Be the Person You Are on Vacation
“I want to be the person I am on vacation,” a friend said the other day as she tidied her kitchen with a scowl on her face. She went on to explain that when she’s traveling, she feels lighter, more open and energized, happier. “But when I am home, I don’t know how to relax.”
While vacations don’t always help to relieve stress, giving ourselves well-deserved (and true) time off does. This is why travel is hyped as a way to unwind. When we’re home, the to-do list can’t easily be ignored. The laundry and dishes still need to be done. Someone has to wipe the kids’ pee from the seat, or the floor, if they never learned to aim (or clean). The bills have to be paid and somehow food needs to happen.
Off in some far flung locale, we give ourselves permission to do things we enjoy — like paddle boarding, golfing, or lying by the sea with People and a stiff drink, or sleeping in, and definitely ignoring those emails. We eat out more often, or cook meals together, or gather around a board game or campfire rather than the TV. Other people’s Instagram doesn’t influence our mental health because we are tending to our own. In effect, we are constructing (and living) our best life.
Yet, in 2022, travel is a nightmare. Hundreds of flights are being canceled every day. Covid is sweeping through airports and holidays. Bags are being lost. Gas prices are through the roof. The stress of planning, then changing, then planning again, and, ugh, changing everything again, is making travel feel worse than going to work.
I don’t write this lightly. I mean, I’m a travel journalist. My work is to travel, and even I don’t have the energy to plan anything else this summer, mostly because all six of the trips I was trying to take had to be canceled. There was the non-Covid illness that swept through our house canceling first a white water rafting adventure, then a Bay Area road trip, then a jaunt to the mountains. My kid’s jammed finger halted a Santa Barbara escape. When I got Covid, we had to cancel a Mexico vacation. And then when I finally accepted that we needed to do a staycation in San Diego, my father-in-law ended up in the ICU. So much for poolside mimosas.