Staycations Are Nothing New

H ... D r I v E w A y ... H

Staycations Are Nothing New
© 2009 Lorie Codispoti

“So, where are you going on vacation this summer?” the store clerk asked me. I barely had time to think of a response before she added, “We’re leaving for the beach tomorrow.” Her entire persona emulated that of a child as I watched her fingers dance in succession with her chipper voice over the cash register keys.

I thought about this encounter as I made the 30-minute drive home from town. Where were we going on vacation? Do I even know what a vacation is anymore? We haven’t been on anything that even resembles our culture’s idea of a vacation in three years. In fact, in our entire married life we’ve only been on a real vacation, two times. Why, when I think about it, our honeymoon only included one moon with my honey, and by today’s standards probably doesn’t even qualify as a real honeymoon. Can you see where this Poor-Pitiful-Me train was taking me? Suddenly I was feeling deprived. As I drove up the driveway I saw a squirrel sitting on the fence and thought, “He has more of a vacation than I do. He builds a nest in my tree one year and then takes his family next door to enjoy the scenery and nuts from another tree the next. They go on the equivalent of a cross-country adventure every year.”

Wait a minute! I realized that I was playing another semantical mind game with myself, and allowing our culture’s influence to play with my psyche. So I came inside and started to remind myself of all the fun our family has had over the years staycationing (the frugal way of having a vacation while staying at home).

While our present economic condition may be fueling the idea for families to capitalize on nearby attractions, and a staycation being one of the newest entries in our cultural dictionary, this portmanteau is far from being a new concept.

For over 20 years our family’s vacations have consisted primarily of local attractions and places we could fit into a day-trip. I can’t tell you how many times “camping” meant setting up the tent on the back deck, or, if it was raining, moving all the furniture in the den, setting up the tent, and filling it with sleeping bags and bodies. These were great times for laughing, story telling, and dreaming out loud. Sure, we probably would have jumped on the vacation jet and traveled the world over if our one-income piggy bank would have been a little larger, but rather than fretting over the fact that it wasn’t we focused on our local resources and discovered the joys of staycationing.

So the next time someone asks you where you plan to take your family on vacation, smile and tell them that you have some of the greatest adventures planned, and that they all start right in your own backyard. Who was it that thought that the nuts tasted better in the neighbors yard anyway? It’s an oak tree, for crying out loud, and my neighbor is an avid squirrel hunter.

Now who wants to staycation with me?

(Consider some of the local ideas we’ve listed for you in Staycation Ideas for the Danville Area below, as you think about what to do with the rest of your summer. Sometimes there really is “no place like home.”)