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How to Stay Present AND Document Your Vacay

How to Stay Present AND Document Your Vacay


On my recent trip to New York, I was thinking about what kind of baggage to bring. I’m not talking about literal baggage like a suitcase, I’m talking about the countless amount of work-related projects I had, ideas that have been floating around in my mind, unresolved responsibilities every adult has to prioritize and overall, a potpourri of THOUGHTS. While booking this trip a couple months ago, I promised myself that this would be my “break” from it all, a time to reflect on my goals and just own a sense of self while being present with my friends. And that’s what happened. I documented my trip less than I normally would and also felt compelled to share why this trip was so special to me: I WAS FULLY PRESENT. In doing this, I was deeply relaxed, refreshed and READY for anything once I landed back in LA. I didn’t post most of the videos and photos below on my social media accounts but looking back at them now, I’m glad I saved them for this instead.

Here are a few tips I gathered on how to balance documenting an experience while staying present plus, some of my favorite stops in New York:


Start your trip by TURNING ON vacation mode. Do this the very moment you turn on your out of office email, get on the airplane, get to your destination — as soon as possible. Your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self has to be with you throughout your trip, so don’t wait until you’re out sipping cocktails or jumping from activity to activity. Un-distract yourself ahead of time and THEN you’ll officially be ready for the time of your life.

make it a group effort

Whether you’re traveling with your significant other or with a group of people, be surrounded by people who have the same goal as you on vacation —  SOAKING IT ALL IN. One of the ways you can hold each other accountable is by making meals together a “cell phone free zone” and whoever goes against the rules, has to pay the bill. Take full advantage of catching up, getting to know each other even more and most importantly, making new memories together.

identify your stress points

Does seeing the Email App on your phone always lure you into checking it every single time there’s a notification? Move the app into a folder on the next page of your screen. 

Does seeing your laptop make you want to open it immediately? If you’re bringing it with you on vacation, tuck it out of sight until you absolutely have to use it. 

Are you worried about what’s going on at home without you? The reality is, the world still spins, even when you’re on vacation so worrying won’t do anyone any good. Yes, call/text your family, significant other, etc. to check in, but don’t try to trouble-shoot from afar

be socially anti-social

Do you have FOMO? It won’t do you any good to watch OTHER people’s lives while you’re out here living your best life on vacay, which is probably somewhere you saved your hard earned dollars for but are unknowingly taking it for granted by scrolling through the ‘Gram every chance you get. Replace your “fear of missing out” with the reminder that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be at that moment and the only thing you’d be missing out on would be the memories you could be making instead.

On another note, ever since Kim Kardashian’s Paris robbery occurred, she stated on Business of Fashion’s Podcast, Drive, that she usually posts her Instagram stories later in the day when she’s no longer there or sometimes even days later. She says that now, she doesn’t want anyone to know exactly where she is at that exact moment for protection and privacy purposes. Not that I’m Kim Kardashian or even have a type of following on social media where people care too much where I am, but that did make me think why I ever felt the need to post right AT THAT VERY MOMENT. Sure, you’re “in the moment” by posting about the moment but what I’ve been practicing lately is minimally documenting, saving the Insta-story, THEN posting them later during downtime. You’ll probably be able to design an even more compelling story with more thoughtful captions and cute gifs by taking your time and posting later — or just keeping those memories to yourself and those you shared it with.

don’t forget to reflect

As you’re on your trip, remind yourself to acknowledge why you’re there and why you DESERVE the time away. Take it as a gift to yourself for getting through the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Perhaps you’re away to celebrate something special or perhaps you’re away because you needed a break (like me) — whatever the reason, cherish your time off. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to reflect on how blessed you are to be in that very space, with the people around you and the memories you’re making.

bonus challenge

I once watched a TED Talk by Cesar Kuriyama who talked about documenting your life with only a 1 second clip from every day of your life. He noted that a lot of times, that 1 second is all we really need to trigger the memory of the entire day or rather, the entire moment. He made plenty of other very good points, so I tried it for myself while I was in college through his app, 1 Second Everyday, and after a few months, it was like watching a highlight reel of my life — the good times and the tough times; a 31 second video documenting a whole month! This is just a creative way to document your life while still living it, so I suggest it’s worth a try!

xoxo, sam (designer at calpak)
Meet Award-Winning Photographer & Professional Traveler: Jill Paider

Meet Award-Winning Photographer & Professional Traveler: Jill Paider

PACKED UP for 5 Days in New York Fashion Week w/ Justine Cuenco

PACKED UP for 5 Days in New York Fashion Week w/ Justine Cuenco