Not having much time or money, I’ve given a lot of thought to this issue. I’ve done some arm chair traveling. Subscribed to the National Geographic and tuned in to the Travel Channel on occasion.
Why do we want to take vacations, anyway? Some folks say it is to increase the new experiences in their lives. That would mean a vacation is a state of time. Have you ever gotten back from vacation and felt you’d been gone a zillion years?
Psychologists tell us that sometimes time is defined by the length between unique situations. That’s why, for example, for a young child, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to drag on forever! And maybe it is, with all those new experiences between one and the other.
Conversely, for someone who is retired, time seems to just zoom by. Maybe that’s why you see so many older people on the tour boats. They are just trying to get the minutes to slow back down a little!
I’ve written before about . But going to visit places in the past would not be half bad, either.
I’d like to be in on the planning sessions for a section of the Great Wall of China. How did they do that? Or what about visiting the Roman Coliseum when the gladiators were in full cry? Much like attending a bull fight, I imagine. One of those things you might do and then check off your list, with a been-there-done-that sigh of relief.
There is a lot of press right now about protecting the ‘last wild spaces.’ What about going back to the Lewis & Clark expedition and actually seeing them for the first time? Heck! While we are at it, what about naming a mountain in my honor. Maybe even a wild flower or two. That would be nice.
I’d like to schedule one of those volunteer vacations where you help the local economy. It would be fun to carry a bucket of paint for Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel. Or maybe sell tickets at the Old Globe in London.
You could sneak in with the groundlings to throw rotten cabbages at the bad actors in a Shakespeare play. If Shakespeare really was Shakespeare and not Marlow or Babbage or another stand in or two. You’d definitely need to check in with the galaxy concierge as you made up that itinerary!
Back in this century, Malcolm Forbes used to say two things about vacations: first, you absolutely positively needed to take a one, every year. He did. And second, that it should be at least three weeks long. One week to let go of all the stuff you were leaving behind, one week to vacation, and one week to ramp back up to a return-to-work mentality.
That has always been my problem. Somehow the cookies I’ve been leaving for the elves never work. All those papers and messages and emails are still ticking away for me when I hit the front door of the office. Do you think I should I buy a more expensive brand of treats for them? Or maybe a good jolt of caffeine might do the trick—a double espresso caramel macchiato with extra whipped cream, please. To go.
And have you noticed that the first two days back you are still zoned anyway? I think that vacations should end on a Wednesday, not late Sunday night. That way you would be back to work on Thursday, not Monday. You’d know that you only have 48 hours to endure before you could unpack your suitcase and find your toothbrush and favorite jammies again. Yes, I like that.
Is it possible to vacation at home? Never leave the old ‘berg? In my neck of the woods, when it gets really hot in the summer all the dedicated tourists head over to the California beaches. Then the five star hotels open their doors to people who actually live in the city, for half price. You go into the restaurant for dinner and the waiter says, ‘Are you local? Me, too!’ And the service is special that night and you don’t mind leaving a pretty good tip, either.
When you come right down to it, though, I think the best vacation of all is a vacation of the heart. Plan to pack lightly and be open to whatever serendipities are waiting be just around the corner. Each day, each minute, a new adventure.