This isn’t the first time we’ve had a trip hijacked by the weather. If you remember, we spent a week water-logged in the Caribbean this past fall. I’ll be honest, when the weather forecast showed rain for the week of our most recent beach trip, we debated canceling our trip. In the end, we decided to still go, and I’m so so so glad we did! It wasn’t the week we originally planned, but it was rich in memories and laughter. So what was the difference between these two trips?
I think, for me, the turning point was when I asked myself this question: What’s the point of our trips? What do I want to come back home with? For me, the answer was more than just sun-tans and souvenir shirts. On each of our trips I want us to connect with our Creator, with each other, and with other people. I want to create memories, shape hearts, make the moments count, and deepen foundations. So, I decided a little rain can only get in the way of all that if I let it. What I needed was to change my perspective so that I could start seeing puddles as opportunities instead of as obstacles.
Here are 5 ways to make the most of a rainy vacation.
Be prepared. Do a little research. Know what the area offers and plan accordingly. Create a list of indoor activities you can reference when you are looking for something to do. You may need to rethink your budget. I’ve found that indoor activities are typically more expensive than outdoor ones.
Pack things to do like games, puzzles, art projects, and movies. If you are limited on space, you could spend some of your budget money to buy supplies upon arrival. I’d also pack some extra clothes, Rain tends to make people want to layer and cozy up. Plus nobody wants to put back on damp clothes.
Also – be ready! If the sun comes out- it might only be out for 20 minutes, you don’t want to waste those 20 minutes packing the beach bag. If it’s ready, grab it and make the most of the limited moments you’ve got.
Play in the rain. You won’t melt, and neither will they. A little rain never hurt anyone. Unless you are my hair, and well, that’s another story. I’m sure most of you have heard the quote ” Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” What better way to show your kids how to make the most of EVERY moment than choosing to literally dance in the rain. And I’d be willing to bet, my kids will remember those rainy walks on the beach filled with puddle jumping and giggles more than some of the other ones we’ve taken.
Every part of creation, including the rain, shows a different layer to our God. Taking a moment to relish in each one allows us to know a different part of Him. The calmness of a gentle rain contrasted with the intensity and power of a seaside storm speaks to the complexity of His nature. The details in the sounds and the feel of warm summer rain on your skin are covered with his creativity and ingenuity; both of which he has gifted the human race with. As we watch the plants come alive as they drink in the rain, you’ll hear me whisper to my kids, “just as the rain meets the needs of all living things so the Good Father, meets ours.”
It may be a far cry from the sun-kissed days you were hoping for, but rain can actually be pretty beautiful. It was Shakespeare that said, “the earth has music for those who listen.” Waterfalls and rivers will be at their best and you might even be rewarded with a rainbow.
Chase the sun. While playing in the rain is fun, it loses a little something on the 5th day. Just trust me on that one. Check the radar and don’t be afraid to drive a little. We drove to the opposite side of the island, this past trip, chasing the sun and trying to find a spot that would break the wind and lessen the waves. Sometimes you can’t wait for the sun to come to you, sometimes you have to go get it. “It never hurts to keep looking for a little sunshine.” (Eeyore)
Get local advice. Chances are it rains in your hometown too, but you wouldn’t be lost for plans. Ask people who live there what they do when it rains. Local’s have the advantage over every travel guide. Think about if someone came to the town you grew up in, you could tell them the best place to get an ice-cream cone at, the best seat for the sunset, and where you should be on a Friday night.
Choose joy. If there’s one thing that’s been a constant lesson to learn in my life, it’s that it is all about perspective. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Perspective is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. Teaching my children to choose joy is one of the greatest gifts I could ever give them. To raise joy seekers is a culture of instant gratification is to raise world changers.
I’m a firm believer that gratefulness always precedes joyful. Cultivating gratefulness is a little like cultivating a garden. It takes diligence, hard-work, and even a little rain (see what I did there?). It’s not having things perfect that make you grateful. It’s being grateful that makes things more perfect. So here’s to chasing down grateful and pursuing joy in the small things, the big things, and everything in between.
I’m by no means a pluviophile (Yep, that’s a real term). It means rain lover. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find joy and gratefulness in the midst of a storm. Adventures don’t require the sun. The best adventures require people you love and a grateful heart. Remember, without the rain, we would never feel thankful for the warmth of the sun.