can do. We want to help you DO THEM! So, that’s what this blog is all about.
HOW TO PLAN THE BEST SUMMER EVER
What we’re about to share with you might sound crazy simple…because it is! The stumbling block that people run into isn’t that it’s a tricky process, it’s that the process never actually happens. But don’t worry, we’re about to change all that!
So before you go any further, grab a pen and a piece of paper because you’ve got some adventure planning work to do.
STEP 1: WHAT IF THERE WERE NO LIMITS…
Before you write your first words and ideas, just remember that this is an exercise about dreaming big. We’ll figure the rest out later! Don’t get bogged down with “what if’s”. If you feel excuses or any negative sh$& creeping in (i.e.: “I don’t have enough time”, “I don’t have enough money”, “I could never do that”) just squash it and keep writing!
For now, just ask yourself this one question and then start writing. The longer the list, the better. The question is this:
“If I had all the resources I need and there were no obstacles, financial or otherwise, what would I do this summer?”
Sometimes it helps to imagine this as if you’re writing a work of fiction – not for yourself but for some character you made up. That way you pull your own limiting beliefs out of the mix and just allow yourself to be creative and think big.
STEP 2: SCHEDULE THE OBLIGATIONS
Get our your calendar and schedule all of the events that you believe you must attend. Consider things like:
- Conferences & Work Events
- Social Functions
- Special Occasions
Get them all in the calendar and then take a good hard look at it. Do you have any free time left? Does it leave you feeling overwhelmed and uninspired? If, when you look at your “obligations” list, you feel anything other than excited it might be time to make some tough decisions. If there’s no space left to plan the things that will bring you joy, you’re going to have to make some cuts and bench a few players.
Trust me, it’ll be hard at first, but it will be worth it when you look back at your summer and realize you had the best one ever. And, if you need to, you can totally blame it on me.
STEP 3: MAKE YOUR PICKS
Once you have your calendar filled with the “must do’s” it’s time to add in the “want to do’s”. Go back to your big summer bucket list and read through them again. Which items make you feel excited? Are there any that make you giggle? Do any of them give you butterflies? I suggest picking 2 or 3 things from your list that really cause an emotional reaction. That reaction might even be, “OMG no, I could never!”.
In fact, if that’s your reaction to any item on your list – it should be priority number one! If you’re really serious about making this your best summer ever, I would also suggest rounding out your list by choosing things that include the following:
Learn Something New
There’s power and confidence in learning a new skill. Have you made it to adulthood without having ever learned how to swim? Why not tackle that this year! Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Find some local lessons. Does surfing look like a blast? Why not?
Now, I’m not just talking about trying something new once – everyone does that! Why not use this year to commit to actually learning and becoming proficient at a new skill? You’ve got three months. You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish in that time!
Go Somewhere New
By nature, I’m a creature of habit. So, for the vast majority of my life so far I’ve opted for the same things over and over. The same beaches, the same destinations, the same hiking trails, the same campgrounds and so on. It’s easy to fall into the routine of choosing what we know over the unknown but I would urge you to reconsider.
Sure, sometimes you’ll discover that your “go-to” was a better choice but you’ll also get to find those rare gems that will rock your wold by exploring new places. Here are some ideas:
- Always travel by car? Book a train ticket to a new city!
- Try a B&B rather than a hotel
- Book a new campground in a park you’ve never been to before
A great rule of thumb that has really helped me discover some things I now love is to “just say yes” when an opportunity presents itself (and they will all the time). If you’re initial reaction is “Nah, I don’t think I’d like that” – just try it!
Explore Your Home
Whether you have a healthy travel budget or not, make a point to explore your home. Take a closer look at your home town or city and try and view it through the lens of a visitor. I’ve lived in Nova Scotia my entire life and thought I’d seen most of it. Boy, was I wrong! When Brent and I decided to tackle the “100 Days of Nova Scotia” project we were blown away by how much we hadn’t yet experienced. Have a look…
STEP 4: COMPLETE A COST ANALYSIS & BUDGET
The last step in your epic summer execution plan is to break down the cost of your bucket list items and figure out how to make them work. Budgets vary from household to household but the reality is, for most of us, if we really want to do something we can find a way. Maybe you need to put away a little money every week, or cut back spending somewhere else or, if all else fails, you can always rework your goals to fit your budget.
STEP 5: EXECUTE
Once you have your calendar mapped out and your two or three big things you’re going to accomplish, all that’s left is to schedule the time and make it happen. “I have a job” is the worst excuse ever for not having an amazing summer (but it’s one we hear all the time). We both had “day jobs” back when we did that 100 days of Nova Scotia project and it was, without question, our best summer yet.
If we can do it, you can too!
The last piece of advice I’ll offer is this: Whatever you do this summer, be brave! The best memories come from pushing through your comfort zone.