A Life Changing Summer Vacation

I am happy to announce that I am participating in the 20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap. The theme for this swap is "childhood summer vacations." I have the privilege of swapping my blog today with Jon Guerrera of Living Life for Improvement. You can check out my Summer Vacation post over on his page. Here is his tale of a memorable summer vacation: 

Ah, "summer vacation." The very mention of those words conjures up a past of adventure, exploration and family bonding. Unfortunately, that past belong to someone else – certainly not me. You see, as a child I despised family vacations (and was obviously too young to coordinate and finance any personal vacation time). I love my family more than anything in the world, but as a child, my idea of the perfect summer vacation was playing videogames for 12 hours per day, followed by a marathon of my favorite sitcoms. So when my family dragged me away from my TV and computer to spend four days in upstate New York (a fate I considered worse than hell at that age), you could understand my disappointment.

However, if we can all agree to use the term "summer vacation" more loosely, I might be able to share something more profound with you. The "summer vacation" that ended up changing my life wasn't a vacation in the typical sense. It was a vacation from my routine of videogames and TV. A vacation from the lifestyle that stunted my social skills in the same way that watching too many seasons of Jersey Shore might stunt a young child’s intelligence. But before I pique your curiosity too much, allow me to spill the beans: this vacation was nothing more than one short summer I spent at summer camp at the age of 14. 

If I were you – reading this for the first time – I'd immediately think, "Summer camp? That’s your life-changing experience?" For most people, summer camp is nothing special – it’s simply a hallmark of childhood filled with pleasant memories. For me, it completely changed my life in one brief summer. You see, up until that summer, I attended a small, religious day camp, in which I spent my days interacting with the same few kids I knew from the accompanying private school. I never met anyone new and I had zero interaction with girls (this lack of experience would prove very unfortunate in high school).

But this particular summer camp experience was different. For starters, it was an arts camp where I knew nobody and was surrounded by co-ed activities. In other words, I was completely out of my element for the first time in years. And challenged with this new situation, something incredible happened. I was able to rise to challenge. I met a new group of friends, explored sports and recreation for the first time in my videogame-dominated life, and even had my first kiss (it was super awkward, but I was an awkward kid so it was par for the course). I walked away from that summer a changed person – a better person. It was the first indication that my old habits and anti-social lifestyle choices were taking me down a dangerous, unfulfilling path. I heeded this realization and swore never to revert back to my anti-social tendencies. 

When it comes down to it, a vacation can be so much more than a fleeting experience in an exotic locale. It can also be thought of as a break from any one element in your life that may be inhibiting your growth as a person, allowing you the opportunity to re-center yourself and discover things about yourself you never knew. That's the kind of summer vacation I experienced as a child, and I highly encourage you to take these kinds of vacations regularly.

Jon Guerrera is a digital marketer by day and a blogger / speaker by night. He blogs about the unique intersection of goals, games, marketing (as it applies to personal development) and behavioral psychology. You can reach him on his blog, Living For Improvement, or on Twitter (@jonguerrera).  


  1. What a neat concept, LaNeshe!! Just read your post over at your friend's blog :) Love reading about memories like that

  2. Very cool idea to swap blogs.

    I so agree though, my parents used to put me in sports camp in JHS and the first two years of high school... I was mortified at the beginning of every summer (because i am NOT a sports girl... give me some sheet music or a script). But by the end of the summer, i always loved the experience.

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