I’ve been waiting many months for nine days.
Nine days of not chasing leads for stories or worrying about deadline. Nine days of not having to come into the office. Nine days of not having to get out of my pajamas if I don’t want to.
Nine days of vacation.
Well, it’s actually only one week — but, of course, I have to allow myself the privilege of counting both weekends as well, bringing my total up to nine days off. And my nine days begin at 5 p.m. today.
It’s been almost two years since I’ve taken a vacation from this place, and that time I went out of state just to really be able to say I took a vacation. I’ve been thinking for months about what I want to do during this time off, and I still have no plans.
Maybe I’ll do some late spring cleaning around the house. Maybe I’ll just be lazy for awhile. Maybe we’ll pack a couple of bags and hit the road for a few days. At this point, who knows?
I’ve been wondering during my vacation planning — or lack thereof — just what happened to the days of planned family vacations?
I remember when I was young, my family would actually take off on trips to various destinations during the summer months and, sometimes, during the holidays from school.
My mom is a planner, so every detail was decided long before the bags were packed. We would know exactly how long it would take us to get to where we were going, where we were going to stop along the way, and what we were going to do when we got there.
Sometimes our trips would consist of visiting family members, while others would be a few days at a theme park hot-spot. Many times, the location we chose had a lake so my dad could get a chance at some fishing while Momma took my brothers and me to do things we wanted to do.
Come to think of it, taking a vacation back then seems like it was more of a chore than a luxury. No wonder my mom would always say, “I need a vacation to get over our vacation.”
But I saw many places and took part in many activities that I may not have had the chance to otherwise.
My vacation planning has always been much the way it is now. Instead of making reservations and searching MapQuest for the best route possible, time away means packing a bag and hitting the road. We’ll get there when we get there.
I’ve always said that one of these days, when my time of working 40 hours a week is over, I hope to have the ability to just go where and when I want. I don’t want to spend months planning for a few days away. I want to just ... go.
The thought of packing a few bags, jumping in the car and picking a direction sounds like my kind of road trip. No destination. No reservations. No plan of action.
If something looks interesting, we stop. If we get tired of driving, we get a room for the night. If we decide to take a couple of extra days, we take them. If we run into bad weather, we ride out the storm. If we want to turn off the phone, we hit the power button.
That kind of time away sounds so much better to me than an expensive vacation home or a flight to Paris.
Four wheels, a tank of gas and the open road.
That’s more than enough vacation for me.
— Rhonda Griffin is the senior staff writer of the Bladen Journal. Call her at 862-4163, Ext. 261, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.