Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vacation III: Vacation Manifesto

Item 1: Vacations should be less stressful than your regular life.

That is all.

Okay, this post was prompted by someone who, upon hearing my initial comments regarding my vacation, followed it up with a single question: "So... did you do anything... you know, interesting?"I pretty much didn't. I'll admit that. I didn't go to the CN Tower, or to the Royal Ontario Museum, or see a game at the Sky Dome or... actually, that's all I can think of. What else does Toronto have?
In my defense, I did go to Honest Ed's:
As one tourist guide claims, "New York has Macy's, London has Harrods, Chicago has Marshall Fields, and Toronto has Honest Ed's. It is quite an attraction - honest." That's pretty accurate. It's also a hell of a place to get lost in when you're already going to be late for supper.
And some friends took me out to FRANK, the Art Gallery of Ontario's restaurant, which was pretty impressive:
"Culinary art" is pretty much the best way to sum up that meal. I've never eaten things that were so pretty.

But for the most part, I didn't do very much. This was a deliberate decision on my part. Allow me to explain further.

This "vacation"--remember, it was relatively short; two and a half days, less than 72 hours, and much of it was spent studying--was really the first vacation I've been on where my family wasn't involved. My family has done some pretty good vacations in the past. Lots of camping, cross-province trips, and a trip to Orlando last year. I've seen and experienced some incredible things during those trips that I wouldn't change for anything in the world. But it always seemed a bit like a negative sum--no matter how much we saw, there always seemed to be something we didn't get to see. It was stressful. And that always seemed to me to defeat the purpose of a vacation. (These statements should in no way indicate to any parental units that I am not absolutely looking forward to some destination locations when you visit in October. Because I am absolutely looking forward to that, and it will be Awesome.) So when I was planning my own, I minimized the planning aspect. I had no "must-go" destinations, no "must-see" sights. I knew where I'd be sleeping each night, and beyond that... que sera, sera.

The theory--zero stress--is admittedly questionable. First of all, I'm not sure it's accurate to state that reducing stress even IS a goal for a vacation, at least, not every vacation. Equally important goals include expanding one's horizon, adding some excitement to life, getting out of a routine. If your focus is relaxation, these other goals aren't going to get much attention. Not to mention I built stress into the vacation to begin with by bringing my work with me. The result, I'll admit, wasn't perfect. Sure, I didn't have much stress, but at the same time, I wound up with a vacation that doesn't exactly lend itself to a lot of interesting stories. (Did you notice that these aren't particularly interesting stories? I noticed you noticing.) So next time, I'll try for a bit more balance. A little more planning, and, hopefully, a little more EVENT. But like any good radical, I'll recant my manifesto when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

Later Days.

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