After months of shelter in place, stay at home, healthy people confinement – whatever you want to call this insane time we all seem to find ourselves in, vacations are more important than ever. It’s still possible, if you are willing to rethink vacation. After all, what is a vacation but an extended period of time away from work or school? Hum, when you put it that way, we’ve all been on a very long vacation.
Vacation also means spending time somewhere other than home. Think change of scenery. Let the view out the window change. Let the long walks take you down a different path, explore a different neighborhood. Make the best of what is available.
Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth. Pick a place that is within a day’s drive, even if it makes for a long first day on the road. Plan your route, and check for restrictions in the areas you’ll be passing through. Pack accordingly with face masks, face shields, wipes, gloves – whatever it takes to comply. After all, you are the visitor and need to be respectful of their rules even when you might not agree. It’s a good idea to call the day before you plan to leave to verify if dine-in or retail shopping is allowed. If not, plan picnic sandwiches for the road or know where the take-out places can be found. Plan walk with nature rather than T-shirt shop. Pick a destination with natural outdoor activities such as tide pools to explore or hikes in the woods.
Accommodations are also important. Don’t think of it as a room but rather a home away from home. Pick a room with a view. Most importantly in these uncertain times, try to find lodging with a fully-functional kitchen. A vacation rental home or condo or timeshare are all good options. Something with a little more leg room. This is especially important should the weather turn or the world close down around you.
I will say meandering through small towns is sad right now. So much is closed or deserted. On the other hand, if you don’t like crowds, now is the time to travel. Some restaurants in tourist spots that do offer inside dining also require a reservation during peak times simply because they can only accommodate about half of their usual seating capacity and you can’t social distance while waiting for a table. Even then, there are a lot of smaller business struggling to keep their doors open. Tourist towns count on summer business to see them through the lean winter ahead. If you can, patronize them. After all, we are all in this together.
One thing that hasn’t quarantined is nature. She is still out there – strutting her stuff. Kick off your shoes, walk on a empty beach, listen to the birds and the crash of the waves. To experience this quite isolation, it also means you need to travel to a part of the country with a little less sunshine. So bring a coat and take a stroll.
There is something about being at the edge of the world that quiets a restless soul. Your mind begins to whisper “everything is as it should be” and you know these words are true. Life goes on.
Nature continues, the circle of life is complete. Take a vacation from the daily stress of these turbulent and uncertain times. Be it a day or even just an hour, it’s good for the soul. And Mother Nature has plenty to say.