I used to think that a staycation was something that I would never, ever do. Why would anyone choose to stay home on their vacation instead of jetting off to an exotic locale to see the world? Well, because I moved to a new place right before a busy work schedule lasting three months, and I didn’t have enough time or the energy to organize all my stuff after I got off work each day (maybe I’m just lazy?), I decided I would take the time off to sort out my boxes, organize, and decorate my new apartment. Besides, I needed to follow up on many doctor’s appointments which I had to miss because of work. So before I knew it, I was officially succumbing to a staycation.
There is nothing more luxurious than time. Time to sleep in and linger on the weekends, time to sip your morning coffee/tea slowly, while reading in bed, time to just stare out the window or look up at the sky for no reason at all…these are so luxurious because in our busy lives we usually don’t have the time for such frivolous activities during a typical weekday. Getting up without an alarm, especially for several days in a row, is absolutely delicious! Who knew? This is something that I can’t or won’t do when I’m on a traditional vacation. I must set the alarm, usually in an international city, and I will have museum tickets or some fun event planned at some ungodly hour in the morning. But on a staycation, the freedom of going to bed knowing that there is no commitment in the morning is priceless. I didn’t realize how much I loved sleeping in but maybe it’s because during the work week I don’t get enough of it. I even took naps without feeling guilty which is something that I can’t or won’t do when I’m traveling for the fear of missing out on something wonderful.
Having more time meant that I did strange things that I have never done before. Like I bought an iron. It was a German brand that was the most expensive one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I bought a new ironing board (made in China, damn it) to go with the German iron. And I did something that was foreign to me. I ironed the sheets! I ironed the fitted sheet, the top sheet, and four pillow cases for my four pillows. Who does that? The luxury of the crisp yet smooth 1,000 thread count sheets allowed me to sleep like I was floating in a heavenly cloud puff. I’m unsure if I’ll iron on a regular basis but the luxurious experience was absolutely worth it.
Another strange thing I did while on my staycation was watch Netflix for hours on end. I don’t do this sort of thing as I hardly watch TV. I much prefer to read. But when you do something that is not your usual routine, you’re strangely attracted to things that are new and different. And when you do something out of the norm with time on your hands, it leads to other strange behaviors. I ordered food from UberEats for the first time during my staycation, and I ordered from them for a few days in a row while watching Netflix for, again, a few days in a row. Something about the UberEats App is strangely satisfying as you can see the time line and a map of where the food is, who is delivering it, and what mode of transportation your food is being delivered: a bike or a car. I might have even used UberEats not because I wanted the food as much as I liked the tickle of seeing the whole food ordering and delivery process on my iPhone screen. Again, who has time for this except on a staycation? As if all the binge watching of Netflix and the fascination with UberEats didn’t make me feel like a lazy stranger to myself, one night I even had a scoop of mint chocolate chip gelato AND wine! 🙌 The last time I had gelato and wine in the same day was when I was in Rome and Florence, and I felt happy for the flashback of the feel-good travel memories. Clearly, I would have to work out more often to get rid of the extra calories I was consuming…lounging around watching numerous hours of Netflix and all.
So I worked out every day. I had to. I wanted to. For the first time in a long, long time I felt like I could clearly and truly hear the words to the music while I was working out. When you have more time on your hands, everything slows down and you appreciate life way more. So much more. Things like the smell of the fresh basil that I bought (that was so green!) to put on my salad, the taste of a new Italian olive oil (in a hand-painted jar with a picture of a bright and happy fish against the color the Mediterranean sea), the sight of a young orchid bud (virginal white and so perfect that it looked fake) that magically blossomed overnight after I bought it the day before, and the realization that things that make us happy are truly, so simple. Perhaps it’s not the simplicity of enjoying the small things but having the time to actually take notice of life. All my senses were heightened, and I began to feel like a kid again, which is the feeling I get when I travel. The feeling when you were a kid that time was eternal and you wake up everyday happy because all you did was play…this was how I felt during my time off. How great it was to have those feelings again!
But I am beginning to worry about myself. Instead of traveling to exotic destinations like Bali, Machu Picchu, Marrakesh, and Angkor Wat, for example, I am finding beauty in the mundane. The joy of seeing the morning sunlight kiss my plants by my window, seeing the changing colors of the blue lake as the sun shifts (who knew there were so many shades of blue?), the taste and smell of fresh baked bread dipped in Italian olive oil, the simple exchange of a complete stranger passing by who smiles and says hello, the Whole Foods’ deli clerk who smiles every time I see her who often blurts out that I’m her favorite customer, and reading and being so moved by an article in the New York Times that actually made me cry because it reminded me to WANT to become a better writer so that I can be closer to my dream of being a published author one day. All these seemingly mundane moments were experienced and appreciated because I had much of a very, very precious resource. Time. Time with a capital “T.”
So the next time you want to feel the lap of luxury try slowing down a bit. Take the time to rest well and catch up with yourself by trying something new, noticing or discovering life again , and staring out the window for no reason at all. Your inner child will reveal itself to you, and your spirit along with your renewed energy will bring out the very best version of yourself.