A million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I would burn off vacation time to go places and do things. It could be as simple as taking an extra-long weekend at the beach or as involved as heading to the Caribbean or spending the better part of two weeks knocking around Europe. It’s been a decade at least since I used my vacation time to really “go away.”
There are lots of factors intervening. Buying the house put a real stretch on finances there for a couple years. The idea of finding someone I trusted to take care of the various dogs, cats, and tortoise in residence for more than a day or two away was always daunting – and often nearly as expensive as the trip itself if I opted to hire it professionally versus relying on the less budget busting kindness of local friends. Added to that, the recent experience of returning home to find Hershel unexpectedly hovering just short of death’s door despite all reasonable precautions and care has left me more than a little angsty every time I need to leave the house to get groceries, let alone think about being away for days or weeks at a time.
The other insurmountable problem with going places is that when you arrive where you’re going, they’re inevitably filled with people. I can muster up the patience for dealing with the masses in small doses – perhaps the length of a concert – or a bit longer if really pressed. Contending day after day with long tourist lines, jostling for every meal, and a sea of people milling around oblivious to everyone and everything around them simply doesn’t sound restful or relaxing. Maybe I’ll be motivated to do that kind of travel again someday, but 2023 doesn’t feel like the year.
I’ll be using my upcoming time off to launch some strategic day trips to a few of the Mid-Atlantic region’s great used and antiquarian bookshops, get some vetting done for Anya, and otherwise just knocking around the house a bit. It’s not a plan smacking of wanderlust, but it feels like precisely the level of peace and tranquility I need at the moment.