Who Else Needs a Vacation? / by Michelle Cowan

I’m having a difficult time getting out of my routine. For a long time, I walked according to my “live differently” philosophy, which suggests doing something different or differently every day. Usually, this was easy, and I accomplished it without thinking. Nowadays, I wonder how often I really get out and do something out of the ordinary.

I get so tied up in my routine, thinking that it keeps me safe or in control, when, in fact, it does none of that. I can do everything to the best of my ability, making sure I accomplish every piddling task I can think of, and things can still go wrong. I cannot singlehandedly control the weather or the economy or even my moods sometimes! Although my schedule makes me feel safe, it’s an illusion. And getting out of it is often the only way to remember the safety and beauty beyond the boundaries I have constructed.

The "live differently" philosophy never stipulates that the “different” thing has to be anything grandiose or exciting. It can be driving to work a new way or visiting a restaurant I’ve never been to. It could be doing laundry in the morning instead of the evening or wearing an outfit I might never have picked out for myself.

At this point, however, I question whether I even want to put out the effort to do something new. For today, I am challenging myself to make small talk with anyone who crosses my path. It’s been a rather interesting endeavor and has provided an outlet in an otherwise solitary day. I wonder if it’s really satisfying this urge for newness, though.

I’m busy at work and am doing quite well at it if I do say so myself. However, something in me longs to get COMPLETELY out of my routine and away from work, too. Doing just one thing differently per day would be nice, but I desire a true getaway. I’ve never taken a vacation for myself purely in the name of relaxation. My excursions have always been to visit someone or see some new site or perform a specific task—never a complete pampering.

The few roadtrips I’ve taken have been fun, but they weren’t exactly relaxing. Things are always a bit harried on the road, and you never know what could happen. Still, I’d take a road trip with a couple of friends. I’ve always wanted to head up the west coast, from San Diego, through San Francisco, through Oregon (where I’d see some family), and up into Canada. It’s not well-thought-out, but these are the sorts of travel dreams I have. That… and Italy ;)

For about a year now, I’ve been trying to pick a place to go on vacation, but I come up empty and can’t seem to make a definite decision. This shouldn’t surprise me; I tend toward decidophobia. Still, everyone needs a vacation now and then, even if it’s just a vacation from the ordinary. Getting out of one’s routine can drop a person back off in her life with renewed creativity to live life the way that is best for her, not strictly according to pattern.

That’s what I want: a shot of the different. A one week escape from all things usual, just to remind myself that things can be wonderful without the steady flow I’ve set up for myself. That steady flow is nice…but can also bore me to tears.

Anyway, I suppose this is simply a plea to get out and get back to living differently. For today, I’m content with making conversation with strangers, but I will put forth effort and visualization towards an escape in the near future. It’s about time…