Towards the end of our holiday, just as the going-home blues were starting to set in, Terry and I got to talking about the things we could do back home, to try to make ourselves feel like we were still on vacation.
Of course, some things are completely out with your control in that respect: work and weather being the main ones. And I’m not about to start slathering myself with sunscreen, or wandering around in a bathing suit either, for that matter, because I just don’t think that would go down well in the village, somehow. Being at home is never going to feel exactly like a vacation, obviously, but we realised there are some elements of a holiday that you CAN carry over into your “real” life: the little things you do while you’re away that make you feel happier, or more relaxed, but which often get forgotten about once you’re back in your normal routine. Here are a few of the ideas we came up with…
Go for a walk without a destination
When was the last time you went out for a walk just to explore, and without a particular destination in mind? Terry and I walk all the time on vacation, but hardly ever when we’re at home, which means there are some foreign cities that I know better than my own village: weird! There’s a lot to be said for exploring an area on foot, though, and even if it’s a place you’re familiar with, there’s always something new to spark the imagination, and make you feel like you’re on an adventure – and you gotta love an adventure, right?
When we’re in the car, we tend to just drive from A to B, always taking the quickest, most direct route, even although it’s a road we’ve travelled a hundred times before. Sometimes you don’t really have a choice with this one, but if you do have a bit of extra time, try taking a different route, or turning down that street you drive past every day but have never travelled. Sure, you might get a bit lost, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? (Unless you get REALLY lost, and find yourself stuck down a well or something. That probably WOULDN’T be much fun…)
Go out just for coffee
At home, it wouldn’t occur to me to go out just to grab a cup of coffee, or sit in a cafe for an hour or so: I’d feel like I was wasting time, or that there was something else I should be doing instead. (Also, MONEY.) Sometimes, though, the thing I should be doing is taking the time to look around me and just exist for a little while, without the pressure to do anything. It’s really easy to let work and other commitments get in the way of that, but unless there’s something really pressing to take care of, it can be nice to just sit and watch the world go by, like you do on vacation. Speaking of which…
Read a book
I love reading, but it’s another luxury that tends to get reserved for holidays these days. Seriously, the last time I read an entire book in one sitting, I was on a plane, which is kind of tragic considering how much I enjoy it. I don’t expect to read entire books in the middle of a working week- I mean, I WISH – but I’m sure I can find the odd twenty minutes here and there for something. And, ooh, I’ve just thought – I could get one of those miniature bottles of wine to drink while I was doing it! And a bag of pretzels! And someone to sit in front of me and recline their seat, so I can’t move! Er, OK, maybe not the last one…
Be a tourist
A lot of people don’t like being seen to do “touristy” things – especially not in their own city. For some reason, there’s a bit of a stigma attached to “being a tourist”, which I’ve never really understood, because what could be better than getting out and seeing the world around you? We have no problem doing “touristy” things when we’re abroad, but we don’t often do them at home, which is a shame, because all of those days out I’ve written about have left me feeling so much happier and relaxed afterwards: exactly like I’ve had a mini-vacation, in fact. The great thing about being a tourist in your own city is that you can see things in the off-season, when they’re less crowded (and often less expensive, too): and even if they’re not, nothing will make you feel like you’re on vacation quite like surrounding yourself with people who actually are.
Make breakfast an event
Most of the time I don’t even EAT breakfast, let alone linger over it: I get up and head straight to my desk, where I’ll start checking emails etc while I drink the first coffee of the day. I’m probably not going to start creating elaborate breakfasts every morning, but even just taking my coffee outside, and away from the computer, would make for a better start to the day.
Have a day without any plans
One of the things I love most about being on holiday is that feeling when you wake up in the morning and know there’s absolutely nowhere you have to be, and nothing you have to do: the day is completely yours, to do whatever you like with. I can’t do that at home every day, but even when I DO find myself with a free day, I’ll normally end up working, catching up with chores, or doing something equally dull-but-necessary. Those things ARE necessary, and I’m not saying they should be ignored completely, but every so often it can be good to forget all of that stuff and do whatever you fancy – within reason, obviously…
Give your home the hotel treatment
I’d love for my home to feel like a boutique hotel, but until I win the lottery, I’m going to have to make do with some new towels, the highest-quality bedsheets I can afford, and maybe a few nice products to use in the shower. Oh, and if I can just persuade Terry to leave a chocolate on my pillow every night, that would be pretty sweet, too…