one night in june, seated around a table full of women and two bottles of whiskey on an island off the coast of maine, my friend d posed the question (paraphrased from all its tipsy-chatty-female-mutations): “what distinguishes a vacation from a trip or other traveling?”
i’ve been pondering this question for two months. today i have an answer, because i am on vacation in the smoky mountains of tennessee.
i eat food on vacation that i’d never eat otherwise. yesterday i ate powdered sugar donuts and lemon tea for breakfast, beef jerky and diet ginger ale for lunch, and chicken tenders and moonshine for dinner.
i turn off my phone while i’m on vacation. i check my messages and send text messages once a day, but otherwise, my phone remains off.
i take two naps a day and sleep at least a few hours at night while on vacation. vacationing offers a temporary respite from sleeplessness.
i don’t shave my legs.
i buy postcards and write on them during the return flight home.
i acutely miss the grandmother who died ten years ago (because i used to always send her a postcard).
i engage in conversations with strangers (also known as “locals”), sometimes even initiating these conversations.
i take photos with a real camera, not just with my phone.
between arrival and departure flights, i have nowhere to be, no one to see, and nothing i have to do.
i make lists of all the places in the world i want to see while on vacation somewhere new to me.
these are the qualities of my vacations. your requirements might sound different. whatever a vacation looks like for you, please begin planning your next one now. studies have shown that the act of planning a vacation reduces stress at work. please plan and go on a vacation this year. someplace new. where you can sleep. turn off your phone. eat and drink what you’d never choose otherwise. or whatever the things are that make a vacation ideal for you.