Dude ranch vacations offer a great way to escape reality for days or weeks, offering the opportunity to do things you might never normally back home. Simple things that help you relax, make more time for YOU, and reconnect with nature as well as family and friends.
But there’s no reason why any of that has to end once you’ve packed up your stetson and spurs, and headed back to life as you normally know it. OK, so you may not be able to saddle your horse and ride to work every morning (nor herd certain work colleagues into a corrall!), but there are some easy ways that you can integrate cowboy culture into everyday life. Try some of these, and make that dude ranch vacation last all year....
Meditate The simple act of taking time out and making time for you, is something we rarely do on a day-to-day basis when we’re not on vacation. Recapture that feeling of peace and serenity every morning. Set your alarm 20 minutes (or even just 10 minutes) early and, before you do anything, take yourself to a quiet space and engage in some mindful meditation. You can find some great free downloads on iTunes and other music feeds such as Spotify, that’ll guide you through a meditative state and set your mind in the right place for the rest of the day.. If you’ve got more time, try Yoga Nidra - 30 minutes’ of a sleep-like state that is said to be the equivalent of 3-4 hours’ sleep!
NB - if your alarm clock is your kids jumping on your bed, try this just after you’ve packed ‘em off to school or settled them down for the night!
Sit around the dinner table Busy lifestyles and interruptions such as TVs, computers and other electronic devices have seen many family dinners something of the distant past. It’s not true for all families and households, but if yours is culprit to fitting mealtimes around other activities, encourage everyone back to the dinner table for a family meal, just like you did on your dude ranch vacation. You can even make it a time to recall memories and experiences from your ranch vacation, as a way to drag the kids away from the TV and back to a good old-fashioned family supper.
Serve up ranch-style food While many see a vacation as a time of overindulgence, most dude ranch vacations offer just the opposite and provide healthy and hearty meals produced from the freshest local or ranch-raised/grown ingredients - that actually leave you in better shape than before you went away (if you don't have that third serving of pie, anyway!). At breakfast, save $$$s on sugary cereals from the superstore and instead make your own granola to serve with yogurt and fresh fruit. Skip your Starbucks run at lunchtime trip and instead pack yourself some leftovers from last night’s dinners - which could be anything from a good steak, ribs or braised pork (buy good quality meat from your local butcher), with locally grown veggies cooked on the grill (often cheaper than store-bought produce due to reduced transport/packaging costs), fresh salads and homemade dinner rolls without all those preservatives. If wine is your thing, remember to stock up on some local tipples before your leave your ranch vacation, so you can savour the taste until you’re back next time! If a particular dish has taken your fancy on your ranch vacation, don’t be shy - ask the chef for the recipe and see what you can recreate back home!
Friends and family time If you went away with family and/or friends and want to recapture those special moments you shared on your ranch vacation, try setting a time once a week or month where you sit down together and recall your ranch vaca experiences and memories. Bring photos and videos, drinks and snacks that remind you of nights spent around the campfire - you can even wear your cowboy boots if you wish! Don’t forget to dig out the country music - or rope someone musical into strumming out some tunes on their guitar! If your friends and family live far away, there’s still no excuse - Skype makes it easy for people from all corners to regroup and spend quality time together.
Experience the great outdoors (again) While not everyone is blessed with open prairies and mountain backdrops on their doorstep, it’s still easy to step outside your front door and experience the great outdoors. Even if you’re a city dweller, finding some green space to stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh air is a wonderful way to clear your mind and reconnect with nature. Even a 30-minute stroll on your lunch break can do you the world of good. On a weekend, why not take a trip out to the country and go hiking for a few hours - take a picnic and recall that simple peace and tranquility you experienced on your ranch vacation - and get fit while you’re at it!
Look up There’s one thing that looks the same no matter where you are in the world, be it a ranch in the Montana wilderness, a mountain range in Mexico, a lakeside in BC, Canada, or your own back yard - a starry sky. Take a moment each night to look into the blanket of stars and transport yourself back to those nights spent on your ranch vacation around the campfire or sitting out on the porch with a mug of cocoa.