Vacations Are Like Affairs

They feel good for a while, but then it’s time to pay the piper.

Vacations are the devil, and I may never take one again.

Think about it. Why are affairs fun? Because they help you escape the tedium of your day to day life. They let you dream of a better or at least a different life. Your secret partner is on their best behavior, there’s no fights, there’s no drama. Everything feels easy and exciting.

Now think about your last vacation.

Did you not feel the same way? How many vacations have you been on where you said to yourself, “I could run away and live here,” even though you didn’t know anything about what it really takes to get through a day there?

Think about how you feel when your affair ends. Are you sad? Devastated? Got the blues in a serious way? Dreading going back to work, or doing anything, for that matter? Again, vacations are just like that.

It’s the idea of a vacation that starts all the trouble.

You pick a place, you pick a date, you book a room, you book a flight. Then the anticipation begins. You excitedly look through tour books and websites. You select places you might want to see, then slowly whittle them down to the ones that you think will be the most fun or interesting.

You count the weeks, the days, the hours until the fun begins. You’re practically giddy, knowing every moment you spend at your destination will be a great one.

Then the day arrives.

You get to the airport early so you can savor one last adult beverage before you get on the plane. You board and it begins. (By the way, why are we always exhausted when we get off a plane, when all we’ve done is sit there and lounge for a few hours? Just asking.)

Things are great at first.

The places you go feel special. But the closer you get to the end of your vacation, something begins to change. You start keeping track of the time again, but this time in anticipation of the end of the trip. You start thinking about being back in your cube or stuck in endless meetings. By the time the trip ends, you are already hating life because you know what you are going back to. You know you’ll sit back at your desk, thinking about the fun you had, then looking at where you are now, and it makes you feel like crap. You start to wish you had never gone.

How is this not like an affair?

What part of the thrill and excitement turning into angst and frustration is not the same? We’ve reached the point where we know it’s going to end badly, and we do it anyway.

So what’s the answer?

For me, it’s about taking less vacations and more about making my day to day life a little more fun and exciting. Start by choosing a better job, one that captivates your interest.

Then look around you, and notice all the fun places where you already live. I’m surprised how many people don’t ever go to places they consider “touristy” without stopping to consider that maybe there’s a reason people go there. I lived in Southern California for many years, and I met a lot of locals who had never been to Disneyland. How could you not go even once before making a decision that it was not for you?

I also lived near San Francisco for awhile, and again, there were people who had lived there for years, yet never went into the City, and who had never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Why not?

I highly recommend being a tourist in your own town.

Discover the hidden treasures. Find a tour book about where you live. You may discover you don’t need the “affair” of a vacation, or at the very least, you will learn that coming home to someplace (or someone) familiar is not a bad thing.

Talk to your partner.

Think of your partner as a “tour book,” and ask if there are places they’ve always wanted to go but were afraid to mention. See if you can go back to places you used to enjoy together that are close by. Hopefully you’ll discover you don’t need to go far for that vacation feeling. And it will keep away the blues.

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Want a chuckle and maybe something to think about a couple of times a week? Then click here.

I’m a writer, photographer, artist, musician and cleaner of litter boxes who focuses on the quirks in life.

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