Monday, July 1, 2013

Winging It: An American Family Staycation

“Her purchases just about busted her vacation budget, but what else is a vacation for, if not for overindulgence and mindless extravagance?”
― Candace Schuler

For the first time in my adult life, I am actively participating in a staycation.   The staycation isn't one where we just stay at HOME, but one where we stay within a day's drive (to and from...we spend the nights in our own beds) from our home.  The idea of a staycation runs in direct opposition to everything I feel.  I enjoy leaving home.  I like going..anywhere and everywhere.  I enjoy flying and driving to different places and spending the nights in random hotels in random places.  And, if my funds and time were unlimited, I don't think I would ever spend more than a few nights in a row at home.  Perhaps I would tire of unlimited travel eventually, but I think it would take about forty years.

Regardless, I have embarked on the path of an actual grown-up these past couple of years and am not willing to spend money I don't have on a vacation.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spends about $1,415 for a week's vacation.  When I think about our past vacations, that's probably a pretty accurate figure.  I'd like to spend about a THIRD of that this year. Ideally, I'd like to spend about a TENTH of that but gas alone is going to blow that idea.  I didn't save money specifically for vacation this year...and I'm living my life on a budget without overspending (which is a novel concept in my life and one that frustrates me greatly on a regular basis).  I loathe the idea that I have to factor in expenses in planning a vacation but it's a cold reality.  Being a REAL grown-up SUCKS.

Thing 1, Thing 2 and I on a Great Adventure
I did say "planning" a vacation, right?   Yeah, I don't really know about all that.  I'm kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl.  I had a big "plan" for today's great adventure. I was going to drive them up to the Dan River and get a few inner tubes and have a lazy river float today complete with a succulent picnic lunch on a riverbank.  I woke up to the sound of a delicious rain and cloudy skies.  Hmm.  Guess we'll go indoors today.  Somewhere.  I'll have to think about it...

I'm convinced this year's staycation will be a valuable experience for the hoodlums.  They'll learn a few things on their summer vacation with mom this year:

  1. You don't have to go far to have fun.  There will be days (perhaps today) when we stay in town and do things like go to TWO movies in a row.  Or we'll have Family Games at the kitchen table with popcorn and ice cream.  Or we'll just go amble along some of the many beautiful walking paths in our town we've never bothered to explore.  Life is a Great Adventure...every matter where you end up.
  2. Our vacation will fit into a budget.  Just because I WANT to fly to Europe and have a Grand Euuropean Adventure doesn't mean I can afford to do it.  The reality of life is that you have to fit your adventures into your wallet.  It's not a lesson I enjoy and it's not a lesson I love to teach on VACATION.  But it's a valuable lesson for kids.  They KNOW I love to go (just go).  And they know that traveling is something I WANT.  But, there is a greater lesson to them in letting them know that I can adjust my wants to fit within my means.  Sure, I still have dreams of an amazing cross-country adventure (that I've decided I will begin saving for...TODAY!) with Thing 1 and Thing 2.  But, for now, I am going to play out our dreams on a smaller scale.  Sometimes, kids, you can't always get what you want.  But you can STILL have fun doing it.  
  3. What I want MOST is to spend time as a family.  I adore my kids.  And they're growing into young adults before my very eyes.  They're developing their own personalities and becoming people that I enjoy being around.  This staycation is just another opportunity to be with these new people I'm ushering into adulthood.  In the end?  It doesn't really matter if, where or when we go.  The thing that matters is that I get the pleasure of their company.  (Talk to me in a week when I've been around them 24-7 for seven days.)
It's a staycation.  The Great Kelly Family Staycation of 2013.  But it's STILL a Great Adventure.  These things are fun and fun is good, as sayeth the wise and good Theodore Geiss.

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1 comment:

  1. Bernard Tilyard says 'Have a great Staycation Kelly and boys. You live in a beautiful county and there are a lot of interesting thing to see. One of ours was Old Town Winston Salem, plenty of fun there and also educational.
    Keep us posted on where you go, for us we could well be travelling with you!!