Thursday, June 4, 2015


No, not a typo. Making vacation is a deliberate act, a choice of time, place, and type of relaxation.

Making vacation is what you do when you don’t have money to travel, or leisure to take a week (or more) away from your everyday affairs, or—and this is mine—when you don’t really want to leave home because you enjoy your house/town/life.
I’m on virtual vacation this week. Starting after church on Sunday, my schedule for the week lightened and I have spent more time doing things that seldom, in my normal way of life, get the attention I can give them now.

I don’t actually get a full week—there were appointments and meetings I can’t avoid, since I’m going to be in town anyway, but I have discovered three days that count as vacation in my book: Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday.

Before making a vacation, I recommend you figure out what it is that you like about being on vacation. I came up with a list of six things that appeal to me:
  • No housework
  • No laundry
  • No shopping except for fun things
  • No errands
  • No meetings
  • Minimal cooking

Another recommendation: drop certain words from your vocabulary: should, ought, must, have to. Those words dictate what you do. Instead, try could—there’s possibility in could. There’s adventure!
So—you’ve made your list. You’ve developed a vocabulary for possibility and adventure. Now for the details. I chose things I absolutely love to do, and even though I do them often, I seldom make them the focus of my day.

Reading, for instance. I read every day, but now I’m reading much of the day, even almost the whole day. In a new mystery (the first by that author) I found endorsements by several other writers, some of whom I’d never heard of. So, my fingers did the walking to our library’s website and searched the online catalog. Bingo! Two of the writers I’d never heard of resided on the actual shelves of my library and were listed as “Available” (not checked out).
Now they are checked out. Two new authors. The first one is almost finished (by today’s end it will be history) and then I’ll tackle the next. Now that I'm on vacation, I can get lost in the story--and it's a hoot. Craig Johnson's The Serpent's Tooth. Some rough language, but fitting for the story and locale (Wyoming, South Dakota).

While I read a CD of the Pacific Ocean, Carmel by the Sea, plays in the background. I love the sound of the water rushing to shore, rushing out again. In my imagination I’m at the beach in northern Oregon, letting the wind blow through my hair, snuggled into my sweatshirt for warmth. That was always one of my favorite vacation spots.
Since this is vacation week, more or less, I’m doing almost no chores. Minimal cooking (I’m using frozen soups and fruit that were put away for just such an occasion as this). Minimal dishwashing (paper plates are life-savers, except for soup; so is eating out). No vacuuming. No yard work. My rationale is that I would not do these things at a hotel or resort, so I’ll not do them here.

My one concession was laundry, which I did on Tuesday. Now I have unlimited choices in my bureau and closet—even better than a vacation at a resort, because there I’d have only a few items with me.
Shopping? That’s a natural for vacation time. Thinking about a trip to the big stores in the city. But not very seriously.

And I’m not going to any concerts, plays, movies, or outdoor extravaganzas; not visiting malls or stores I've never been in. My idea of vacation is just what I’m experiencing right now: not doing the chores and errands that eat up my creative time; not staying up late to finish a sewing project because tomorrow is too busy already; not spending a lot of time with people, because I always see enough of my fellow man and woman to give me a sense of community.
Saturday night I’ll return from my virtual vacation, lay out clothes for Sunday morning, practice the music for the service I’ll play at 10:15. And next week I’ll resume my regular life: sewing, exercise classes, knitting, meetings. But the memory of my virtual vacation will be as meaningful as if I’d driven to the airport and flown to Oregon. Not the same, but very, very good.