Well folks, tomorrow is August. That month of dog days that squats astride Summer like a big sweaty fat dude. In fact, that’s exactly what August is: a big sweaty fat month. It’s also vacation time. The time when entire European countries shut down so that their overworked masses can escape the drudgery of living in a socialist worker’s paradise and achieve some kind of temporary sun-drenched bliss on an island in the Mediterranean.
For Americans, this time of the Summer used to mean one thing: the classic family vacation…in your Dad’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster…packed full of crap…with you in back trying to ignore your little sister who just wouldn’t stay on her side of the seat. Kids: “Are we there yet?” Dad: “Don’t make me stop this car!” We’ve all been there and survived that. Was it fun? Not exactly, but it probably did – like all things that fail to kill us – make us tougher. Where did we go on those brutally endless vacations? To some overcrowded, overpriced and overrated theme park? (yay!) Grandma’s house? (boo!) The beach? Who cares? We were getting out of the house. That was all that seemed to matter.
The essence of a vacation is the act of escape. And, just as in a prison break, the destination is immaterial. The entire point is to vacate your current location.
But why do we all need to escape/vacate? Are our surroundings really that miserable and dull? Did we suddenly discover that we are trapped in some gigantic Matrix of electronic overstimulation, intellectual starvation, and mass media-driven distraction?
I’ll let you answer that for yourself.
I lived in Hawaii for nine years as an adult after living literally right on the beach (east of A1A if you know your FLA) for nearly half of my childhood. That was more than enough beach for one life thanks (I’m still digging the sand out of the crack of my ass). When I recently lived in the Mid-Atlantic, folks were constantly asking/pestering me about my total disinterest in that jewel of the Delmarva coast Ocean City (the one East Coast destination I am proud to have avoided). My response “You call that a beach??!!!”
I live on my own mountain now so I kind of get the whole need-to-escape thing. But what I never really understood was the appeal of the annual Summer vacation. You do know you’ve got to go back to that hell when this is over, right? And are vacations ever really worth all the stress, expense, and hassle? Newlyweds should take a royal one (aka a “honeymoon”) to some place truly exotic right after the wedding. Make it so special that it gets vacations out of your system for the remainder of your life. It worked for me. Alternately, choose a career that requires frequent travel and relocation. This is guaranteed to beat that love of travel and “adventure” right out of you for good. How do I know? Because all of my fellow retirees who completed a full career in the military are, to a man, 100% homebodies.
Bottom line: vacations are
almost always a drag. They over promise and underwhelm. And if you really find yourself needing an escape, perhaps what you really need is to reconsider that prison you are living in.
So, yeah, I just outed myself as anti-vacation. Add that to my recently-revealed anti-holiday stance and I’ve now grown into some kind of ornery old crank.
As preppers, we should ask ourselves “Can I do something prepperish and have it masquerade as a vacation?” Maybe, take a week off to scout out good bug-out locations in a nearby mountain range or National Forest. Drive back roads the whole way. Behave the whole time as if you’ll never see (or need) civilization again.
Just a thought.
Better yet: don’t go anywhere at all. If you love your location and your current situation, you certainly shouldn’t feel any need to escape from it. So have a staycation instead. (<That’s a good link there, you’d better take a few minutes to check it out before proceeding)
I’ve blogged before about the joy of doing nothing. Why not do nothing for an extended period of time, say a week, a month, or even a year? And then, if anyone asks, you can say you had the best vacation of your life. Works for me!
“Sorry folks, the park’s closed. The moose out front should’ve told you.”