Staycation helps avoid travel pitfalls

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I have been on vacation this week and it has been pretty nice. We didn’t go anywhere this summer and we chose to have a “staycation.”

A staycation, for the two people out there who have never heard of one, is when you still take off a week from work, but don’t really go anywhere. The running joke in our house was I was going about as far as the recliner.

I haven’t gone much further, except for a few trips around town to get groceries and things, and it has been quite relaxing. We live in a town that a lot of tourists visit, so we went out in the morning and did a few of the tourist things. Nothing terribly expensive, though. One day, we rode one of the free N.C. Department of Transportation ferries and got half-price milkshakes at Sonic. This morning we went for a walk through our historic downtown.

By not going somewhere, we have not only saved money, we have avoided a lot of the pitfalls that pop up on expensive vacations. We aren’t really at the mercy of the weather. If the day doesn’t cooperate, we simply go back to the house and do something indoors. We’re not cooped up in a hotel in an unfamiliar place with lousy weather with a thousand other bored people fighting for the game room or the indoor pool.

We don’t have the excitement of the free breakfast, but this morning, the bearclaw and coffee did the job.

I laughed with my wife that we should have tried to duplicate the Big Vacation Experience. She wasn’t amused with me when I said that, but in the spirit of things, she tried to play along. After I ate breakfast, she took $20 out of my wallet.

I asked her if she wanted to get out for a little while for a ride, and she said she would love to, and then made me wait 45 minutes outside before we were able to go anywhere. For most of the ride, she played a YouTube video of a know-it-all talking nonstop and a kid crying about not getting some toy. She said she was hungry every 10 minutes and when we stopped for lunch, she took twice what it should have cost out of my wallet and only gave me half my food.

The “water ride” portion of the trip was her trying to parallel park in a spot too small for her car while splashing a bottle of Dasani in my face.

I admitted to her I had gotten the point and understood we had avoided this all by staying home. She did surprise me with one of those “We Were Supposed To Go on a Cruise, But All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” T-shirts.

There is a positive side to this. When I get back to work in a few days, I will be refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on anything thrown at me. Well, that would be the ideal scenario. I imagine I will be about two hours into my day when I realize I want another vacation. I don’t think my boss will be on board with that., however.

There have been a lot of things I was able to get caught up on. My wife and I cleaned out a few closets and my workbench area. I have gotten caught up on some fun reading I had put aside because I didn’t think I had the time. My wife and I have been able to spend some time together that we have been meaning to get to in a long while.

We have taken walks, watched movies and gone out in the evenings for milkshakes. During the day, she usually complains that I have left my dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. I rediscovered the simple joy of having rum with lunch.

So far, I think this week has been a success. We’ve had the relaxation of a vacation without the aggravations or colossal monetary expense. Next week is our wedding anniversary. We don’t have much planned for that either. I don’t believe she has gotten me a gift, but I have gotten her one while we have been on vacation.

I hope she likes saltwater taffy.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.