Word Wednesday – Why I need a vacation!

Yes, that's an otter he's resting his chin on, while he plots revenge.

It seems that practically everybody I know is either on vacation, planning for a vacation, or just back from a vacation. Currently my father is in Arizona, visiting friends of his and golfing, while I’m home shoveling the seemingly never-ending snow and hanging out with the adorable but slightly neurotic Bichon Frise.

Don’t get me wrong, Monty is adorable – but he’s also very stubborn and at 14, very set in his ways. He has cataracts and his night vision isn’t very good so when he wants a drink at 2 am, he stands at the end of the bed and whines until he is either lifted down to the water bowl or it is brought to him. I don’t really mind the nocturnal awakenings, because I like having him sleep with me. He knows it, and sometimes, if he thinks I’ve been too slow to get him water, he stays on the floor and sleeps either in his dog bed or in his ‘house’ (kennel with the door removed and blankets inside). To those who say a dog is incapable of plotting retribution of this sort, I’d beg to differ. This adorable Bichon is totally able to plot and exact revenge.

Yes, that's an otter he's resting his chin on, while he plots revenge.
                                                          Yes, that’s an otter he’s resting his chin on, while he plots revenge.

Between dad “helpfully” sending me BBM messages with the weather in Arizona while we were in the middle of a cold snap that resulted in a frozen pipe in the basement, and my friends posting amazing travel photos as they go on their own vacations, I’ve been left with a serious case of wanderlust and no outlet for it in the foreseeable future. The last true “vacation” I went on was over 20 years ago. I’ve been on school trips since then, and a few business trips but nothing that could qualify as a vacation.  I’ve got a travel bucket list that grows almost daily as I learn about another place that would be amazing to visit.

The top place on my travel bucket list has been there since I was 9. I was more than a little obsessed with the computer game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” and played it until I finished the game and then went back and played it again, because I loved it and it was educational so my parents deemed it a good use of computer time. I kept tracking Carmen’s villains to Reykjavík, Iceland, and told myself that one day I would see more of the city than the 3 points of interest in the game.  (Seriously, who goes to a bank as one of the first stops in a new place? Apparently V.I.L.E. henchmen do, all the freaking time.) I liked the way Reykjavík rolled off my tongue, and as I’ve learned more about both the city and country, my desire to visit hasn’t lessened. Recently, I learned that there is a craft distilling movement afoot in Iceland – the Eimverk Distillery produces both whiskey and gin – which makes it somewhere I *need* to visit.

Of course there’s always the dream of going somewhere warm and sunny to escape the cold and snowy winter. I went to Disney World with my parents when I was 8, but that was 2 years before I discovered that I actually like roller coasters and rides in general so I missed a lot. It was also before any of the auxillary parks opened – it was just the main park and Epcot, so there’s a lot more I want to explore there. I’m not big on sitting on a beach for more than an hour or two (mostly because of my pale skin and the fact that I have a family history of skin cancer so sitting in the sun isn’t high on my list of fun activities), but I love to swim and snorkel. I also like exploring new places, and am an absolute sucker for museums and local history, so I can always find something to do to entertain myself.

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I think the time has come to start planning a vacation of my own.. maybe with a couple of friends or solo. Either way, I need a break. I need to get away from the everyday stress and go somewhere where there isn’t just different work to do. (As much as I love the cottage, it isn’t exactly a relaxing getaway when there’s always something to fix / change / paint.) I’ve been reading studies on why it’s important to take vacations and how thinking about and planning vacations can actually increase your happiness. I’ve been under a lot of stress since mum died, and need a place to unwind that isn’t full of memories already.  By all accounts, a vacation is in order! Now to save up and decide where to go.

Here in North America, vacation is commonly defined as an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling. It’s akin to the word “holiday” in Europe. The word comes from Late Middle English, which (surprise surprise) took it from Latin. The Latin root word is vacare which means “to be unoccupied” . Whether this is relating to the house or the mind is anybody’s guess. I’d say a bit of both.

vacation  (va·ca·tion) noun

  1. (North American)
    An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.
  2. The number of days or hours per year for which an employer agrees to pay workers while they are not working.
  3. A fixed holiday period between terms in schools and law courts.
  4. The action of leaving something one previously occupied.

vacation  (va·ca·tion) verb

  1. To take a vacation.

I’m off to peruse some travel sites and dream.

By koalateagirl

Jenn Annis is a writer, editor, historian, special needs advocate, and tireless defender of the Oxford comma. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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