In Defense of Staycations

Have you ever tried chilling in a hammock with a cicada? I wanted to make it work last weekend at my parents’. But the fear that the bugger would wind up in my hair quickly zapped the Zen.

The first five minutes of hammock time was fairly tranquil. The day was warm and sunny, and, thanks to the coattails of a soft breeze, the smoky scent of chicken on the grill permeated the backyard. A clear view of the neighbor mowing was another nice touch because it reminded me I wasn’t doing yard work. Swaying in the hammock, I realized that my recent happ-a-dee-doo-dah post about vacations overlooked the joys of staycations.

Family Picnic
My parents and I packed a picnic on my latest staycation.

I do like to travel, especially to new places. It’s entertaining, gives a great excuse to indulge and makes “disconnecting” easier. More than that, I step off the jet bridge at O’Hare feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn and explore and for my everyday life. (And also for being ALIVE, THANK YOU PILOTS AND UNIVERSE!!!)

But I also think staycations are super special. I’ve always considered a weekend at my parents’ house to be a staycation. It’s sort of like being at home because I lived there and my parents still ask me to do chores. It’s also like a vacation because we do fun stuff and eat a lot.

Really, staycations are no better or worse than vacations. Here’s why:

Generally speaking, I think the logistics for staycations with Mom and Dad are less stressful than for vacations (Mom, note the underlined qualifier HAHA!). It’s a quick drive, and if I forget to pack something, it’s OK because having an extra lying around is what parents are for, even at 30.

Most people think vacations are more meaningful because of the chances to explore. But last weekend, my parents and I did lots of new stuff. We found the only working lavender farm in Indiana and had a go at cooking oven-baked fried chicken, which we packed for a picnic. I also helped my parents with a brand new chore – cutting down a freaking FOREST around the pond in their backyard. For better or worse, we made memories!

Willowfield Lavender Farm
Willowfield Lavender Farm

Did you know that the average person gains a pound on vacations that last one to three weeks? Well, yours truly gained a pound in 72 hours. That’s because carbs don’t count on vacation or staycation. Sure, there’s always a healthy dose of manual labor on a staycation with my parents. But I refuel with superfoods like Fritos, something I have never once purchased for myself.

The moral of the story? Vacations are glorious, and staycations are, too. After a long weekend at my parents’, I’m back in Chicago with some pretty fun party favors: an extra pound, a sore lower back and gratitude for more memories with dear ‘ole mom and dad.

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