Friday, March 25, 2011

Staycation - Day 7

and 5 days past the vernal equinox. The good news is that the snow is disappearing fast; the harsh news is that I am contemplating a trip over the Kootenay Pass tomorrow and it is snow packed. It may sound that I am abandoning my staycation by getting away, but my understanding of staycations is that if you stay in the same province (couldn't be the same country given Canada is one BIG country), one has not ventured into the notion of vacation.

I don't know if I will head over the mountain tomorrow. I am getting into the notion of my new way of spending time off. And part of me feels like I have travelled. Five days ago, I went to the video store with a list of the best travel films; I found 7. So far I have been to Italy (Under the Tuscan Sun) and India (Outsourced), Belgium (In Bruges) and Mexico (Y tu Mama Tambien).

What I found out was:
- Bruges is known for its many swans that swim in the canals. This is one Venice-looking place.
- There is a condition in India that happens while you adjust to the food that is called Delhi Belly. Most of the cast of Outsourced got it; it looks uncomfortable.
- A movie about a Mexican road trip is not necessarily about a journey. But what are road trips about, really?

My out-and-about part of my staycation has taken me to the country to visit friends (with no time pressure - yahoo!), to restaurants (today I was introduced to a breakfast strata), the library (not the best place to hang out during spring break if you are looking for quiet), the shops (the novelty here is grocery shopping at different times). It also means staying up late (which of course means I am ready for a nap in the afternoon), doing what I want when I am inspired (today I am inspired to make soup!), watching the neighbours move (apparently I missed the skunk being shot in my backyard on Monday), wearing the same clothes day after day (I wash them!).

Modelling my staycation after a vacation suggests that the camera is involved. I did see some hints of spring...

And though the snow is on the mountain, some of the most inspiring pictures of mountains are when we can see the snow peaks next to the blue sky.

And that's it - the photography portion of my staycation is a bit pitiful. But I have 3 more days....

Sunday, March 20, 2011


My instructions were clear - take unused vacation before the end of March. I was faced with a quandary. Since I am focussing my travel this year on a family get-away, the budget is tapped. My usual scene since I moved to the Kootenays 16 years ago, is spending vacation time away from here, travelling, on the road. I couldn't even fathom taking vacation so close to home. Actually, at home. When I explained it to my son, he said, "Staycation." That sounded intriguing, more fanciful than staying at home.

When I Googled staycation, at the top of the list was Wikipedia. What I learned was that the idea came into vogue between 2007 and 2010 during the financial crisis. In Britain, they became popular in 2009; there it is called a stoliday. There is even a self-help guide book.

With more research, I found strong suggestions that staycations be organized in a way that gets one out of the routine, that they get a break from their regular life. This means paying all the bills and doing all the chores that you would if you went away. To minimize the chores, it was suggested that staycationers eat out. No dishes. Unless of course, you think of cooking as a vacation.

When I told my friends and family, they were excited on my behalf and had lots of ideas of how to spend my time. Do things that you wouldn't normally do. Go to the museum. Go to the hot springs, a definite bonus for someone who doesn't live near the hot springs. This last idea is not on the top of my list. A shame really. I don't particularly like being wet.

An artist's date was another suggestion. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, developed this tool for creative inspiration. The artist's date is a weekly commitment to nurturing one's creative unconscious. It is often in the form of an excursion - in nature, to an artists' supply store, etc.

An idea I found on the World Wide Web is to do a movie marathon, focussing on travel movies. I am not sure about the notion of conjuring up envy but then there might be getting new ideas for future travels.

Today is Day 2 (of 10) of my staycation. I have caught some snippets of movies on television but in the spirit of staycations in general, I am trying to stay away from that time-eater. This evening, Return of the Jedi was featured. I would consider that a travel movie, wouldn't you?

If you have any other ideas of how to spend my vacation, I could use a little help. This is all new to me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Winter of 2011

When I was walking through the Co-op this evening, I heard the produce displayer tell a customer that winter was on its way out. I figure this fellow has one optimistic streak. When I look outside, I cannot imagine myself planting a garden. Each day it gets more buried under snow. Three days in a row now. And there is a good deal of grumbling. Except perhaps for the snow clearing crew who are getting plenty of time this year. A radical contrast from last year when I shovelled maybe 3 times.

In January, I was writing about my snow experiences and investment into the local economy in the form of snow clearing contractors. There has been a reprieve for most of the month of February but the snow is back.

I hope the skiers are happy. No one else seems to be.

So what have I been doing in the midst of the winter, besides cursing the Yak Trax? It sounds like I am an ingrate since one has to walk on ice, Yak Trax can save your life or keester. But the fact is that I don't really want to experience the day where I need to use Yak Trax. So I AM grateful for each day that I don't have to wear them. I am smart though; they are always in the trunk of the car.

So.... long winter days are best spent planning long summer days. This year, the family plans to spend my mother's birthday going on vacation together. She likes the idea of an Alaska cruise. Me too. In talking to people, they recommended that she go in June or July because the scenery is more outstanding. I called the travel agent. Indeed the most popular times to go are July and August.

Here's what I am thinking. We are planning on a trip to go and see the snow and ice. You would think that we would have had enough by now.

After my trip to Arizona and landing in the snow, and hiking on the ice, I figure I have some upside down ideas about vacation.

Here's what I am banking on - sun! There is nothing like the promise of sun to inspire us all. On Monday, February 28th, after the snow at the end of the day, here was our promise...