It’s finally here. The vacation you planned three months ago. It’s time to go. You’re thrilled. Everyone is so happy and excited for you; they know how much this means to you. Your boss calls, as you barrel out the door, “Have a good time!”
Don’t you worry about that, Boss Person. You’re out of here and won’t be back for two weeks. You’ve been waiting for this vacation time for three years, and now you’re taking it by the horns and grabbing it.
You dash home, where the suitcases are packed and just waiting for you to take them to your Dream Vacation destination. You have all the essentials: The suntan lotion, the bathing suit you starved yourself for the last three months for so you could wear it in public without embarrassment. You have the brochures, the map and the sunglasses (several).
You’re bound and determined to get away from home. If anyone deserves a vacation, it’s you. You’ve worked so hard, and now you’re going to have a great time, and nothing’s going to stop you now, no sir.
After the seven-hour drive, you arrive with your family to the Dream Destination. It’s just like the brochures said it would be! It’s beautiful! You’re here!
It’s always a good idea to lie down once you get settled, after you’ve checked in, looked at the beautiful view from your window, and gone through the manual to figure out how to operate the personal alarm system. You’re tired. It was a long drive, and you’re on vacation, for goodness’ sake!
Pretty soon, it’s time to go have a nice bite to eat at one of those places that advertise the best in “local cuisine.” It’s also a time to splurge and have a few drinks, then coffee and dessert. Everyone’s just so happy to be here.
Boy, that food was good! When you return to the condo after you’ve stopped by the supermarket to fill up on groceries to stock in the brand-spanking-new, Comet-clean refrigerator, you glance out the window again and have another little rest.
It seems strange that, when we get to go on vacation, we start thinking about the place we just left — our home. You know Fluffy and Terminator will be fine; you know your next-door neighbor will feed them and give them water on a daily basis. You stopped the mail: You can trust the postal service, so quit thinking about it! You’re going to have some real fun!
It’s important, while on vacation, to see as many of the sights and do as many of the activities as you can; you also need to remember to take the camera everywhere to document these experiences. The other thing you can’t miss is the tourist shops and little boutiques where you can find the “perfect” gift for your dog-sitter and several postcards that you should address and mail — before you get back — to all your envious but supportive group of friends.
A few days into this, and you’re working on getting a pretty even tan. The pool is great, the ocean’s fun, but you haven’t had time to check out some of the places of interest that you had on that list. It’s OK. There’s still time.
It’s really great to be here. No, the beds aren’t as comfortable as your old, lumpy mattress, but that’s fine. And the water is never the same, somehow. It’s either too “soft” or too “hard,” and it doesn’t taste like the water that comes out of the tap at home. You can’t do anything about the ice cubes either, so you drink everything straight out of the can.
Pretty soon, after a few more dinners out, where you used your array of credit cards and cold, hard cash to lap up more of that “vacation cuisine” that you just can’t get at home, you’re in the car, heading back.
What happened? Is it already time to go home? What did we do? Did we have fun?
“I’m sure looking forward to going home,” you hear yourself saying. Others in the car agree, saying they want to mow the lawn first thing, because it’ll sure need it. That makes you think about that book case you have been working on in the basement: You better stop by the hardware store after you get home and unpacked.
What’s happening here? What is this phenomenon? Why is it that when you plan something as important as this down to the letter, and you’re finally there, actually free to frolic in the sun and waves with not a care in the world, just like those people in the brochures who look so rested and relaxed, you feel kind of homesick?
The truth may be that, no matter how much fun it is to leave home for the Perfect Vacation, when it’s time to come back, everyone’s relieved, because home, after all, is where you get normal-smelling water and really good beds.
Plus, you can set the alarm system with your eyes closed.