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Monday, February 4, 2013

Vacation Dissertation

We got home early yesterday afternoon from a trip to Orlando Florida with our friends Marie and Thayne.  In these roughly twenty-four hours since our arrival back home, I have developed a theory. What a shocker, right? It seems like I've always got a theory about something. The theory of the moment: the word vacation doesn't necessarily mean what we think it means. 

In recent years, I have heard the manufactured word "staycation" being thrown around a lot. Being a raving lunatic, it has been somewhat irritating to me.  Why? Because I didn't realize that there was some unwritten law stating that a vacation was required to include traveling away from home and spending lots of money. Over the years I have had many vacation days or even weeks that were spent at or close to home. They were opportunities for me to take a break from my daily responsibilities and just BE. There are many ways we can escape our daily grind and refresh our minds, our bodies, our selves. For some people it can be something as simple as just reading a book, finishing it, and then starting another. For others, it might include art, nature, cooking, lounging about, or even travel.

Many years ago, I met a Roman Catholic priest who said something that I thought was so profound, I remember it to this day.  He was talking about recreation and how important it is in our lives. He said if you looked at the word a little differently, you would see it as re-creation. Recreation is your chance to re-create yourself. We can often get lost in the small and large details of work and life and the greater world around us. But if we take some time, even small bits of it, we can do things that will make us more whole again. Photographing trees and flowers, taking a nice long soak in the bathtub, baking some delicious bread or cookies all can be recreation. It's all about taking some time to step out of the fast lane and savor life's flavors.

And then again, there's travel. As I said, we got home yesterday after ten days away. When I was younger than I am now, I could hop on a plane, go tearing around Manhattan for a week, fly home, and be back at work the next day, perhaps a bit tired, but ready to take on the world. But, as Yul Brynner sang in The King and I, "world have changed a lot." It will take me a few days to rest up from all of the fun that I had. By the way, if you were wondering...the fat little babyfeets look may be great when you are less than a year old, but on an adult, not so attractive! But what fun we had! I will naturally be writing about it in future blogs. 

Who knew, for instance, that someone who absolutely despises rollercoasters would ride four of them in four days at while at Disney World? Yes, that's exactly what I did! And I even went on the Tower of Terror. And I saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time when we went to Cocoa Beach. We ate all sorts of delicious food, ranging from Krystal's Burgers to Giordano's Pizza to The House of Blues. And we met some wonderful people, too. One of my favorite encounters happened at The Boardwalk, a Disney property that has lodging and shopping and serves as the stop for boat rides to and from various Disney locales like Epcot. We had just gotten off the boat and were using the restrooms before heading to the car and our lodging. When I was waiting for an available stall, a girl who was seven or eight years old came out of the large handicapped stall. "OMG! she said, "that little bathroom is so awesome!" She looked at me and said, "Really, you should try it!" I said yes, I would, and I did. I can understand why she was impressed. She probably hasn't experienced many bathroom stalls that have everything the whole bathroom has all in one place. I saw her in the hall when I was leaving and told her that she was right, it was awesome.

I hope you will enjoy my upcoming posts about some of the joys I experienced during my travels. And I hope that you will appreciate the fact that Trent and I were were glad to get back home. And now for my thoughts about what vacation means. Vacation is, hopefully, an enjoyable time. It can be spent alone or with family and friends. If you travel, you might see and taste and do many things you might not experience at home or on a regular basis. You may lounge around, or you might run yourself ragged. But if you are lucky, you will come home happy. Happy that you went, and happy that you have come back to the place that is yours. And if you are really lucky, it will only take you a day or two to recover from all that "rest." May all your vacations and recreations be balm to your heart and soul, and your homecomings full of joy.