When I was a child, summer vacation meant badminton and make-believe in the backyard, walking to the library and coming home with my arms full of books, eating home-made “popsicles” that my mom made by freezing orange juice in ice-cube trays. We’d sometimes drive to see our cousins in Seattle or Astoria, and one time we drove all the way to Prince George just because, but most of my summer vacations were what people call a “staycation” today.
I still enjoy staycations–no traffic, no packing, no reservations necessary, always stacks of books, and I’m still playing make-believe (aka dreaming about my next book project!). What with the great scenery and summer weather here at home, I’m happy to save some money and green my vacation by keeping a smaller carbon footprint.
But what makes a staycation different from any other day at home? Here`s how it works for me.
Instead of my usual morning work out and getting to the church by 9am, on staycations I enjoy more leisurely mornings–home-made muffins freshly baked for breakfast, reading the morning newspaper in the morning for a change, doing the cross word puzzle, lounging in my nightgown until well past noon.
Plan something special every day.
Fresh blueberries, dim sum with my sisters, making “Dole whip” with frozen pineapple and almond milk, meeting a friend for lunch, going to the library, a shopping trip, a day hike, a movie, planning a potluck with friends, a romantic dinner for two, the art gallery, ice cream in White Rock, walking on the beach, the farmers’ market.
Do something productive.
For the best staycation, some recommend “Don’t do the laundry or clean the garage, or other household projects.” But one friend deliberately saves her annual doctor and dentist trips for the first part of her staycation. “That way I get some things done that I don’t take time for throughout the year,” she says, “but they don’t take up my whole vacation.” Personally, I find it satisfying to complete one or two projects, so I’m actually looking forward to reclaiming my piano bench from 6 months of household receipts and other financial papers that need filing. I wouldn’t want to overdo it though, so I think I’ll skip cleaning the garage 🙂
While being on vacation means vacating my usual responsibilities, it doesn’t have to mean vacating from God, so I generally continue with journaling, Scripture, and prayer. Sometimes we visit another church with friends, more often we try to worship in a congregation where we don’t know anyone else. I might still notice if the service starts late or the powerpoint isn’t quite right, but at least I don’t feel the same level of responsibility for any of those things.
As a pastor, I seldom get a Saturday-Sunday weekend to myself, so whenever I do, it feels like a great luxury. I can actually go out for Sunday brunch, or end a week of staycation with a weekend away. Yes, I still have a cell phone for anything that really can’t wait until I get back, and sometimes I sneak a peek at my email too, but for the most part I’m off the hook. Any church work while on vacation gets written up as time to be taken off later. For me that’s a fair trade to accommodate any needs and still take care of my own.
For a great staycation, this at least is what I hope for. Unfortunately for me, this time I came down with a horrible and unseasonal bout of the ‘flu–definitely not recommended for any vacation at home or otherwise! But I’m feeling well now and finishing my staycation strong.
Your turn: What other great staycation tips can you add to my list? Is a staycation enough of a vacation for you?