At 9:20 in the morning yesterday, the traffic to get out of offices and into the long weekend had already started. I could gaze out my office window and see a line of cars stacked bumper-to-bumper on their way north to Napa Valley, Sonoma, the Redwoods…or, perhaps even for most, just home. As they inched past an outdoor furniture store, they were greeted by a sign declaring, “Your Staycation Headquarters!” As has been detailed (to death!) in the press, because of these trying economic times, the family vacation has been replaced by time spent together…at home.
With gas prices rising faster than global temperatures (look at that – economic and environmental commentary all wrapped up in one), it appears as though most of us will be “stuck” at home instead of exploring the wonderous excitement of the pool at Howard Johnson’s. Frankly, it kind of sucks!
I understand as well as anybody the economic hardships that we’re all facing. We’re all downsizing, cutting costs and selling our motorcycles. (No, really…I’m over it. It was a good thing to do. Really. I feel good about having sold it. I do. Really. No. I don’t want another one. Wait. What? Oh, right – that’s not what this is supposed to be about. Back to that vacation thing.) The point is, regardless of how well off (or not) anyone is, it appears that everyone is tightening their belts a bit (and not only because we’re losing weight since we can’t afford to eat as much).
That being said, the “staycation” has gotta go. Granted, the extravagant vacation may be out the window (and “extravagant” can take on any/all meaning and is totally subjective), but we’ve gotta do SOMETHING! Before the marketers got smart and created the “staycation” moniker, extended family time together at home used to have another name. It was called…a weekend.
We’re in the same boat – not going anywhere. But, I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that being out of the office means that I’m on any kind of “cation!” This is just a long weekend where instead of hanging out by the hotel pool, or visiting exotic national treasures and landmarks – like the World’s Largest Rubber Band Ball (hey, it’s in Chicago!) – I know that I’ll end up working around the house and doing any number of things that I would NEVER consider during a vacation.
In all likelihood, we’ll call our friends, have playdates for Kolby, go to a BBQ or two, watch some fireworks, check out a few things online, go shopping and…that’s right – experience an extended weekend. I mean, it’s not the worst thing in the world. I understand that. It sure beats being in the office. I understand that. More time with the family is a good thing. I understand that. But, there’s just something extra special about being away that will be missed. There’s just that added deep, heavy sigh of relief that can only be achieved when totally gone. The staycation can’t offer that.
So, I offer up the compromisecation. No, we don’t all have to take trips to Europe or load up the family truckster for two-week road trips. But, instead of staying home for the entire (insert length of time off here), we can find a way to check into a somewhat local hotel for a night or two. Just to get that “we got away” feeling that I think is so important.
We need to recharge. We need to get reinvigorated. We need to get fired up from time to time. That’s the beauty of the vacation. It’s that “I’m turning it all off for a while” excitement and anticipation. It’s that “nobody can find me” joy. So, no – we’re not going anywhere. But, we all still find a way to get away – even just for a day and night. It’s too important not to.