Friday, October 12, 2007

Vacation Dreaming

This weekend I have my last public author appearance of the year (unless something comes up), and then I can go into full-on writer mode. I enjoy the public stuff, but it is a little draining, and it's nice to go back to being a hermit. Earlier this year I was daydreaming about a hypothetical vacation I wanted to take when all my "author" work for the year was done. I'd realized that I hadn't taken a real vacation in years. Almost all of my travel has been work-related, and the few trips I've taken that weren't directly for work were still for events where I had to stick to a schedule and didn't get much relaxing time. I'm also bad about not relaxing on vacation because I go into explorer mode and wear myself out trying to see and do too much. I thought it would be nice to take a real vacation where I go to a place that has some stuff to see and do, but not so much that I go crazy trying to do it all, and stay in a reasonably nice hotel where I can also spend time relaxing in my room. When I travel, since I usually just use the hotel room to sleep in and spend the days out and about, I tend to stay at no-frills places, so this would be a switch. I even came up with an elaborate way of setting a budget with a points reward system for things like writing, exercise and selling stuff.

I'd planned to take this vacation in October, since that's my favorite time of year. Well, since I have that book to work on, that's not gonna happen. I also don't have a huge budget. I could afford maybe two nights in a nice hotel if I went somewhere in driving distance (not that I trust my car for road trips right now) or a place where I could use short-hop frequent flier miles, and then have some money for eating, entertainment, etc. I'm also not particularly keen on travel right now, after spending the summer on the road, and I don't mind spending the next month at home, working.

But I think I will need a vacation after that. Borrowing from source material from the medical school I do freelance writing for, according to a psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, taking a vacation is important for creativity. You need to empty your mind in order to have room to refill it. And according to a psychiatrist/neurologist at the same medical center, to get the full effect of a vacation, you need to take a long enough vacation. It may take several days of unwinding even to get into vacation mode. See, medical justification! I guess I could take a trip sometime in November or December. It's still fall in this part of the world then, and who knows, I might even have a new car at that point. In December, I could do something Christmassy. And I'd have a little more in the budget.

On the other hand, since I am kind of tired of travel, I'm thinking of doing an at-home vacation, using part of my budget to upgrade my featherbed and buy nice pillows, sheets and towels to get the hotel experience, and then play tourist in my general area, going exploring and doing some of those things I've been saying I wanted to do but never got around to. According to those same doctors, the key to getting the vacation effect without leaving town is to shake up the normal routine. I could go touring some days, then play spa day at home on other days.

I'm leaning toward the at-home option -- and there was a really nice featherbed on clearance at Linens and Things, with only one left that would fit my bed. I'm seriously tempted to go back there now and get it. Then to play hotel for vacation, I could put the old one on my sofa and pretend to be watching TV from a hotel bed.

Of course, before I can take any vacation at all, I need to get to work on this book.

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