Ryn: Best vacations often spent at home

Unless someone hands me a plane ticket to Paris tomorrow, my time off this year is going to be spent indulging in a staycation.

This trendy term pops up every time the country’s economy nosedives and folks don’t have the cash to travel. It can be a very healthy, happy and harmonious thing.

Angry plane traveler at La Guardia/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Angry plane traveler at La Guardia/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Avoiding travel means avoiding high gas prices, car leg cramps and roadside diners where the food is so greasy it seeps through to the placemat – even through a ceramic plate.

We get a reprieve from airport delays, showing off our bad pedicures for the metal detectors, and the high cost and even higher calories of airplane food. We’ll also miss out on the inevitable respiratory infection that always seems to hit after airplane travel, regardless of how many Airborne tablets we chew.

And we won’t have to cry ourselves to sleep at night in some foreign country because we so miss our dogs.

We’re off to a good start already.

To fully enjoy the staycation, of course, we have to fully understand what it is. A writer named Tightwad Tod at ConsumerReports.org defines the term for us as “a vacation in which the vacationer stays at home, or near home, while creating the environment of a traditional vacation.”

True reading/Ryn Gargulinski

True reading/Ryn Gargulinski

Sounds easy enough. That means we should leave the bed unmade for maid service, call someone for coffee and eggs and buy a bunch of crappy trinkets we’ll never do anything useful with but like too much to give away.

To complete the vacation environment, we should also strew sand on the floor, hang our damp and dirty clothes on the shower rod for days and lie around reading true crime all afternoon.

This all sounds like my typical week, anyway.

To avoid that trap, we need to break out of the normal routine, warns Tightwad Tod, so the staycation is markedly different than our daily lives.

The toughest move may be to unplug. Since I never answer the door and rarely answer the phone, I’ve got that part down pat.

Too much Internet?/Ryn Gargulinski

Too much Internet?/Ryn Gargulinski

But the suck of the Internet is a hard one to defy.

The longest I’ve gone without Internet was three days at my brother’s in San Diego last summer. I ended up missing a freelance revision deadline I received at the last minute and re-entered daily life with an inbox full of some 482 e-mails. But while the computer was down, it felt like a ball and chain had been lifted, even if I couldn’t check my daily Old Farmer’s Almanac weather and fun facts.

Instead we can find joy, and a break from our regular routine, by trying some funky stuff around town we neither seem to have the time nor wherewithal to enjoy.

Kid on javelina at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum/Ryn Gargulinski

Kid on javelina at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum/Ryn Gargulinski

Like a ride on the Fourth Avenue trolley to nowhere or, if we beg nicely enough, perhaps behind-the-scene tours of the zoo, the county morgue or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

We can find out, once and for all, where the rest of that long, winding trail goes after it leaves our usual path. You know the trail, it’s the one you see daily but never have the time to take. Take time to explore, uncover and indulge. Just bring lots of water.

And bring a sense of adventure. Even treks you regularly enjoy, like a thrift shop spree or a dog park romp, can be enhanced during a staycation. Make a day of it. Pack sandwiches. Linger longer. After all, with your computer shut down, you suddenly have 20 unspent hours during the day.

The other staycation option is to say to heck with the world altogether and spend our time going absolutely nowhere but the bubble bath.

It may still not compare to Paris, but I’ll bet it’ll be more soothing, even, than all the gargoyles of Notre Dame.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who plans to bubble bath, yoga, create art, take walks and devour true crime during her upcoming week off – hey! that sounds exhausting. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.Party934.com. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.


Have you ever indulged in a staycation?

Did you love it?

What is the most memorable vacation or staycation you ever had?

What was the most miserable?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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17 Responses to Ryn: Best vacations often spent at home

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Best vacation? For me always somewhere with pine trees or a beach. San Diego is always fun. Worst? Bad weather can ruin the best laid plans.(staying with relatives can get annoying sometimes) BTW-my ‘staycations’ usually consist of yardwork or home improvements, catch up time.(rather be on the beach) Enjoy yours!

  2. Rynski says:

    Mornin’ RadMax – You can find pine trees AND the beach in northern California. That’s what drew me to a job there, the description: The redwoods in your backyard and the Pacific in your front. I only found out AFTER I moved that it didn’t mention the 122 annual inches of rain. EEEK! So yes, bad weather can put a damper on anything…as can too much time with relatives (hahah). Home improvements are good, as long as they are fun things like painting tectonic plates on the ceiling.

    • radmax says:

      ?What in the world Rynski? Will the plates move? Could they cause massive ‘cieling-quakes’? Will magma flow out of them? Might want go with something alittle less dynamic, like a nice passive sun design.

      • Rynski says:

        A sun would be nice BUT – if you’re worried about the magma from the plates, why are you telling me to put a blasting hot ball of fire above my head? it would singe Sawyer’s fur, just like throwing matches at a cat.

      • radmax says:

        How awful! How could anybody be that deranged? Poor pussygato.

      • Rynski says:

        well, i think it was a kid being bored incident. the person did grow up to be a very fine person…at least he doesn’t seem deranged…although he does have a kind of sick sense of humor…

      • radmax says:

        …I know the type-should be fitted for a ‘rubber room’.

  3. azmouse says:

    Flagstaff is a close, yet cooler spot ot go, and lots of trees!
    My best, most recent trip was to Alaska. It was beautiful and I loved the wildlife.
    When all is said and done, a staycation at home can be great and relaxing.

    • radmax says:

      Did you go during the ‘bomber’ mosquito season? Love to see Alaska some day. Heard some great fishin’ stories…

      • azmouse says:

        Salmon to die for,but I missed the mosquitos, thank goodness.  I went in April. Still cool and rainy, which I loved. There was on sunny day and I think it got up to 60degrees…everywhere I looked, people were in shorts and wife-beaters, out washing their cars and kids skateboarding. I was the only one in a jacket.
        Never saw a cow, which explains why a gallon of milk costs almost seven bucks.

    • Rynski says:

      Hiya, AZMouse,
      From all I hear about Flagstaff – esp. during the Celtic Fest! – it sounds like a place I must check out.
      And Alaska? Wow, that’s got to be an awesome trip. One of my friends nearly got attacked by a bear there. See any? I also love the state nickname: The Last Frontier.
      One of my faves is going back to NYC. Miss so much about it – but always leave with a reminder of why I moved out!

      • azmouse says:

        You’d probably love Flagstaff. It’s spotless…not even a cig-butt on the sidewalks, and there are dishes of water outside everywhere, that the shop owners keep filled for all the pets that people walk around. It’s extremely pet-friendly. You can take you dog inside every store.

        I actually did see some bears while I was in Alaska. I went for a walk by myself around this hue lake. It was really early in the morning, and nobody was around. I did those tricks they tell you to do, like make noise so you don’t sneak up on one and scare them. Up the path I saw two grizzly bears, and they roared. I just backed up slowly, then when I thought I was out of their vision, I ran like a maniac! It almost gave me a heat attack.
        I also saw mountain goats, whales swimming through a channel, tons of bald eagles and some seals. It was great.
        By the way, in Alaska there are soooo many men per women. You get lots of attention there. lol  😉

      • Rynski says:

        oh! the wildlife sounds heavenly – as do the resident statistics (haha). glad you knew the bear tricks to stay safe. I think a grizzly roaring at me would frighten me more than a crackhead ordering a vanilla ice cream and the threatening me with a gun. and I’ve yet to see a whale in action. I’m allergic to cold weather, however. I’d have to go during the warmest season, which would be like winter here. And I can’t go during the no-sun periods, I saw that vampire movie – 30 Days of Night – I know what goes on there in the dark (haha).
        If Flagstaff is so pet friendly, then I DEFINITELY must check it out.  When I’m done with my staycation, I have to do a few roadtrips.

  4. bjay100 says:

    We have done staycations a couple times.  Once we splurged on the nicer rooftop rooms at the Hilton on Pantano/Broadway.  Had someone else clean, swim in the pool, hang at the bar, and ate out.  Yet we were just a few blocks from home to check on the dogs.  It was during the millennium and we saw spectacular fireworks all over town from the balcony.
    Another time we stayed at a hotel near the U…can’t remember the modern name.  It used to be the Plaza.  We wandered around the university area and ate at Miss Saigon a lot.  That place at night was scary though with all the police cars, helicopters, and sirens, not sure if we’ll be doing that again.
    This year our travel budget has been eaten up by a bunch of weddings we’ve had to travel to, so nada this year.  Maybe next year we’ll try one of the resort deals.  I have a friend who stayed at the Westin La Paloma and got a rocking deal.

  5. Georg Znaeym says:

    Wait a second here – “Fourth Avenue trolley to NOWHERE”? Do the Fourth Avenue folks not mind you calling their community ‘nowhere’, and do you really hold Fourth Avenue in that little regard to hang that label on them?

    • Rynski says:

      Hello Georg –
      “Fourth Avenue trolley to nowhere” is not a slam at all. Fourth Ave is one of the coolest places in town, complete with Epic Cafe, Antigone Books, Pop Cycle, Razorz Edge, The Hut with its tiki – just to name a few. The trolley is also awesome, especially when the conductor person and passengers return my wave.
      The “to nowhere” line is pointing out that the trolley’s starting point A and finale point B  are quite close together, meaning it really doesn’t go anywhere. This can be contrasted with, say, a jet plane from point A Tucson to England, a bus from point A Tucson to Kalamazoo or a slow boat to China.
      Are you a Fourth Avenue merchant by any chance?

  6. viet girl says:

    well for me the best vacation is at the beach, relaxing and forgetting everything and enjoying.

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