For the first time in my adult life, I had to schedule time off from work, also known as a vacation. This was a new concept for me, considering my vacations and time off up to this point was always predetermined by an academic calendar. For those of you who may not know this past 2015-2016 academic year was the first year I was not a student since 1995. I have always thought that Summer should be full of fun in the sun with cookouts, beach bumming, and family vacations. The keys word here are thought and should. I thought that since I now have this time off from clergy life, I should plan a full vacation in the sun.
After months of searching for the perfect destination and weeks of last minute getaways, I was faced with the sober truth that I did not know what I wanted or where I wanted to go in the first place. And so, I ended up staying at home. Literally. I had the money, but I did’t have a plan.
If I was going to be home during my first scheduled vacation of adult life, I might as well make it a full staycation and splurge a little bit in my own community.
Now, let me tell you this. Staycations, to much surprise can not only be fun, but what we need. We can become so tangled in the push and pull of everyday life to the point that we are no longer living but residing. It’s one thing to share where you reside, as a place where your permanent home is. It’s another thing to live there. I had not lived in Connecticut. It is where I have resided for 26 years and claim as home, but I have not fully embraced the beauty of all that it had to offer outside of my concrete jungle.
I went to beaches I never knew existed. I ate at restaurants I’ve not heard of and ones that I’ve been longing to try. I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while due to work. I had sangria with my mom and made my first margaritas. I took my dog to a dog park, which never knew existed. Went to the spa for the first time and I even dressed to the T with the some of the best pieces in my closet. I was determined to feel amazing and to embrace what was around me.
Vacations are not so much about the destination as it is about the rest and the self care. I had spent less than $200 over the course of 4 days doing some of the things I would have done had I gone out of town. The best part, sleeping in on a Sunday morning. I can’t tell you when was the last time I was able to do that. I promised myself that I would live and that I would not deny myself anything I wanted to do or try for 4 days. The day I returned to work, I felt refreshed and at peace.
The lesson and the challenge that I would like to leave with you is this: live where you reside. Take the time to eat at restaurants you failed to notice. Go to a neighboring town and see what’s going on over there. Geographically, we all don’t have the same landscapes; however no matter your terrain, there is an outdoor adventure with your name on it. And if there is a vacation destination that you want to take, plan for it. When well planned, there really isn’t anywhere we can’t go.
Do take time and enjoy the space around you. There are hidden gems at every turn, and if we aren’t careful we just might find ourselves become a stranger at home. It never hurts to take a staycation.