April Jeppson: Don’t worry about it when you’re on vacation

Published 8:24 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


My husband’s parents are avid cruisers. They’ve been to Alaska, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the East Coast. A few years ago, they mentioned how fun it would be if all their kids joined them on a cruise. Last year, they informed us that they would pay for it. If you know anything about my last few month, you’ll know that I was beyond ready to go on vacation. So here I am, having just returned from a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise looking tan and feeling refreshed.

Email newsletter signup

When I was an exchange student in Finland, I took two mini cruises — one around the islands and the other to Sweden and back. I learned that I get seasick on big boats, there’s lots to do, the accommodations are tight and the food is great.

I can report that I still get seasick (thank goodness for motion sickness patches), there are still tons of activities, the accommodations are bigger than I remember from 20 years ago and the food — oh, the wonderful food. I’m happily sporting a nice little belly that I earned. No shame.

They offered 24-hour self-serve, soft serve. I eat ice cream a few ties a year. I don’t dislike it, but if I’m going to indulge, I’ll usually go to something salty. As I was filling my Dairy Queen-style twist cone, I looked at the gentleman next to me and said I think this is my third cone today. He smiled and said, “You’re on vacation; no one’s counting.”

That was kind of the mantra on the ship. Whenever someone would want to order an additional appetizer but would be hemming and hawing, the waiter would remind them that they are on vacation. When someone wasn’t sure if they should stay up and catch the next comedy act, or jump in and participate in a lip sync battle — “You’re on vacation.”

Yeah, I understand that none of these people care that I’m eating ice cream, but when I go home I still have to deal with the consequences. If none of my clothes fit, that’s no ones problem but my own. I joked that I could probably murder someone and the response would be, “Ah, don’t worry about it, you’re on vacation!”

As the days went on, I found this “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” attitude kind of freeing. We spend so much of our time concerned about how our actions will affect us or those around us. We worry whether we will be made fun of, or if we look OK in this outfit. I’m a pretty carefree individual but taking this trip and being reminded every day that these things don’t matter, it was nice.

I ate the ice cream. We talked with the couple in the hot tub from Delaware. I ordered the food that looked tasty on the menu. By the time the beach day rolled around, I swapped out my one-piece for a two-piece suit. I looked in the mirror that morning and said I’m on vacation, and my tummy wants to see the sun. I had fun posing for all the pictures. I nervously went down the giant waterslide.

Guess what? No one cared that my less than perfect body was on the beach. The couple from Delaware turned out to be awesome. I got to taste some of the best food and desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life. I ended up going down that waterslide half a dozen times. Brian and I got to take home some really fun photos of our trip. And all that soft serve? Well, it’ll come off eventually. I was on vacation, and it was totally worth it.

My hope is that I can take part of that feeling with me. To live life a little more carefree. To wear what I want because it makes me feel good, not because I look perfect in it. When I see people who look interesting, to talk to them, not just wonder about their story from afar. The next time someone pulls out a camera on me I’m going to try really hard to face it and smile, and not back away with some excuse about how my makeup/body/hair/clothes aren’t right. Perhaps, if I can take a little of this mindset with me, I can stay refreshed long after my tan fades.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.