Family Vacation 2021 by Julie Arduini

Trying to guess how things will go after 2020 has been quite the game. We make plans and they have been delayed. We think all is well, and then find out it is not. We start to lose hope in things only to discover blessings and progress.

Planning a vacation post-quarantine? I had no idea how it would go.

For starters, our original plan was to mirror our parent’s dream vacation to Hawaii. We thought it would be a great way to heal and honor their memory. The vacation was canceled and although we believe one day we’ll take that trip, it won’t be this year.

So, Ocean City, Maryland it was. My husband, daughter and I were driving from Ohio, and my sister and nephew were coming from Upstate NY. Lancaster, PA seemed like a good halfway point for both of us, so we decided to meet up there.

Mom loved Amish country and it was her 78th birthday when we met up, so we thought to remember her we’d stay overnight. We went to Sight and Sound and watched Queen Esther, which was so amazing. Esther’s story has been one of my favorites for years. This year it has been extra special as I have shared it with my sister in relation to current events. If you have the opportunity to go, take it! It’s worth it.

We then journeyed to Ocean City. Our accommodations were beautiful, including views of the bay. We went to the ocean, the boardwalk, Assateague Island, and of course, souvenir shopping. The weather was storybook summer—hot with a nice breeze.

I wish I could say the experience was storybook. Unfortunately not long after arriving in Ocean City, my hip locked up and that usually threatens my knee. I have knees that dislocate easy and it’s happened on vacation. That got in my head.

Fear flew in the mental door I opened. And took up residence.

By the time we reached the boardwalk the second full day, I was having trouble walking. I feared any ground I wasn’t familiar with and a boardwalk just felt dangerous to me. That was before it started raining. In the middle of our walk, a storm came out of no where and poured heavy rain on that boardwalk for close to two hours. Once we felt the rain was light enough to head back to the car, I was stiff from sitting and the cold rain. My feet were soaked and I didn’t have supportive shoes on.

Thank God I have supportive family.

That trek should have taken a few minutes, but I inched along, grabbing the boardwalk wall and the backs of benches for security. By the next day, I needed two knee braces to walk at all, and even then, it was painful.

Was it all in my mind? Did it start in my mind and then become an actual ailment? I was driving myself mad trying to figure it out. All while slowing everyone down with my small steps.

I wondered if it was a post-Covid introvert fear of being in such a touristy place, because I didn’t struggle in Lancaster, or when we went back there on the way home, it wasn’t as bad. Whatever the issue, I was determined not to let fear win. I kept up with the agenda the best I could. Assateague Island was so pretty and we had the nicest hosts who are local friends of my sister’s. The wild horses don’t give way to the tourists, you give way to them. It was a beautiful sight.

We returned to Lancaster and enjoyed a dinner at a railroad restaurant (Casey Jones) and then ended our time with a buggy ride at the same location. We agreed Lancaster was more our speed. Ocean City offers a lot, but it is wall-to-wall tourists. It was a bit overwhelming for us.

Once home, I spent a lot of time in prayer and a phrase came to mind from a book I read a couple years ago.

Pain has to go somewhere.

As I prayed I realized I had a lot more anger and grief stored inside me than I thought. I confessed every thought and lamented my feelings. When I finished, I did feel lighter.

The chiropractor was able to immediately see me and I learned my back and neck were out of alignment, and I strained my knee and hamstrings. He showed me exercises to strengthen those areas. I also felt it was time to talk to a Christian counselor as I have more travel planned, and I do not want to receive the spirit of infirmity or fear. I’d like to learn strategies so if I have an issue with my walking, it doesn’t consume me when in an unfamiliar area.

What about you? Have you traveled since quarantine? Did you have expectations? Were they met?

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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