cultivate your life

Month: April 2011

when in doubt…

when in doubt…

when in doubt… throw it out! Monday May 2 is International When In Doubt – Throw It Out Day! Ok, I just made that up. I just think that we all need (yes, ALL of us!) to set aside one day to get rid of […]

a real stay-cation

a real stay-cation

by special request… I know my last post was all about how important “real” vacations are to the mind and soul. And I’m not disagreeing with that. But sometimes travel is just not an option. Sometimes family, finances and work keep you from going off […]

vacation at home

vacation at home

Micro Vacation

You might be thinking that I’m going to talk about stay-cations or taking vacation time from work to just hang out at home. While that’s not a bad idea, I think it’s important to get out in the world from time to time. I think vacations are great for relaxing, but they also tend to give you a little perspective. I love the time away to just think and not be bogged down by the day to day that we all get so wrapped up in.

My husband, our friend and I just got back from a vacation to Arizona for baseball Spring Training. We were gone from a Friday to a Tuesday and it was the perfect micro break. We drove straight through to Arizona on Friday night, spent a few hours at the Grand Canyon on Saturday, checked in at our hotel and then went to go see some baseball. We drove home on Monday and stopped over night at Moab, UT. I love road trips!

On Wednesday, though, I started feeling a little blue about being home from a fun vacation. My house felt messier than the hotel, my sheets were’t quite as crisp, I felt a little gross eating all the road trip food that was left over (why does junk food taste so much better on the road?), and I was missing the sunshine and being outside watching baseball everyday. I was kind of in a funk for the rest of the day and on into Thursday.

I started reading articles about getting that “vacation feeling” back and all the advice was a little… boring. Seriously, I’m not going to feel better if I just put a bunch of seashells on my counter and print out a few pictures from the vacation. I know that helps some people, but the advice seemed fairly simple. I wanted to really get that vacation feeling back. What was I going to do?

Here are some ideas I came up with:

1) Wash your sheets and make your bed: I love how crisp and clean sheets feel in hotels. Maybe that’s just me? I love the feeling of crawling into a made bed. I came home and right away I washed my sheets with a lot of Oxyclean and made the bed with the best hospital corners I could manage. I would have ironed my sheets if I hadn’t been so exhausted. I think it’s a nice feeling to have ironed sheets sometimes. I almost never iron them, but I love it when I do. If you’re feeling creative, leave a little wrapped chocolate on your pillow!

2) Scrub the bathroom: In addition to clean sheets, I love the sparkling clean of hotel bathrooms (well, most hotels!). It’s helpful to get a good thorough clean and wash the towels, bath mats and shower curtain. If you have a plastic shower curtain, it’s great to buy a replacement. They’re usually no more than $5 at Target and always give such a fresh look to your shower. You could also replace a few of the bathroom accessories or bath towels if you’re in the market for new ones. Remember, this is micro living, so donate the old ones as soon as you get new ones. An inexpensive set of tissue boxes, toothbrush holders and garbage cans from Bed, Bath and Beyond are an easy way to freshen up your bathroom. And if you happened to bring home a few soaps and shampoos from the hotel, put those out as well. The scent of a different soap can really bring back good memories.

3) Music and TV: I love traveling to foreign countries where I don’t speak the language. A few summers ago we went to Puerto Rico and a few years ago we went to Poland. I loved turning on the tv and hearing only Spanish and/or Polish (not at the same time!) or hearing music from the area. Sometimes I tune into telenovelas that remind me of traveling to Puerto Rico or southern Florida. I have a few albums from Poland that I like to listen to. I think it really puts you in the vacation frame of mind. I also have an album of Hawaiian music from our honeymoon in Maui. There are also internet radio stations from Hawaii and Pandora stations from Hawaii. I like listening to the weather and news and it brings me right back to my vacation.

4) Take a language: This is something that might take a little more time than making the bed! I’ve taken French, Italian, Spanish, Polish (on Rosetta Stone) and Japanese. Speaking and listening to native speakers keeps your vacation memories alive. There are also specific classes like “French for Travelers” that will help you prepare for your next trip.

5) Make future plans: Some people say that looking forward to a vacation is almost as fun as the vacation itself. I’m not going to go that far… but planning for your next trip makes the wait easier! Even if you’re not making definite plans or buying plane tickets, just looking at hotels, restaurants or attractions can help you decide on what you want to do next.

6) Magazines and Newspapers: I only buy tabloids when I’m on vacation (I just don’t think reading all that snarkiness is good as part of your daily life). I also like to read the paper that you get delivered at your hotel room. Or reading local news at different locations on your road trip. Once in awhile, I’ll get a tabloid or an actual physical newspaper and it’s such a nice break from thinking about the dishes and the laundry and having a perfectly clean bathroom.

7) Try something new: One of the best parts of a vacation is going to new places. No matter where you go from restaurants to museums, you’re going to be seeing something new. Why not try something new in your own town? There are so many farmer’s markets in our area, and there are new things to enjoy every week. On this past road trip, we all tried Native American flat bread. It was delicious! There is a flat bread restaurant from the same owners south of Denver. We’re planning a trip down there soon. I also like trying “exotic” meats on vacation and love making buffalo or elk at home. You can try this vegetarian as well. If you don’t often have Thai or Vietnamese food at home, but were willing to try it on vacation, it might be fun to have some in your home town. You can also be a tourist wherever you are. Check out your local visitor’s bureau to discover new things in your city that you’ve never tried out.

Let me know your suggestions for keeping that vacation feeling alive! I would also love to hear your ideas about how you have mini vacations at home. Do seashells on your counter work for you?

I hope you all have a great summer and have some interesting travel plans. Enjoy!