March 27, 2023
Last week my side of the extended family enjoyed a relaxing and yet unique vacation experience. My parents, my siblings and their families, and my own family traveled to Virginia where we stayed in yurts which are like livable, year-round tents.
Our extended family has grown to a point that renting a large cabin can create some challenges, and we have learned the hard way that it is best for every family to have their own personal spaces. The yurts were an unusual but suitable solution as each family resided in a unit and could enjoy private space for relaxing, cooking, getting ready, etc.
What exactly is a yurt? A yurt is a sturdy tent established on a permanent foundation or deck and is completely enclosed and insulated. The yurts feature climate control with traditional heating and cooling (though I will have a few thoughts to share on that later). The yurts we stayed in were round, and I believe that is what most yurts look like. I failed to take a picture of the outside of a yurt for which I apologize.
So what was it like staying in a yurt? Since we stayed in the yurts at a time when temperatures were not extremely cold or hot, I would say our experience was similar to that of staying in a cabin. Personally, I would not care to stay in a yurt in extreme temperatures. I wonder how the yurts would keep up with extreme cold, but the room did come equipped with a mini electric fireplace, probably to supplement the traditional heating system. There was no supplemental heat in the bathroom which would make for a very chilling shower experience in the winter.
I would not care to stay in the yurts in extreme heat for sure! An employee told my mom that in the summer guests complain about extreme heat. He said that when an employee checks the temperature with a temperature gauge aimed toward the dome of the tent, it can read 145 degrees Fahrenheit! That is not my idea of summer fun! When I come in from outside activity, I prefer the ability to cool off.
Other than the challenges of maintaining comfortable temperatures, residing in the yurt was very similar to staying in a traditional cabin. A comfortable leather couch placed atop a beautiful rug was one of my favorite features in the entire yurt. The beds were very comfortable with soft pillows and linens. The bathroom featured a stunning copper bowl sink which fascinated my children.
One other feature to a yurt is that there are very few sound barriers which can be a bonus or a challenge, depending on the situation. For example, we awoke to the sounds of rain on the roof and the cheery chirps of morning birds. When it came time for nap time in the afternoon, older cousins played games while the little ones attempted to nap. Let’s just say that not a lot of sleeping took place, but that’s okay! We all survived. Also, within the yurt there are no sound barriers as the walls do not reach all the way to the ceiling. So it certainly would not be my ideal permanent living situation.
Would I stay in a yurt again? Sure, it was a fun and unique experience. If I had to pick a traditional house over a yurt, I would definitely pick a house.
If you know me well enough by now, you know that I always like to think about life and experiences beyond just the surface. I like to dig a little deeper and think about life from an eternal perspective. If you will permit me, I do want to share a few thoughts on how to enjoy family vacations and what kind of mindset will help you to have a peaceful experience.
Getting a large group of people together with diverse opinions can be very stressful to say the least, but if each person and family has the right mindset, the trip can be a success. Here are a few thoughts that helped me to have the right perspective during the family vacation and to enjoy the time with my extended family.
Have deep gratitude.
Be thankful for my family even though we each have our warts and struggles. I have the blessed privilege of still having each member of my childhood family living on this earth. Many people I know cannot say the same.
Throw perfectionism out the window.
Don’t bring perfectionism into relationships by placing unrealistic expectations on others. I am not perfect, so I shouldn’t expect other people to be perfect! People aren’t prefect, and unless I am vacationing alone on an abandoned island, I will be around others. I must extend grace to others just as I appreciate grace shown to me.
Don’t expect circumstances to be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect vacation. This world is not perfect, and no matter how dreamy a vacation may look on someone's social media, no vacation is completely perfect. Rejoice in the moments of happiness and choose gratitude even during the moments of irritation.
Lay myself aside.
This is perhaps the hardest aspect of family vacations and the truth that people most often struggle to live out. Scripture teaches us that charity, that unique love that only Christians have, demonstrates itself by seeking not her own. I must be quick to find out what others want to do and then joyfully join them. Sure, there is room for doing something that I enjoy on a vacation, but if I am focused on another’s benefit, I will be blessed.
If you are more introverted like I am, being in large crowds can be overwhelming. There have been many family vacations that I went off somewhere to be by myself. I look back and see how I missed opportunities to develop my relationships with others.
Set a Christlike example for the next generation.
Am I acting how I would want my children to act as adults? If my children follow my footsteps, what will extended family vacations look for them in 20 years?
Thanks for joining me on a little virtual “glamping” trip and also on a “heart check-up” to make sure that my attitudes are pleasing to the Lord!
Where are you going on vacation this year?