Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Lounging Around

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Total Black: $681.94
Total Red: $228,415.87

My trip to magical Orlando was a success.  Lounging in the lobby of the hotel as I write this entry.  Meetings have concluded but my flight isn’t until this evening.  I’m leaving with a title and without a tan.  And thankfully I didn’t spend nearly as much as I had feared I would, or would have had to.  Tomorrow it’ll be back to the daily grind.  But that’s ok.  I’m looking forward to it.  Even more so because I learned a new word on this trip that I can’t wait to start using.  And even doing.  What’s the new word?

Staycation!  I’ve had this idea for years.  I’ve always loved the comfort and anonymity of hotels, their general pristine feel and crispness, the tight bed sheets and origami tissue creations the housekeeping staff leave for you.  So I’ve given serious thought, more than a few times, to staying in a hotel for a weekend in my own town.  A vacation away from home but without leaving town.  A chance to get away from your mail and all the bills, from your telephone and all the calls, from your emails, and yes maybe even from your pets.  No travel involved.  Just you and a hotel bed.  Sleep in as long as you want.  No one and nothing will disturb you because generally hotels are fairly quiet.  Oddly enough I had to stay in a hotel in New York a few months back in A Day Without a Post.  That’s not the type of staycation I mean though.  There was no “cation” in that stay, though I did pause for a moment and think it was cool that I was staying in a hotel around the corner from my apartment.

There’s another type of stay-at-home vacation too.  The one generally referred to by the word staycation: taking time off of work and just relaxing at home, doing things at home or taking short daytrips in your general area.  I’ve done that for sure.  Call in sick one day and just lounge around the house watching some movie marathon.  I’ve even thought of inviting friends over to join me.  Maybe it’s October and you watch all the “Halloween” movies. (yes, even that anomalous “Halloween III,” otherwise it’s not “all”).  Or some chilly February afternoon and you stay home in your pjs and watch all the “Star Trek” movies.  Or catch up on those episodes of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” or “Mad Men” you never got to.

For years now I’ve taken staycations without knowing it.  And that’s without ever consulting my financial bottom line.  It’s funny that there’s now a term for doing this.  And not surprising that the Great Recession prompted people to remember to enjoy time with each other and to get creative and have fun cheaply.  Don’t know why it took such financial calamities though.  I guess for some time now people have been in this frenzied mindset that spending copiously, in this case on fancy vacations, is the way to show love and ensure a good time.  At the conference I got to talking with another board member’s spouse, the one who referenced the term staycation to me.  We shared stories of our childhood, traveling in station wagons with the back window wide-open, just going wherever the adults took us.  For me it was Wildwood, New Jersey with my grandmother, aunt and uncle, and cousins.  My parents only took staycations.  For my mother two weeks in the summer meant time to clean the house.  I don’t recall what my father did really.  In their later years they’d joke that they went from the front porch to the back porch.  Well, that was until their children moved to various countries in Europe and they had to travel to see us.

But I suppose that’s where I got the urge to just chill.  Lounging around or just relaxing with friends or family has always been enough for me.  Well, as long as we’re doing something together: board games, watching a film, even a day trip.  Otherwise, I go stir crazy if we’re not focusing on something.  But I’ve never been high-maintenance.  Even when I was in the United States Peace Corps in Poland, for example, I spent the bulk of my time taking staycations.  I took day trips around my area.  I got to know the local people.  I spent much of the summer remodeling my apartment while other volunteers crammed in as many capitals in a week as possible.  I noted in Business Travel how much I enjoy business travel, but vacationing is not really my cup of tea, not unless we’re going for ten days or more, and even then I typically want a staycation after my vacation.

Very little of my total red can be tied back to vacation expenses over the years.  So I suppose then I shouldn’t be surprised that my expenses for this trip weren’t all that much.  Food and transportation.  That’s it.  And they all qualify as tax-deductible business expenses for attending these meetings.  What can I say?  I admit it.  I’m guilty.  I have a nesting tendency.  Or would “burrow” be better for a guy?  I’d rather find a comfortable spot, like this table and chair I’m at as I write this, and just relax for the few hours before leaving for the airport.  It’s definitely cheap—it’s free.  Others would have hopped the shuttle to get one more glimpse at something Disney before darting off to the airport in a mad rush to make the flight.  Different strokes, eh?  Maybe when I get back I’ll build myself a Magic Kingdom and a Cinderella Castle out of pillows at home, use the cats as big tigers in my Animal Kingdom, my aquarium can serve as Sea World, and just take a staycation to my own Walt Disney World?

Then again . . . maybe I’ll just leave that magic to Disney.  Some trips shouldn’t be tried at home.  Guess I’ll just have to return to Orlando one of these days.

One Response

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  1. Thank God for the free cle at disney. I was able to get some stuff done and save some $$, though it was all boring immigration related stuff. I feel your pain fellow Juris Debtor.


    February 9, 2010 at 18:49

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