I had to force myself to turn off the computer. No errands to the post office. No tidying up the closets. No checking work email. No making plans for any reason. This was going to be a real staycation.
For multiple reasons, I was homebound for a four day vacation this year. And as much as I can pretend that a staycation is fabulous, it’s not as fabulous as letting someone else change your towels in a beach-side hotel room. But, I was determined to make it better than it sounded.
Every article on “Making the Most of Your Staycation” urges you to visit places in your hometown that you’ve never seen. But, there’s a reason I’ve never visited these places. As much as I could force myself to go to that little shop that sells comic books, I truly had no interest. Plus, in a teeny town, chances are that you really have been everywhere.
So, my staycation was going to be all about me. Not about friends. Not about art museums. Not about beach traffic. Just about me! Me! ME! (And since I was seven months pregnant with my first child, I could be this ridiculously selfish for the last time of my life.)
The problem is…if you leave myself to myself, I have a hard time not working toward a goal. I tried to read a stack of Vanity Fair magazines in my backyard, but I had a hard time sitting still. I needed to do something, anything, which would make the time feel more purposeful. And as much as I needed a vacation, I wasn’t exhausted. I didn’t need ten hours of sleep or a break from physical activity. (Trust me, I know when I a break.) And even though I was pregnant, I still had a lot of energy.
So, I got off of my chair and went to (enjoyable) work. For not particular reason, I picked up a paintbrush and painted three watercolor portraits: two owls and one pig. I wrote three new chapters of my new novella. I downloaded a whole catalogue of new music for my Ipod. And then, on the final day of vacation, I finally had the energy to sit still. I’m proud to say that I finally read an entire Vanity Fair, cover to cover.
I don’t think I’m alone in my restlessness. I think millions of people also spend their staycations (and sometimes vacations) working toward particular goals. There is real enjoyment in skipping the dishes but working on a hobby.
No matter how many times people try to convince me otherwise, staycations will never be my “dream” vacations. (Dream vacation= over the water bungalow in Bora Bora with mimosa daily room service and snorkeling access.) However, I made the most of my staycation by allowing myself to define what invigorated me. Some people might recharge through binge television. But for me, it was keeping busy. At the end of the four days, I felt, dare I say, accomplished. (And it is pretty nice to have saved money.) And I’ll always have a souvenir from this vacation: a pig painting.