People have an urge during the summer to spend time in parks and on the river banks where they eat and drink and engage in much frivolity. Some are so caught up with the vanities of this World that they get up and go even before the morning prayers, missing public prayer and attending synagogue. They spend all day at it, while it is all nothingness and vanity.
There are situations, to be sure, that it is permissible and even somewhat of a mitzvah to go on a pleasure trip, such as for a person suffering from depression, or when one is feeling sad and his heart is closed. If such a person would get out and travel a bit—once in a long while—to a location that expands one’s heart, it will enable him to forget his sorrow and his heart will open to learn Torah, and, being healthy, he will be able to better serve Hashem. All this is only on condition that one’s motives are for the sake of Heaven and the trip does not involve even the slightest possibility of forbidden activities or neglect of mitzvos; then we may perhaps consider this a mitzvah. A wholesome person, however, who is attached to Hashem with great love, would turn away from all this, and would find no greater pleasure or journey than dwelling in the beis hamidrash (the study hall), as our Rabbis said: “The beis hamidrash is a lush orchard for the righteous but a prison for the wicked” (Sefer Chareidim, Teshuvah, ch. 4). Still, a person who is not attached to Hashem to that extent, should from time to time acknowledge his needs—for the glory of his Creator!—and enjoy and excursion. Among humans, only the person himself knows what his true motive but God fathoms everything, for He knows the secrets of the heart.