The Explorer: The Gift of Song, Dance and Laughter

A few months ago I traveled to Palm Springs for a little getaway with some of my best girl friends. We spent the car ride to our first destination (a yummy local gourmet burger joint) voicing our individual expectations for the trip. (Travel tip: If you’re traveling with a group, it’s always a good idea to talk through expectations. Ask the group what they want to see happen or experience to make sure everyone has a good time).

Photos by Megan Shipley

Photos by Megan Shipley

Although there were a few discrepancies, all three of us said our first priority was to have fun. Sometimes I can get so caught up in trying to figure out and prepare for what’s next that I forget to stop and enjoy life. I want to be productive and purposeful, and oftentimes fun does not fit into this category. But after returning from this trip, I was reminded that taking time to do things we love with the people we love is important and even essential to our well being. 

Researcher and sociologist Brene Brown refers to this concept in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. I was a little skeptical when I first picked up the book, thinking it may be one of those strange self-help books, but after watching Brene’s TED Talk on vulnerability a few years back, I decided to give it a try. One of my favorite chapters was about the power of laughing, dancing and singing. Brene explains that we need moments in which we let our guards down and stop caring about what’s due next or what the person next to us thinks. These kinds of moments are “unquestionably good for the soul.”

After spending years researching the concept of wholehearted living, she writes: 

Laughter, song and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration or healing: we are not alone.
— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, pg 120

Brene goes on to say that she even measures the spiritual health of her family by observing the amount of dancing happening in her kitchen. Although I may not go that far, I do believe that my soul needs moments like this, especially when I'm with people I love. This Palm Springs getaway was just that for me. The presence of song, dance and laughter was not absent that week. It was actually my favorite part of the trip. 

One of my favorite memories happened shortly after arriving at our hotel. The hotel staff was running a bit behind, so our check-in time was later than expected. To demonstrate their thankfulness for our patience, the staff offered each of us a free drink at the bar, which we all took advantage of right away.

Photo by Megan Shipley

Photo by Megan Shipley

Photo by Megan Shipley

Photo by Megan Shipley

About an hour later we checked into our room and turned on some tunes. It didn’t take long for all three of us to start belting the song lyrics, dancing around the room and jumping on the beds. The moment was completely unplanned, but when you combine margaritas, Katy Perry and two of your best friends, I don’t think you can go wrong. It’s times like this, when I let go and let my crazy wild side take over, that I remember most and feel the most alive.

Although you may not be much of a singer or dancer, there’s something freeing about letting loose and allowing your body to move in different directions, even if you are completely uncoordinated, like me. One of my goals this summer is to have more fun, especially if it involves belting my favorite pop songs, dancing in my kitchen or laughing till I pee my pants. It’s not unproductive to spend time pursuing opportunities for song, dance and laughter; I am starting to believe it’s essential.

*If you're interested in viewing our travel agenda and photos, check out my friend Megan's blog!