Last year at this time, we were gearing up for our big trip to Atlantic City. It was going to be our sons first time at the beach, and we couldn’t wait to dip his little toes in the ocean and watch his face as the waves crashed in front of him. We had a wonderful trip, a little tricky at times dealing with a 15 month old’s demeanor, but it was VACATION and that was what we needed.
Fast forward one year later to our vacation-less summer, and let the depression ensue… Of course when you aren’t going somewhere, it seems like everyone else IS going somewhere. I’m trying to figure out how to get over this funk and stop dreaming about sandy beaches, boardwalks, and souvenir shops. Writing about it, and rehashing all these feelings probably isn’t going to help, but I’m in the midst now, so here goes nothing.
Here’s my top ten random, crazy ideas to feel like I’m kind-of, maybe, sorta, on vacation. Feel free to steal.
1. Drive on the turnpike farther than you usually go. The turnpike leads to most vacation destinations, so driving on it will give you that sense of leaving reality behind. Just make sure to bring some cash or your EZ-pass, or you’ll be vacationing in the toll booth rolling quarters or whatever they do to people who can’t pay their tolls.
2. When on said turnpike, stop at one of those charming rest stops and get a giant coffee at the fake Starbucks “for your long trip.” Just don’t look around too much at the people actually on their way somewhere, you’ll get jealous.
3. Eat at a diner you’ve never eaten at before, or go to a museum you’ve never visited. The unfamiliar can always seem like vacation. Pretend you’re from out-of-town and make the other people there jealous.
4. Find a place that smells like vacation. We go to this fountain show in one of the malls in Atlantic City and that water has a distinct scent. I was walking through my local mall the other day and stopped to throw a penny in the fountain with my son, and for just a second, I caught the same smell that I do in Atlantic City. Pure heaven.
5. Carry a camera and take pictures of yourself in front of buildings, bridges, lakes, whatever! We know we get camera happy on vacation, so do it on your regular route. Use Instagram and fake hashtags to really trick yourself into thinking you’re on vacation. #fakecation!
6. Go to an arcade (a staple vacation endeavor), play Skee-ball, shoot the basketball into the too-small hoops, do that claw game and win a stuffed animal, act like getting a bouncy ball for 500 tickets was your ultimate goal all along.
7. Go to a local amusement park and watch one of those shows in the park theater and pretend it’s Broadway.
8. Stay in a hotel. Doesn’t matter if it’s two minutes from your house, hotels feel like vacation. So stay in, order room service, go to the hotel pool, use the exercise room, dry your hair for three hours with that ridiculously small hairdryer in the bathroom, steal the lotions and shampoos that will then stay in your closet for a year before you toss them, make bad coffee in the 1/2 cup pot they provide, watch HBO and act like it’s exciting you get that channel, check for the Bible and the stock ironing board, eat continental breakfast, etc., etc.
9. Go to the airport. Just being around all the people with their luggage will make you feel like you could hop on a plane any minute, too. Buy something touristy. I don’t care if you’ve lived in Pittsburgh, all of your life, buy an I love Pittsburgh T-shirt or key chain. Because you know if you were on vacation, you’d buy something stupid like that.
10. And last but not least, use your imagination. Just close your eyes next time you’re sitting outside in your yard and hear the sound of the waves crashing, smell the salt water and fried food, feel the ocean breeze and mist, the hot sand, the sharp shells, and the beaming sun tanning your face. (or burning your face if you’re me.)
For all my fellow non-vacationers this year, try to get through the next couple of months. Summer 2014 is right around the corner and beach-bound we hopefully all will be!