What’s a Vacation?

I haven’t had too many vacations in my life. When I was growing up I was the oldest of seven children and frankly we couldn’t afford to go on vacation.  I remember one time – when there were only five children, the youngest an infant – we were piled into my stepfather’s bright red-orange  Chevy Vega and driven to visit his parents who lived in California. I don’t remember too much about the trip, except it was a long drive in a small vehicle.

When I think of vacations, I think of traveling somewhere.  That’s what it seems like most people do on vacation. They look forward to taking the time off, packing their suitcases, flying or driving somewhere and spending time there away from home.

Actually, the idea of that is both appealing and stressful.  I mean, I find myself as I grow older, curious to see if a large body of water is really blue like this:

Blue Ocean

Blue Ocean Waters in Hawaii

The appeal is maybe going to Hawaii someday.  I’ve only been to the ocean once in my 46 years.  The water was cold and salty in June in California!

The stressful part… I do not find packing up and driving or flying someplace unfamiliar to be relaxing. I have actually heard people say they have to come back home and take a vacation from the vacation. I do not find that appealing at all.  Luckily, nearly all of my family lives right here in Arizona. There are only a couple of renegades that moved away.

When my children were younger, and we were living on a very tight welfare income, going on vacation was out of the question. But that didn’t stop us from imagining going on vacation.

Wait, we did go once to my sister’s house in California.  We went by Greyhound bus.  I enjoyed taking the bus. It’s relaxing to let someone else do the driving for you.

When my boys were little we went on “pretend” vacations a couple of times.  I would sign up for one of those promotions where you paid $1 for a month to try whatever it was, and then you had to cancel the membership within 30 days.  I’d sign up for the ones that offered one free night at a hotel.  Then I’d carefully look through the participating hotels and find the one with the best offers. I’d try to find one that had a suite with a bedroom and living room and two televisions, and one that served breakfast and with some nice restaurants within walking distance.  This was at the time in our lives when we didn’t have a car either.  We’d take the bus there, and usually “there” was less than five miles away. But while the bus was going down the road, we’d imagine we were going hundreds of miles away from home. We’d talk about this different city we were going to (and often it would be a different city, just the neighboring one).

I just love staying at hotels. It really dampens my enthusiasm when I hear the problems with bedbugs.  Yuck! Even from upscale hotels you can bring home bedbugs!

It’s funny because I’m a messy, cluttery person but the thing I love most about hotels is how everything is so neat and tidy while I’m there. I unpack my suitcase and put everything into the drawers and I make my bed every morning.  I really wish I could be more tidy in my own bedroom at home.

So recently I was awarded with four weeks of vacation.  Last year was the first year I’d been given vacation and I got one week.  I’m not really sure how it all works, but in the first few years of employment at my current position I only worked three days a week. Two years ago I started working four days a week. One year after I’d worked four days a week was when I got my first week’s worth of vacation. Forty hours. And like I said recently I was awarded with 160 hours. I never used any of my 40 hours last year, so now I have 200 hours available for vacation!

Ironically, since I only work four days a week, I am so busy that I don’t really have time to take off work. And we are not allowed to take the money instead of the vacation time. At least not until we quit working there, which I don’t foresee happening any time soon.

This is really the only time in my life when I’ve had this kind of vacation built up. I’m not sure what to do with it.  The first time I had this much vacation saved up I used it all for maternity leave when I had my first son, so needless to say it wasn’t really a relaxing vacation. Although it was very enjoyable and wonderful being able to stay home and bond with my baby son, it definitely wasn’t relaxing.  Especially since at 10 days of age he ended up with an infection that turned to sepsis throughout his body, and then we were in the hospital for ten days. But I digress.

When I do take these vacation days, I will try to time then with a holiday so that I can stretch out the amount of days I can stay home in a row.  I would love to stay home ten days in a row. I just know I would feel a lot better if I could do that. Catch up on resting, relax a little bit.

What’s your favorite vacation?

Yours Truly,

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8 comments to What’s a Vacation?

  • Tracy

    My family was poor as well, and we rarely went any where. Disclaimer, if we did, but dad with major issues would end up angry, turn the car around, and go home. We would travel an hour or two outside our area, to spend time at the beach. It never really worked. I survived thankfully! : )

    As an very young adult, I traveled to: places, Hawaii, Mexico, Ecuador..gads, I even payed cash back then, and did not know what a cc card was!

    Recently, I have had the wonderful pleasure of learning what life is like in the mid-west. Being from So Cal (not cali) : ) I have found it a WONDERFUL pleasure to learn about farmland and small towns. Boy, do I have respect for the modern day farmer competing against the corporate ones.

    We do live in such a beautiful world, and there is so much for us to explore!! We just need money!! : )

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Tracy… yeah… my stepfather was a rage-o-holic, so I can relate to your experiences with your dad. Sorry you had to go through that! I’m glad you were able to do some traveling as a young adult and have a good time – and I’m so proud of you for using CASH!! Awesome! I like smaller towns, too. Of the two closest to us – one 16 miles away the other is 25 miles – I prefer the one 25 miles away because it still has the small hometown feel to it. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • Actually the water can really be that nice (check out the post Wordless Wednesday on my blog to see the view from my window) but remember that a vacation does not have to be at the beach.

    I prefer to think of vacation as a state of mind….you can have a good time just not doing any work.

    [Reply]

  • Please use your vacation time. I think taking time to decompress and recharge batteries makes people better employees (and probably better overall:)). Even if it’s a staycation, you can relax and go back to work refreshed.

    Your strategy to combine vacation with holidays is excellent. I often do it at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas where I get more than 1 holiday day.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Bucksomeboomer, your advice is excellent, it is vitally important to decompress and recharge. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • Tracy

    Hi Mrs. A!

    Sigh…I never even knew what a credit car was back then, it was the early 80′s. Maybe people didn’t have credit cards half as much as now, I can’t even remember…now I’m in the hole over 60k. sigh…

    Is it possible to contact you by e mail? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Tracy

    The d on my computer sticks…credit carD!! : )

    [Reply]

  • [...] But one of the fun things we did which went a long way toward warding off deprivation fatigue: we still went on vacation once a year to a faraway place that was full of fun and excitement.  Now I know you’re asking, [...]

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