Last week was a good one. We hiked Enchanted Rock. We rode the Violet Crown Trail. We explored McKinney Falls. Between the outdoor activity, we had coffees with my dad, I had lunch with my niece, and I managed some workouts on my training program. Then on the weekend, we did a three-day virtual event on the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet. It was not a week in Colorado (which had been the original plan), but we had a great week.
When I was younger, before I started doing any real traveling, I was all about the staycation. Every year, I would take a week off – usually during the week of Christmas – and I would clean and organize the house, get good sleep, and just enjoy being at home. And I loved that. It was always a time of rest and relaxation.
But then in 2008, I went to Coeur d’Alene for a race. In 2009 and 2010, my mom and I traveled to Canada, the first time to spectate and the second to race. Then in 2011, I went on my first overseas international trip. Between the race travel and the vacation travel, I started to associate “adventure” with the world “out there,” and I started to crave going places.
With that new bug, I did start going places. Since 2011, I have been across the ocean four times. The most recent trip was just last summer, a grand Scotland adventure with my niece. I’ve also traveled a great deal more in the United States – to West Texas, to Oregon, to Idaho, to California, to New York, to D.C., to Wisconsin, to Arizona, to Iowa, to Florida. Getting out of town has meant fun for me.
And then, with COVID-19, all the adventure I had planned for this year got cancelled. All of it.
So when some girlfriends said they were going to Colorado in August to escape the Texas heat and run in the mountains, I desperately wanted to go. But could I get on a plane? Right now, could I get comfortable with that idea? I wanted to, but I couldn’t.
So then Dave and I discussed driving and getting our own place and catching up with my friends but having our own Colorado adventure as well. We looked up condos and figured out what our travel plans would be, but I could not get peaceful about it. Something in my heart was telling me to sit this one out and to stay at home. Don’t get on the road. Don’t stay at a rental. Don’t spend the time or the money. Just stay at home.
I struggled with that decision, but as soon as Dave and I made the decision to stay home, I felt a weight lift. As soon as we made that decision, we started thinking about what we could do locally. Within an hour, we pretty well had our vacation week mapped out. And you know what? It was lovely.
We had the best week together, with friends, with family, with the cats. We went out. We hung out at home. We enjoyed restaurants. We cooked. Each night, we slept at home nestled with Bread and Butter. And as the week came to a close, I knew that we had done exactly what was right for us.
I realized a couple of things this past week. First, pretty much anything I do with Dave is a lot of fun. I can be folding laundry talking to him or eating one of his fancy sandwiches in a beautiful park setting with him or hopping a flight to anywhere. With Dave is where I want to be. Where and what really do not matter. Second, this staycation was very different from the ones I took more than a decade ago. Years ago, I enjoyed my time at home, but mostly that time felt like a good rest. It did not feel grand in any way. This staycation felt grand and indulgent and sweet.
I don’t know if this coronavirus situation has me appreciating things more. Or if having Dave’s companionship automatically makes a staycation better. But there was something about being able to revel in being at home that encouraged me.
I have no idea how long the coronavirus will keep us largely isolated and unable to freely move about the world. But having vacationed at home, I feel like I can handle this for as long as I need to. Life does not just happen “out there.” “Adventure” is not just found on the road. Life can and does happen in deeply delightful ways at home. And for that, I am so grateful.