Fun in Your Own City

A ‘vacation’ doesn’t have to mean planes, beaches, costly hotels and crowds. What it could mean is a fun getaway for you and your family. This could be a great way of spending time without even leaving home.

One of the most exciting things about going on vacation is breaking your normal routine. You do things differently – eat different foods, get up at a different time, wear different clothes. Include all these things on your mini-vacation. The goal of a mini-vacation is to use whatever resources we have by changing our mindset.

Fun in Your Own City

Fun in Your Own City [Illustration by Shiju George]

Whether it’s just a weekend or a whole week, shake up your normal routine. Wear your vacation clothes, try new restaurants and order different foods. Ride the bus when you’re traveling around town, or take a different route if you drive. Have the children swap bedrooms, or if you have sleeping bags you could camp out together in the living room. A few small changes can go a long way toward giving you the ‘vacation’ feel.

Follow me while we explore how to take a vacation – without leaving home.

See your town/city with new eyes
It may be hard to believe, but if your town has at least one hotel, motel or inn, people are coming to your town as tourists. You may think you live in the most uninteresting place in the world, but that’s only because you are too close to it. So the first step could be to change the way you look at your city and the surrounding area.

If you were going to visit a new locale, you’d probably do some research. You’d buy a guidebook and a few maps. You may even look at a site or two on the Internet. Not only does all this research help you identify sites you would like to see, it also begins to build excitement about your trip. So don’t skip the research on your hometown or city.

Check the library for books on local history. Do a search on the Internet for any related sites. You’ll find out a lot more about your town or city than you thought you knew. Maybe the largest manufacturer of blue pottery is located only about fifty kilometers away – and they give free tours! Or there’s a skating rink close to your house that your child could want to visit. Start making a list of these attractions and discover new areas of interest.

“I’ve always wanted to…”
Remember when you promised your ten-year-old you’d take him to that museum across town? Somehow you never got around to it. Same with the new Chinese restaurant you pass on your way to work everyday. We’ve all got a list of fun things we’ve put off until we have a free weekend – but when’s the last time that happened? Now you will – on your mini-vacation.

One caveat: This is a vacation! It’s not the time to do all the chores and yard work you’ve put off. Your one and only goal is to have fun with your family, so skip the gardening unless everyone agrees its loads of fun.

Really take a vacation
The biggest danger in taking a mini-vacation is the lure of your day-to-day life. The telephone, the television, the neighbours are all potential pitfalls, so make some ground rules.

Keep the answering machine on and the television off. Let the laundry go. Shut down the kitchen if you don’t wish to cook while on ‘vacation’, if you do cook then you could at least simplify meal preparation. Take advantage of ready-made foods or make cooking a family event. Pick a theme for each evening – Mexican, finger foods, green foods, for example – and then have everyone help prepare and clean up. Remember again that the point of this vacation is to spend time together as a family.

Don’t forget the details
It’s the little things that will make your mini-vacation feel like a real trip. Take photographs and videos. Buy souvenirs. Send postcards to friends and relatives. The more you act like you are on vacation, the more you – and your family – will feel like you’ve ‘gotten away from it all.’

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