Look, I get it. If the last post didn’t already do it, this one will make sure that you, my readers (non-existent at the present time (Let’s leave my mother out of this)) will write me off as a lunatic whose laptop should be confiscated so that I don’t attempt to write another word. Ever. I dared to mock the sacred rite of passage that is the vacation. I can practically hear the clang of the pitchforks, the rabid howls of the vacation enthusiasts closing in on me from a distance (With my husband leading the charge. I’m sure they’ll convince the judge that it was a crime of passion). But despite all the ramifications (real and imaginary (or is it?)) why am I even attempting to write this? Because it needs to be done. Period. Someone at some point in time needs to say it. Out loud. Vacations are not fun for everyone.
There. I said it. Now, no matter what happens to me, I can rest assured that I’ve put it out there in cyber space. For eternity… (I’m going to have to learn to change my password… Right away). It exists people! And there’s nothing you can do about it! (I’m willing to settle for a posthumously awarded Nobel prize for my contribution to the field of recreational science. At least I don’t have to worry about outperforming my competition in this field.)
What is it with vacations and me? (or is it vacations and I? I can never tell!) Was it Seneca who said “Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind”? Centuries later, all I can tell him is that, he reckoned without me.
But I know that I’m in the minority here. Of one. Everywhere I turn I hear people gushing about vacations.
“Our quarterly vacation, you know the one we have every 3 months? We both feel that we simply have to get away from the stress of everyday life dah-ling. I’ve been meaning to talk to my husband about asking for more vacation time. It’s crazy that they expect him to work without a break for 3 months at a stretch! Slave drivers! And for all that work, his pay doesn’t even compare! We can’t afford to vacation much you know, but we try and make do. We’re really tightening the belt and alternating between just America, Europe and all those little islands for now… Anyway dear, I wanted to talk about what happened in July last year, I had a simply deeeeevine experience in Mexico with the what d’you call them… Shamans! Have you ever been to one of those dos? Of course, you haven’t! But it was life changing, I tell you!” #DivineMexico #Shamanism #LifeChanging #SpiritualExperience #LivingTheSimpleLife #ExperiencesMatterNotMoney
“I finally climbed the Alps with my dog last July and boy was it worth the wait!”#ScalingTheAlpsWithRoscoe #DogsOfInsta #DogsAreTheBestCompanions #WhoNeedsHumansWhenThereAreDogs … #LoveYouTooHubbyDear (Let’s all be thankful he merited at least a brief mention after having paid for the entire trip)
“I flew all the way to England just so I could enjoy a proper English tea with scones and crumpets and you know…tea. It was such a delightful experience!” #HighTeaRocks #TrulyEnglishExperience #UltimateChaiExperience (Sipping warm water from my microwave transports me to a state of nirvana every morning. Clearly, I’m not born for greater things.)
You might think that maybe it’s just a case of sour grapes with me. That I’m just plain envious of all those who have the chance to see the world and experience all these amazing things. That I long to do all this wonderful stuff but am vexed because I’m not getting the chance. #I’mNotMyHusband
Before my first ever vacation at the tender age of 26, I too had a very rosy picture of what a vacation would entail. The very word conjured up images of sunny beaches, iced drinks, beautiful landscapes, fun sports, exotic cuisine, rest, relaxation and all things enjoyable. I was smitten with the whole idea. When my husband suggested a beach vacation right after we got married, I was excited. My erstwhile dreams were transforming into reality right in front of my eyes! I was going to have so much fun! I was going to enrich my mind, body and soul with this experience. It was going to be magical in every respect without a doubt!
And then I went on a vacation.
“What’s your problem?” you ask me. I’ll tell you. Systematically.
Packing. It takes a dislocated shoulder and a semi-permanent neck brace before you realize that you are not the light packer you thought you were. The length of your holiday, the destination, foregoing your razor, facewash and towel and hoping the resort you picked isn’t so cheap as to let you fend for yourself, promising to change clothes only once every three days, none of it matters (that time limit is for me. My husband wears just the one set of clothes throughout. Maybe Di Caprio can make a special mention of us in his next Oscars speech. We’re conserving more water than wild animals after all). As you struggle to stand, gasping and ready to pass out on your weighing machine back home, your luggage is still 5 kg more than the permissible limit. #don’tForgetToPackYourNewRotatorCuffs
Travelling. Am I one of those nervy females with a fear of flying? where I can’t set foot in a plane without being dosed up on Dramamine? Nope. I quite enjoy flying (as long as I don’t have to look out of the window and can drop off to sleep on my husband’s lap like a dead weight the minute after take-off, I’m a pro!). Ships and boats, I love them! I honestly think I was a sailor in a previous life. While the rest of the tourists huddle in the back of the boat wondering if we’ll make it out alive, I’m the one on deck, freezing with delight (while also packing a week’s worth of strength training for my biceps) as we ride the rough sea. So, what is my problem? One word. Cars. Let me put it this way, the way He made me, the good God never intended for me to board a car in my life. Ever. The very mention of them makes me quiver in my slippers and when I walk past one with the window open, I puke, so you get why vacationing is a real treat for me. The way I see it, unless I’m armed with a set of disposable jetpacks, I can have a great time exploring the inside of my hotel room. #vacationingWithinFourWallsForDummies #IThinkAboutCarsMoreThanLewisHamiltonDoes
Fellow Travellers. This is a subset of the previous point but deserves a special mention nevertheless. Screaming kids. The ones who can make every potential parent within a five-mile radius hastily rethink their decision to have kids. A couple of experiences like that and you’ll be scheduling weekly sessions with your therapist for long-term anxiety issues. As you are weakly attempting to get over the assault to your eardrums and to your psyche, you meet the next beautiful set of people travelling has to offer. From your own country. The quintessential Indian khandaan on vacation. No sound is too loud to be heard. No place is too beautiful to leave unlittered. And no view on earth is breathtaking enough to silence their vocal chords. Wherever you go. They want to get there first. Whatever you do. They want to do it first. Everyone from the great grandparents to the screamers in the family, unite in a concerted effort to make everyone on board forget that they’re on vacation. #ICan’tFeelMyRibs#whatDoesn’tKillUsMakesUsStronger
The Weather. The sun shines brightly. All day. Everyday. And I hate it. Every trip is scheduled between 9 am and 4 pm. Invariably. Every morning has me patting my face with the sunscreen that breaks me out into rashes by the end of the day. I have tried the gel ones and the lotion ones, the cream ones and the powder ones, the matte ones and the glossy ones, the high-end ones, the low-end ones and everything in the middle. All with the same result. I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that If I use the sunscreen, it always gives me rashes and if I don’t, the sun does it quite nicely. Being from a conservative family, short clothes and bikinis aren’t part of my vacation trousseau. So instead, I sit fully clad in the baking sun, gazing longingly at every girl who isn’t overburdened with either clothes or a conservative nature (this goes on long enough to make my husband worry). At the end of the day’s excursions, I make a dive for our hotel room to start snorting tea tree oil like it was cocaine in a vain effort to relieve the sinus migraine that I developed over the day. By nightfall, sunscreen or not, I resemble a python halfway through shedding its skin with no idea of what to do with the other half. One week of vacation and I fly home a different person. Literally. On the way back, I’ve been detained at the airport for looking like an illegal immigrant more times than I can count(In India, that’s saying something). #I’mInnocentOfAllButBadSkinReactions
The Cuisine. This was one of the aspects I was most excited about until I actually tried it. I am from a Brahmin family. Have you ever tried being a vegetarian in Central Asia? You’ll be put out to pasture. Literally. Every single day saw me and my husband valiantly chewing on stir-fried vegetables and crossing our fingers that it wasn’t cooked in oyster sauce. On the last day of the vacation we decided to make the bold move of choosing a different dish on the menu. Following that, we set about first having a meaningful conversation on the more salient points of vegetarianism with the waiter for about an hour before he nodded and bustled off, only to bring forth a green curry that looked like the murder site for at least one John/Jane Doe of the poultry family. We didn’t stay to investigate. Ignoring the hunger pangs, we feigned fullness after sharing one plate of stir fried vegetables between the both of us and hastily made a move. We found a way around that problem though. #MeriWaliMaggi#vegetarianismAndWanderlustAreMututallyExclusiveConcepts
The Indian Rupee. The middleclass Indian attitude is not something you can shake. Ever. Exchange rates are tattooed on your brain, ready to start buzzing the minute you spot a price tag. You save up for a year to be able to afford a vacation outside the country. And wherever you go, you make the exciting discovery that your currency is right at the bottom of the totem pole (Anywhere it isn’t, is not a place you’ll want to end up in). Since I’ve started vacationing, I’ve developed a mortal fear of bills and receipts. That certainly livens up the enforced shopping experience on the last day of the vacation (No guesses on the enforcer. Mortal fear or not, I’m not giving up until I find at least one redeeming feature in the vacation). #confessionsOfABudgetShopaholic
So that sums up my post on why I need a vacation from vacations. I could have gone on but I wanted to keep it brief. #cuzbrevityIsTheSoulOfWitY’all
You get it, right? Right???