If you saw my 2012 Christmas card, you may envy my fabulous life.
There I am, strolling down a street in Rome, smiling with Doug on the famous Santa Monica Pier, and posing along the coast of Malibu. There are photos of me at the finish line of the Olympic Marathon trials in Houston, and the Diva run in Long Island, NY.
Ah yes, a fabulous life indeed…if only for the 15 days I was on vacation.
Because if you were to see what goes on the other 350 days of my life, you may think your life was somewhat fabulous in comparison. But this is not about bemoaning our struggles or comparing our burdens, it’s about taking time away from that stuff to enjoy vacation. REALLY enjoy vacation.
And I know how to vacation.
Pick a place, any place, and I’m all over it. My research starts with tips from friends, tips from the internet and tips about tipping. I’ve watched movies, explored websites and devoured travel books, folding over page corners and draining my yellow marker dry highlighting foods I must eat, places I must see and things I must do. So much so, I often end up learning more about the place I’m visiting than the people who live there, as I tell them about the hottest breakfast spot, secret discount deals and amazing views they have yet to see in their own backyard.
If I’m lucky enough to be traveling to another country, I’ll blast Learn __ While You Drive! during my long work commute, learning helpful phrases like “Excuse me” and “Where is the bathroom”, skipping useless phrases like how to say Can I see the shirt in the window? in Italian, later finding myself walking by a small shop in Florence looking at the cute shirt in the window thinking, “What are the odds?”
You might think with all this preparation and anticipation, the actual trip might disappoint.
Neither rain nor delayed flight nor potential tourism strike can change one simple fact: I’m on vacation. I am unplugged, unfettered and unpressured. I can clear my head of obligations for a few short days, worrying only about the new experiences ahead of me. I savor every moment, storing it in my memory bank to withdraw as needed - the strong smell of wild rosemary in the Arizona dessert, the deliciousness of my latte at a Rome café, the twinkle of the Eiffel Tower lights at night. I am thankful for everyone who has shared these memories with me, and for those who have patiently endured my over sharing of vacation stories, photos and videos.
But for someone who loves vacation this much, it’s not always easy to come back to the everyday-ness of life. Unusual and exciting replaced by expected and repetitive. Relaxing and enjoying replaced by stressing and dreading. “Want to do” and “can’t wait to do” replaced by “have to do”. If missing home is called being homesick, does missing vacation make me vacationsick?
If so, I’ve got just the cure.
It’s called VACATION.