The past couple weeks I've been on vacation. After 6 weeks of an intense graduate school program I was very ready for the time off, but only 3 days into being home with no plans I was itching for a task, a project, someone else to entertain me, anything. Turns out I really don't enjoy doing nothing, so I got to work preparing for the school year and helping my friend remodel her house. Thus occupied with places to focus my energy I made it through the next 3 days. At this point I was invited to a friend's lake house in Maine. While there I discovered that a friend and a body of water were really all the entertainment I required. Another 3 days whizzed by with a bit of sailing, some swimming, and a lot of hours just hanging out by the water. Next I traveled to my parents' house in CT.
A couple years ago they built their new 'summer home' and I love spending time there. The 'summer home' isn't actually a home at all, it is simply a remodeled porch. It is a nice room with a table for eating at and some comfortable chairs for lounging in. The 'commute' from home to the summer place involves opening a door in the kitchen and crossing a threshold into the new space. The thing is, it actually feels like you've traveled to a distant location- this area isn't air conditioned so it's filled with fresh air, the sounds of nature penetrate the screens and the temperature changes to reflect what's happening outside, plus it's decorated so it feels rather Tuscan. It's amazing what a slight change of atmosphere can do; coming out to play cards in the evening feels like an exciting event, but we still have all the comforts of home and never have to pack!
On the occasions when we've felt the need to venture out of our summer place, we've been going on day trips. We went out to lunch at a new restaurant right in town (10 minutes away) but it was still exciting since none of us had been before (by the way, they made guacamole with fruit in it, delicious!). One evening we went to a minor league baseball game (40 minutes away) for just $12 a seat and an awesome view of a fun game I couldn't differentiate from the professionals. Another day we went to the beach (1.5 hours away) and enjoyed a wonderful day of sitting in the sand, dipping our feet in the water (no way I was getting into the frigid ocean) and eating the lunch we'd brought with us. Today we traveled to some wineries (1 hour away), did a few wine tastings and had a delicious lunch at an amazing Italian restaurant.
So, in these weeks of vacation I've learned some very important things:
Sitting at home by myself gets boring fast, but it's really easy to solve that problem. Traveling less than 2 hours at a time I can get myself to a lake, friends, family, great food, sports, ocean, local wine and so much more. Nothing that I've done has been expensive; I haven't gone anywhere new, flown, or paid for a hotel, let alone a resort. Even though I spent 18 years living at my parent's house there are still many new and interesting things to do in the area. When I go home this weekend I will have no need for a vacation to recover from my vacation since everything I've done has been relaxing, simple and low key. There have been plenty of opportunities to be excited, and I've had new experiences, but there is always time to unwind and I'm not packing my days so tightly that I'll need to recoup when I get home. In conclusion, staycations are awesome as long as you do a bit of research and planning (but still way less than would be required for a vacation to somewhere new).