The other day, I was trying to figure out when the last time I went on a vacation was. I’ve been to visit my relatives and I’ve traveled to a number of conventions in the past, but those trips don’t necessarily count as vacations. Well, perhaps I can count visiting my brother and his wife in Iceland a vacation. I think we did that in 2008? Maybe? I don’t really recall, but I know it’s been a long time since I went on any real sort of vacation.
When I was growing up, we did more traveling. For a long time, we did a family trip to Disney World every other year. I remember running into a boy named Tegan while driving down to Orlando one year. We were in the hotel pool and I marveled at the fact that not only did someone else share my name but that the someone else happened to be a boy. The last time we made the Disney trip was the summer I turned 16. I hope to go back someday to see just how much everything’s changed.
The summer between elementary and middle schools, we flew out to visit family friends who had moved to Colorado Springs, CO. We visited with said friends and then took a bit of a road trip around the Southwest and adjoining states. We did horseback riding in Utah (not the Southwest, I know, but it was near where we were), stayed in the former mining town of Silverton in Colorado, we saw Fourth of July fireworks at the Airforce Academy, we crawled through the caves where the Pueblo people once lived, and we even saw the Grand Canyon. Okay. Funny side note about our Southwest trip: My mother had just handed a series of books to my brother and I at the start of our trip (the Blood Books by Tanya Huff). We were so engrossed in our books that neither of us felt particularly inclined to get out of the car when we came to the Grand Canyon. The thought was that if we saw the canyon from one angle, we’d seen it all. Besides, it was in movies and stuff. So, whatever. One of these years, I’m going to go back and actually spend some time really appreciating its natural beauty.
On that same trip, we spent some time in Las Vegas. I had a lot of fun there despite being unable to do all of the things for which Vegas is known: particularly drinking, gambling, and entering into an ill-advised marriage. I was turning 11 that summer and had to be escorted through the casino parts in order to see any of the shows or other things that were available for kids to do. My friend and I were chatting the other week about how we should go to Vegas now that I am old enough to appreciate all of its charms. That’s on my to-do list.
Out of that conversation came the reason why I actually wrote today’s blog post a few days ago: I’m on the vacation I mentioned in last week’s Me Monday. My friend, Tihana, and I are going to be on a cruise ship heading for the Bahamas when this blog post is published. We were talking about vacations in the abstract and possible trips we may take one day. Then, she very seriously asked if I wanted to go on a cruise with her in a couple of weeks. I agreed and then the plotting and planning began.
Now, let’s get back to the start of this post: I haven’t been on a “real” vacation in years. When I go out of town, it’s usually because I’m going to a convention like Intercon or Dragon Con or visiting relations. For me, going to conventions (particularly Dragon Con as I do the panelist thing these days), is sort of like doing work. Awesome, fun work, but work nonetheless. Visiting relations is a whole other thing entirely, but it’s not necessarily a vacation. So, the idea of actually going somewhere for a few days with the express purposes of having fun and being lazy is something I’m just not really used to these days.
Why is that?
Well, first thing’s first: I’m broke. I have been in a perpetual state of basically broke-ness my entire adult life. I live in the United States where the prevailing philosophy is that vacations are something to aspire to but not necessarily take because you have neither the means nor time to do so. After all, shouldn’t you be working instead of enjoying leisure time? Furthermore, leisure time is something that you may get when you retire because you certainly shouldn’t have it while you’re in the workforce. Anyway! Tied in with being broke is the fact that when I want to go on a vacation and have to take time off of work, I don’t get vacation pay or anything. I get no money. Zero. I haven’t had a job where I get any sort of leave at all since 2008 when I worked in retail and got to accrue some leave for every hour I worked. So, yes, this all leads to me just not going on vacations. I can’t afford the time off or the expenses that a trip would entail.
Now, for the first time in far too long, I am going on a vacation. This is a marvelous concept and I am looking forward to having a great time. They say that there are fun, hokey activities on cruises. I read somewhere that they may have trivia contests. Finally! Somewhere to apply the generally useless knowledge I’ve gathered in my nearly three decades on this planet!
Fair warning: I may bore you next week with tales from my trip. Though, some of you might be curious as to how it all turned out. We’ll see!