At work, we have been telling people to take a break and use some of their accumulated backlog of leave, to recharge their batteries. I decided to practice what we have been preaching and took some time off. What to do with that down time? How to make a holiday of it? I am happy to share some ideas that worked for us as a family.
Since our annual summer vacation is on hold, we decide to take a short staycation at home instead. Planning for the entire family to be on holiday at the same time was the first step towards making this a successful staycation. We took two days off and declared ourselves on holiday. Then come the hard part of making it feel like one. Here are five things that you can try, to turn you home into a holiday destination.
- Check into the guest bedroom and order some room service. A little change of scenery goes a long way in making the holiday come alive. We found that a nice way to mix up the routine is to shift rooms. We also threw caution to the wind and ordered some oily kathi rolls from Nizams. The sign of a good holiday is a few extra kilos that creep in, this one was no different.
- Bring out the snakes and ladders, ludo and scrabble. Our evenings were spent rolling dice and reliving childhood memories. We laughed a lot, we fought a bit about the rules but mostly we just had some good old fashioned fun.
- Staytinis set the mood. Teq-tinis are even better. The afternoons went by in a staytini haze as we experimented with bottles that were hidden at the back of the bar, saved for a special day. Shaken not stirred was the way we enjoyed them. They induced our afternoon siesta and guaranteed that none of us stirred.
- Explore nature and a few museums. We discovered that there are lovely online tours of national parks and museums. It was fun visiting new places, but I enjoyed going back to the old ones more. Shared memories of our experiences there, were an awesome way to relive those holiday moments.
- Resist the urge to check that work email. Inform people in advance that you are going to be on leave. Remember to put you ‘out of office’ on. Have someone hold the fort while you are away. Then fight the urge for 48 hours…that urge to make sure everything is okay…that urge to prove how indispensable I am…that urge to sneak a peek and stay connected. My normal summer holiday email check-in rule is ‘once in the morning and once at night’. For a long weekend I would advise the 48 hour embargo if possible.
- A change of pace. A change of routine. A chance to do nothing together. That’s what worked for us on our staycation. Throw away the timetable and let the day meander through the holiday checklist at its own pace.
Stuff we did not get around to doing. Baking sourdough bread (though we did manage to order some and get it delivered). Making kombucha. (It takes a lot of time and needs a whole lot of stuff we did not have at home). Plus our Marie Kondo clean-up plan never had a chance, it was discussed when we were planning our holiday but never even made it into the conversation once we got started on our staycation.
Last year, same week we were falling in love with Japan. It was one of our nicest holidays. Was our staycation as good as our holiday in Japan ? The simple answer is “No”. The joy of exploring an exotic new place, culture and cuisine was missing. But the time we spent together over this long weekend is still special. Memories of another family holiday have been made and stored. I look forward to visiting them some time in the future as I take a walk down memory lane.
P.S. – My dear wife discovered “Dear…” on Apple TV during our staycation. It is a docu-series where celebrities read letters from people they have influenced and touched with their art. As they explore how their work has transformed the world, their story get told through the eyes of others. If you are looking for something new to watch, I would strongly recommend this series. The episode that we absolutely fell in love with was about the musical Hamilton. After we watched the episode, we enjoyed listening to the soundtrack once more. Another magical memory that we created on our staycation, to be savoured some day in the future.
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