Ever since graduating from university and starting my career in 2017, I've saved up my banked vacation time to use for travelling. In 2018 I went to Cuba, in 2019 I went to Mexico, and in 2022 I went to Spain for my honeymoon.
As rewarding as these trips were and as much of a privilege it was to go on each of them, they were hardly what you'd call relaxing. Each trip included jam-packed itineraries with plenty of activities in hot weather, long flights, buses, train rides, lengthy lay-overs, and at-times cheap accommodations, as I was usually travelling on a tight budget.
It meant that every vacation I've taken in the last five-plus years has been, ironically, quite exhausting. While I undoubtedly enjoyed the break from work-related stress, I'd come home and feel like I needed more days off just to recover from my "holiday." But that was never an option, and it was always straight back to the 8-to-4 grind the day after my flight home.
But with plenty of vacation days banked up heading into 2023, I decided to do something I'd never done before in early January: I took a one-week stay-cation. And it was pretty glorious.
Instead of writing and editing articles and putting together newspapers, I slept in, watched movies, read books, went for walks, and got plenty of chores done around the house that I'd been putting off since October. As my wife is a teacher, she also had that week off, which meant we could wile away the days playing board games and binge-watching all eight Harry Potter movies and The Wire.
We didn't stay cooped up indoors the whole time, however. On one of the weekdays, we drove out to Johnston Canyon to check out the frozen waterfall and avoid the usual weekend crowd. We also went skating, and for afternoon walks almost daily in Fish Creek Provincial Park near our house.
As the editor for three newspapers and two websites, it's hard for me to switch off when going home for the day, as news doesn't exactly stop in the evenings or on weekends. There's always something work-related I can be doing, and my competitiveness when it comes to breaking a story or producing the best content possible is usually enough for me to put work before leisure and keep one eye peeled on our news inbox, no matter what it says on the clock or calendar.
But I must admit, the lazy, stress-free days of my stay-cation were pretty phenomenal, and something I could see myself doing again in the future.
As much as I love travelling and hope to continue banking my vacation days to visit new destinations in the future, the opportunity to completely unwind and veg-out for nine days was an amazing alternative. If you have the opportunity to take a stay-cation in the near future, I'd highly recommend it.