The Joy of Staycations
I love to travel before I die I want to see the world, so usually when I take time away from the office, I go somewhere different. I enjoy the new experiences and like to bring back a bit of local flavour with me. Seeing the world has been a privilege that I understand not everyone has. I'm lucky that I've been able to travel near and far and have gotten to experience other cultures and cities. This is invaluable to me.
This holiday season, I decided to stay put. I didn't pack up bags with swimsuits or hiking gear. Instead, I enjoyed a mini 'staycation,' and it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Before this, when someone mentioned a 'staycation,' I'd turn up my nose at the thought. It sounded boring, why would I stay somewhere that I get to be 24/7? Now fully experiencing one I completely understand the appeal. There is something beautiful about just sticking around the house, enjoying a book or exploring your city! Something, that I rarely do even though I live in one of the best cities in the world.
Looking to take a staycation this winter? Here are some of the lessons I learned:
Explore your backyard
When I first moved to Toronto almost ten years ago, I thought my life would be filled with new adventures daily. I'd go to the theatre, eat out every night and enjoy the city. I did that for a few months, but honestly, it gets tiring. The thrill ends, and you hunker down into the usual routine, and the same tried and true brunch spots. This winter I decided to venture off the beaten path a bit and see what else was out there. For instance, I realized I hadn't been to the East side of the city in 4 years! So, I made some loose plans and decided to venture to places I didn't frequent. I also made a habit of choosing one location and then just wandering about. Seeing what else caught my eye and going from there. I get it; not everyone lives in a big city like Toronto. When we went to Waterloo for the main event (aka Christmas) I looked at what exciting things were close by that we could day trip to. There were TONS of options. See what you might want to do and go from there.
My one fear doing a staycation was I wouldn't be getting away from it all. I'd still be in our condo, close to work and not taking my mind off things. I decided to turn off my work notifications and press pause on my work life. I found that acting like I was on a faraway vacation allowed me to relax fully and not feel like I was taking a day off or working from home. It's a small thing, but it does make a difference.
I'm guilty of this for most of my vacations, to be honest. I am a planner at heart. I love a good schedule. A schedule is great if you are in Dublin and don't know how to get around and need to map out your day. When you are doing a staycation chance are you know the city reasonably well (unless you are like me and got lost of the Eastside!). I decided on this staycation I'd wake up whenever and see how I felt for the day. Did I want to go to a museum? Stay in and read a good book? I'd check in with myself daily and then decide from there. It made me relax a bit, one thing I find with travelling is I often get stressed that I won't see everything I want to look at or do a specific thing. Staycationing releases that stress if I didn't hit up that hiking trail? Just put it on the list to do another day.
The other takeaway from my staycation is learning to relax while staying at home. I'm the kind of person who always needs to be on the go and just relaxing can be difficult for me, especially when I'm at home and there is laundry to do, dishes to put away and a whole list of other items. Taking a much-needed break will help you recharge and let go. When I staycationed, I tried to eat out a few times, not do laundry and not get tied up in the daily household chores similar to how I would while travelling. They would still be there next week. Not getting caught up in the daily grind of household duties helped me unplug and honestly feel like I'd skipped town.
Now that I've done it, I have to admit I enjoyed my staycation. Will I give up travelling? Heck no! I will plan mini staycations in my city, however. There is a whole wide world out there to see, and some of it happens to be in your backyard. Don't forget to explore it.