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Making the Most of Your Stay-Cation
Perhaps, like many Americans, you have decided this is not the time to spend a lot of money on vacation. You are going to stay home instead of heading for the beach or the mountains or foreign shores. But you don’t have to give up fun and adventure just because you are sticking around your home base. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your stay-cation.
First, there are a couple of things you should not do. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Sure you would prefer to go somewhere exotic on vacation. But if you focus on feeling deprived, you actually will deprive yourself of fun.
Also, don’t spend your stay-cation doing chores. If you had gone away, you would not be worried about painting the spare bedroom or landscaping the back yard. So don’t worry about those things now. If you absolutely cannot handle the guilt of being home without working on your home, set aside a day or so for chores and then concentrate on enjoying the rest of your time off.
So what should you do? Be creative. Use the time to explore new things, discover new places, make new friends. Approach your hometown as if you were a tourist: Look at the guidebooks and find some fascinating places to visit that you did not even know existed. Do an activity you don’t have time for most of the time. Or return to places and things you don’t have time for most of the time.
Find the water. The beach is great, but a pool will do. Take a book and your sunscreen and spend an afternoon watching the water.
Take a hike. Look for the nearest hiking trail and head there. Take a bird book and look for native species, or take a camera to record what you see. If you don’t like hiking, ride your bike.
Be a sport. Major league, minor league, sandlot -- it doesn’t really matter. Take in a baseball game or a cricket match. Play basketball at the local park. Work on your forehand. Whatever sport you like to play or watch, summer is the time to get your fill.
Pamper yourself. If you are a woman, get a pedicure and a manicure. If you are a man, you also could get a pedicure and a manicure. Or, if that is a little too much for you, go to one of those barbers with the hot towels and the big-screen TVs.
Have a party. Light up the tiki lights, turn up the salsa music, fire up the grill. Invite some friends or the neighbors – or both. Celebrate the wonders of summer.
Go out to lunch. There is something slightly decadent about taking a long, lovely lunch with a friend. No rush to get back to anywhere. Plenty of time to think about your choices. And a bonus is that lunch usually is a much less expensive meal to eat out than dinner.
Do some old-fashioned relaxing. Make homemade ice cream. Watch fireworks. Put up the Slip N Slide, fill up the wading pool, let the grandkids catch fireflies in the yard. Have a fire in a firepit. Take a nap in the sun.
Explore a new cuisine -- better yet, in a new neighborhood. Curious about Ethiopian food? Wondering about wasabi? Why not check it out.
Learn something new. Take advantage of your time off to get a head start on learning a new language. Or how to knit or play the harmonica. Cook something unusual.
Consider a day trip. Just because you are staying home doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time. Find somewhere an hour or so from home, and go visit. Leave in the morning and come home at night, tired and full of your adventure.
Connect and reconnect. Go shopping with your son. Call an old friend from college. Take your mom out for coffee. Write a letter to your aunt. Be open to meeting new people and making new friends.
Let your imagination lead you to a vacation that leaves you as refreshed and re-energized as you would be if you have gone halfway around the world.