On Holiday

I can’t decide if I’m hoping for another snow day tomorrow or not. We had a half a snow day on Monday, which was awesome because I had horrible cramps and really wanted to stay in bed and read a book. But it was snowing and we had to come in, but then they decided to close the college at 1 and I promptly went home and got in bed and watched The People’s Court and took a nap. And then we had a late start Tuesday so I got to sleep in a bit too. I feel like I’m way behind on my sleep. We’re supposed to have ice tonight so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. My ideal plan for tomorrow is another delayed start, because then I’ll get to sleep in, and when I get to work I just have to go to a luncheon and then work for a few hours in the afternoon and then go to a reception, which is my idea of a pretty sweet Friday.

I know I say it all the time in the winter, but this whole snow day thing is one reason why working in education kicks ass. Sure, I don’t make much money and my health insurance is insanely expensive and I don’t get summers off and I certainly don’t get bonuses and I sometimes have to work all 7 days of the week and/or work like 85 hours a week and I often have to work evenings and weekends, but damn it, if we’re closed for inclement weather I get to stay home. And there’s that whole free-week-off-at-Christmas thing, too. And the bazillion days of sick leave and vacation time I’m given. That’s pretty cool too, even if I’ve never in all the time I’ve worked here used all of my vacation days.

I was reading an Anderson Cooper article about vacationing the other day, and he made an excellent point:

I used to think the more successful I became, the more vacation time I could take.

Technically, that’s true, but the reality is the more responsibilities you have, the less time you take off. You have too much to lose.

Now, Anderson Cooper’s handsome, immaculately-groomed rung on the career ladder is certainly many hundreds of rungs above mine, but I have found his statement to be very true even as I’ve clawed my way up the rickety, neglected rungs of my own little ladder. I have more vacation days now that I’m a program director than I had when I started here over four years ago, and when I started here, I already had more vacation days than some people I know. And that’s really lucky. But I never seem to be able to use them all.

I always take a week in the summer to teach guard at one band camp or another, and this year I also took a week to move. Neither of those were really vacations, though. I mean, I traveled for one, but I worked my ass off for both weeks. And I tend to take days here and there as I’m able. But I still don’t use all my time, and I never really take an Actual Vacation.

One of the other single women in the office and I were discussing this not long ago, because she uses about as many vacation days as I do, and she’s like, “What am I going to do? Sit home and stare at the dog?” And that’s about what I’d do, too. It seems like the people who take Actual Vacations are the ones with families.

Somehow I don’t think Abby and Marco would dig a trip to the beach.

So then, if I were to take a vacation, who would I go with? My parents and sisters? I’m doubting it, because coordinating six schedules is an absolutely colossal undertaking, and then the last time we took a Family Vacation, we spent 90% of the time fighting about something. And I was only with them for three days of that week-long trip. My boyfriend? Oops, don’t have one. Random friends? Not likely. Most of my friends are far-flung and/or busier than I am, and for some reason I just don’t think we’d consider vacationing together.

Maybe I should try taking a trip by myself somewhere one summer. I hear that people do this, and I’m not afraid to go to the movies or to a restaurant by myself, so it might be okay. When I travel on business I tend to strike out on my own to explore the city or take pictures or whatever, and it usually turns out okay. I guess there’s no reason why I couldn’t pick a place and go there myself.

Have any of you had any experience vacationing solo? What was it like?

15 Replies to “On Holiday”

  1. I’ve never vacationed alone due to the financial aspect of it, but I imagine somwhere with a beach might be nice because whenever I go to the beach I usually park my fat ass under an umbrella and sleep and read intermittently all day secretly hoping that no one wants any kind of conversation out of me. However, I usually drink on the beach, and boozing alone is never cool.

  2. I’d go on a road trip with you in a millisecond, if for no other reason than the fact that wasted vacation days are, well, a waste! plus we could fight about U2, i mean, you could try to get me to understand the brilliance of U2 (beyond some of the hits achtung, joshua tree, and zooropa). all i would need is five days per week access to the internets.

    and yeah, i’ve travelled on my own. went to new york last year as my birthday present to me. it was one of the best weeks of my life. i say do it.

    p.s. seriously. i’ve been wanting to take an east coast trip to visit people for years. i got peeps in DC, nyc, upstate new york, pittsburgh, and philly. and you know. you.

  3. also, i need to reiterate that i thik that jobs are inherently unjust, and therefore, not using your vacation time is a travesty. when The Man will pay you for not working, you should, no matter what.

    even if that means taking a day to eat cookies and watch freaks and geeks all day.

    (which we can do, on our road trip.)

  4. I spent a week by myself in D.C. just checking everything out. I bet that’s why it’s one of my all-time favorite cities. There’s so much to do in so many cities, I bet you’d really enjoy a solo trip. You could even hop on over to London. That would rock.

  5. i took a vacation alone to visit a friend. it was cool because when he was at work i could explore, and we had the weekends and evenings together.

  6. If I could do a solo trip I think I’d go to Europe — I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona and Pomplona, maybe go visit Lisbon, Portugal…I’d go anywhere in Europe actually. Backpacking sounds like a ton of fun.

    I’ve traveled by myself more times than I could count, but I think personally I’ve always liked travelling with someone, b/c the ‘getting there’ part can be just as fun/interesting as the destination, to me anyway. But I also love to people-watch, so that’s prolly why. :)

  7. I have travelled solo – mostly to go meet people elsewhere, but occasionally truly alone. I did London and Paris alone after ditching some people I’d travelled with. I did bits of Asia alone, but to be fair I had family there at the time. I also once went on a camping trip alone – that was amazing – sitting in the wood, just thinking about STUFF and going for long hikes. Didn’t see another person for three days. But as someone who’s about to take a month of vacation, I think sometimes it’s just nice to have free time to do nothing… to watch television, go shopping, cuddle kittens, drink tea over the paper alone, go for three hour hikes in the woods. Sometimes vacation is just a state of mind. I wish we were like Europe, where having less than six weeks holiday is a travesty.

  8. So then, if I were to take a vacation, who would I go with?

    Holy shit. who. would. I. go. with?

    1. You sit at home and stare at the cats – that’s fine. Recharge. Veg out, whatever. Take 2 days to read a book. 2 days to find a new one and 1 day to spend in the bath reading the book, flanked by wine, candles and music.
    2. Plan your next vacation around holidays you’ll have off anyway. You get extra days during a time No One else is working either. You don’t feel bad, they don’t care.
    3. Plan your trip via flight. Flight prices are already starting to come back down and, the fact is, (and I always say this) Any Experience in a new place is a New Experience. Buying a slice of pizza in New York is completely different from getting one in L.A. when you consider just what you encounter getting to the pizzaria in the first place.
    Point is, you don’t have to make any more plans other than where to stay and how to get there. Once there, just explore. Really. Walk outside and study the four corners of one intersection to the next – soon enough you’ll meet somebody or think of something else to do.

    …ooh girl, you need to travel.
    Don’t go to a resort, go to Paris. Round-trip btwn NYC and Paris can be had for -$250. London, even less. Germany about the same. You don’t have to speak the language to come away with memories. Planning a flight from where you are shouldn’t cost any more ’cause you’ll stop in NYC.
    You could even sign up with a tour service so you’ve got an itinerary. Go to Prague. I love Prague. Everybody’s good looking in Prague.

    Don’t have a passport? Find a Bed & Breakfast. Go there. Read, walk, flirt with the waiter at the local restaurant. Go to Vermont and tour the Ben and Jerry’s factory. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g – it’s not like you can say you waisted your time after what you’ve been doing.
    I didn’t realize you were taking vacation time to teach band camp… grr!
    You owe me a phone call, no? How about calling and we can discuss this.

  9. after all, this one time, at band camp, lorie gave me allergy pills, and that’s how i met her!

  10. I don’t think he’s dissing band camp – he’s saying that it sucks that I have to take vacation time to do it. And I generally agree.

  11. also, i’ve been wanting to head out here since i was in grad school. stay a week, putz around, and write.


    mind, this has nothing to do with the area nearby now being a spring break OOWWWW destination. i had no idea. i just like the idea of a town that still gets its mail via pack animal.

  12. dude.. i have been BEGGING someone to come to New York with me for like 35 years… we could totally go places together

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