We often talk about the benefits of work-life balance here at Spine Team Texas. It is true that many of our employees are able to be involved in community service and/or their kids extracurriculars, but there is one obvious part of ‘life’ that some of us forget about- vacation! Working with Spine Team means more than good hours, it means ample time off as well. It is important for each of us in our own time to take vacations from both work and daily life, and a great example of this is one of our team members, Vashti Brady-Lee. When she’s not performing as a top-notch Radiation Safety Officer, she is traveling to beautiful places, sharing her wonderful experiences with friends and family, and encouraging others to follow her lead.
People vacation in many different ways, and Vashti is a culture lover that gravitates toward museums and food. She’s been to Napa, Chicago, and Tennessee all with the same purpose- to find the best local spots and immerse herself in the history and legacy of her surroundings. Vashti loves the beauty of regional environments but is less interested in hiking or action sports. No matter how you travel, it is always fun to go out there and experience something new.
Traveling is more than just a leisurely activity or a way to escape from the routine of everyday life, though. It holds immense importance in shaping our perspectives, broadening our horizons, and contributing to personal growth and development. Whether exploring new cultures, witnessing breathtaking landscapes, or immersing ourselves in unfamiliar environments, travel offers a myriad of benefits that go far beyond surface-level enjoyment. Here are some compelling reasons why traveling is important:
- Personal Growth and Self-Discovery: Venturing into unfamiliar territories pushes us out of our comfort zones and encourages personal growth. Travel challenges us to adapt to new situations, overcome obstacles, and develop problem-solving skills. It opens doors to self-discovery, allowing us to learn more about ourselves, our values, and our aspirations. The experiences and lessons gained during travel can shape our character and contribute to a greater sense of self-awareness.
- Broadened Perspectives and Creativity: Traveling exposes us to different ways of thinking and encourages us to question our preconceived notions. It broadens our perspectives, challenges our assumptions, and encourages critical thinking. This expansion of the mind fuels creativity, as we draw inspiration from unfamiliar surroundings, unique cultures, and diverse experiences. The combination of new sights, sounds, and ideas often sparks innovative thinking and fresh insights.
- Education Outside the Classroom: Traveling offers a valuable education that cannot be obtained solely from textbooks or classrooms. It provides hands-on learning experiences, where historical landmarks become tangible, art and architecture come to life, and geography becomes a real-world map. Travel allows us to witness history firsthand, fostering a deeper connection to the world’s heritage and providing context to what we have learned academically.
- Building Connections and Social Skills: Traveling provides ample opportunities to meet new people, make friends from different backgrounds, and forge meaningful connections. Engaging with locals and fellow travelers can lead to cross-cultural friendships and lifelong bonds. These connections not only enrich our personal lives but also enhance our social skills, including communication, adaptability, and empathy.
- Appreciation for Nature and the Environment: Traveling often takes us to awe-inspiring natural landscapes, from pristine beaches to majestic mountains. Experiencing the beauty and fragility of nature firsthand cultivates a deep appreciation for the environment. It instills a sense of responsibility to protect and preserve these natural wonders for future generations, fostering sustainable practices and a greater environmental consciousness.
When it comes to these benefits and Vashti, however, it is a curious case of chicken or egg. Those that know her are immediately aware of how vibrant and educated she is. Traveling and experiencing new things has surely shaped Vashti’s perspective, but so has her personal background with the military. Practically everyone in the family has military service or is currently serving. Maybe it was living in this dynamic family unit that first instilled her desire to fly to new places.
Hearing Vashti describe her family and their connection through service is very motivating. She has a niece in the navy, a brother flying C-17s, and her son is learning Russian as a linguist for the army. There are many others across the generations, and their service doesn’t stop with the military. Rumor has it, a family member became vice-mayor of their hometown, where many still live today.
Military and community service play vital roles in fostering a strong, supportive society. They contribute to the well-being of individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole. Here are a few key reasons why military and community service are important:
- Promoting Civic Engagement: Military and community service encourage civic engagement by inspiring individuals to actively participate in their communities. Whether through military service or volunteering, individuals develop a sense of duty and become agents of positive change. By giving back to their communities, individuals enhance their understanding of societal challenges and gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of collective action.
- Instilling Values and Skills: Military service instills essential values such as discipline, integrity, teamwork, and leadership. These qualities extend beyond military life and positively impact personal and professional endeavors. Similarly, community service cultivates empathy, compassion, and a sense of responsibility. Both forms of service develop valuable skills, including problem-solving, communication, adaptability, and cultural competence.
- Strengthening Social Fabric: Military and community service bring people from diverse backgrounds together, fostering understanding, unity, and a shared sense of purpose. They bridge societal divides and promote inclusivity by creating opportunities for collaboration, dialogue, and mutual support. Service can transcend differences and promote a sense of belonging and community cohesion.
- Inspiring Generations: Military and community service inspire future generations to serve their nation and community. By witnessing the dedication and sacrifice of service members and volunteers, young individuals are motivated to follow in their footsteps. Service becomes a legacy, creating a cycle of positive impact and instilling a sense of responsibility in future leaders.
We are so very appreciative of our military families and all that they give for us. We know it can often be difficult. Service members, their spouses, and their children face the challenges of separation, uncertainty, and the threat of danger. While military spouses are often seen as resilient and capable, deployments take an emotional toll on them as they navigate the responsibilities of single parenting and long periods of separation. Children, too, bear the weight of missing a parent and adjusting to life without their constant presence. The entire family unit must adapt to a new normal, finding ways to cope and support one another during this challenging time.
This is why having strong family relationships is so crucial, and it explains the success that Vashti and her family have seen in the military. They are surrounded by understanding, mentorship, and logistical support. Military service is not easy, but seeing Vashti’s family proves it can be worth it.
Another one of the defining aspects of military life for many is the frequency of relocations. Military families often move every two to three years, uprooting their lives and starting anew in different communities. This constant change can be disorienting, especially for children who may have to switch schools multiple times throughout their education. However, these experiences also shape military families into resilient individuals who are adaptable and skilled at forging new friendships. This perfectly describes Vashti, and we are honored to have her as a team member for the past few years.
We appreciate Vashti not only sharing her background with us an encouraging us through their storied service, but also sharing her travels and showing us all how to really enjoy our time-off. What’s next for her? Well, she’s been to many places but not Europe. And while she has her eyes set on the South of France, she admits she may need to go to London first since they speak the same language as us (sort of). Jokes aside, we can’t wait to hear about Vashti’s next trip and the same goes for the rest of our staff! It’s always great to get ideas and recommendations.