Hammock and a book

I am the world’s worst staycationer! Okay, if not the worst, definitely in the top 10.

Why? I make this claim for several reasons:

1. I am puzzled by the concept of vacationing at home.

2. Because going away AKA traveling AKA not staying is the only break I get from cooking, cleaning and various house-related chores and projects, I would rather do that.

3. I find it difficult to be home for any length of time without finding something that needs to be cleaned and/or organized, which is the opposite of relaxing.

4. Since my house does not come with housekeeping service, a chef/bartender who is not me or magical laundry elves, I question how a staycation is any different from the weekend?

“Why would I want to staycation?” I pondered. “Am I missing something?”

Deciding that a bit of research was in order, I ventured down the rabbit hole that is the internet to learn all that there is to know about staycationing and why one would want to engage in said activity.

I perused numerous articles and websites offering helpful tips and suggestions. The one that struck me was a 2018 Travel+Leisure piece by Carlye Wisel titled “How to Have the Best Staycation Ever.” Wisel imparted these words of wisdom: “When you’re taking a staycation, it’s not about the journey, or in this case, the destination: it’s about breaking your patterns and habits.”

“Aha!” I exclaimed.

Not really, but reading that statement was an “aha” moment.

I can understand the importance of breaking patterns and habits, but as Wisel also noted, doing so is difficult.

Speaking for myself, between work, grad school, an occasional workout and the above mentioned chores, it feels like my routine is the only thing that keeps me going. Sadly, my weekends and extra days off are eaten up by schoolwork and housework, which I feel the need to prioritize over fun. Thankfully, this is temporary — I will be finished with my master’s program in about a year and a half.

While I may not be able to break my patterns and habits too much right now, researching how to staycation led me to create a close-to-home list of things that I would like to do and places I would like to visit.

Read a Book: I want to finish reading the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 graphic novels, which I have started and abandoned several times. All four volumes are sitting on my shelf collecting dust and waiting to be consumed.

Take a Nap: In the hammock I gifted Roger a few years ago. On a warm, sunny day and in a spot where I will not get sunburnt.

Chill at Home: For me, this would be lounging in the sunroom that we added last summer or enjoying a fire in our sadly neglected fire pit. There might even be — scratch that — there will be s’mores.

Get Outside: Roger and I used to do a lot of hiking, especially on the Parkway or at Grayson Highlands State Park. Alas … life and weather! In addition, I used to enjoy packing us a picnic. Both of these activities need to be revisited.

Explore and Play Tourist: I can name several local spots that are on my “to visit” list. These include the Horton Hotel rooftop bar, Blue Ridge Movie Lounge, Molley Chomper Cidery and Linville Falls Winery. I would also enjoy having time to wander around downtown Blowing Rock and visit its interesting shops — especially my favorite, Neaco, and see what is on exhibit at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum. And, I keep meaning to attend some of the local festivals and music events — Savor Food and Wine fest, Music on the Lawn, Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain and more.

Sample the Cuisine: One of my favorite things to do on vacation is a traveling dinner — a succession of courses at several restaurants within walking distance. Sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous. This is very doable in Boone, Blowing Rock and West Jefferson.

Just for Fun: If I had to pick one random thing to try just for the fun of it, it would be llama trekking at Divine Llama Vineyards in East Bend, N.C. Divine Llama is about an hour’s drive and they offer llama treks on weekends for $50 per person. I am enamored by the idea — maybe one day I will get to see if the reality lives up to my expectations!

Do you have a close-to-home list of things to do and places to visit? Why not start your staycation today!

Considers life to be one big anthropological field experience. She observes and reports. She enjoys travel, food and wine and adventures with her husband, Roger.

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