FRANK’S VIEW: Time to rethink your vacation

Frank Carrano

Here we are in the throes of summer with no place to go. I don’t ever remember a time when a summer vacation wasn’t an option to consider — at least a vacation in the traditional sense.

So many travel plans have had to be cancelled, and so many of us have had to reconsider our definition of what constitutes a vacation.

Growing up, my family never took a vacation, never left our home for an extended period of time to go somewhere else to enjoy something special. No one else I knew did either. Getting vacation time away from work might just mean that your daily routine was interrupted with opportunities for some trips to the beach or a family picnic.

So I don’t have a lot of memories of all of us getting in the car for an adventure on the road, or staying over somewhere away from home. Once, when I was around 10 my Uncle Tony and Aunt Rose included me in a family trip that they took to New York City for a weekend. It was the first time that I had been in a hotel and eaten all of my meals in a restaurant. We visited the Empire State Building and ogled most of the familiar sights in Manhattan and we all ate a wonderful meal at Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy.

It left an indelible memory in my scrapbook of experiences because it was a first for me - being away from home and experiencing life as a tourist.

Later when I was a Boy Scout at Troop 13 at St Michael’s, we were offered an opportunity to attend summer camp at Camp Sequassen for one week. I got to sleep in a tent and swim in a lake and take a hike in a swamp that ended up at the Hermit’s grave. Again, a small glimpse into another lifestyle that I had no knowledge of.

Later, Angela and I would plan summer vacations for our family which always included age appropriate activities. Actually, it was always Angela who did the planning and worked out the details. I hope that some of the family trips that we took will stand out in their memories as much as my trip to New York in Uncle Tony’s car.

So now, we all have to reconsider just how to define a vacation. We can think about some more simple opportunities for us to take a break from the routine of daily life, even life as we now define it.

For so many of us, being home away from the workplace has been the definition of our lives for the past months. So how do you take a break from that in order to carve out some leisure experience and turn it into a vacation? How can we turn some simple activities into something special? Well, perhaps, just finding things to do together that are safe and fun; beaches, camping, hiking, outdoor eating at fun restaurants, and day trips to places of interest come to mind. I’m always excited to discover a place here in Connecticut that I didn’t know about and that offers an opportunity to have a new experience. I recently visited a sculpture garden in Lyme that was spectacular and is hidden in plain sight right of the Main Street there.

So this will be the year of some other firsts; a year in which we are challenged to rediscover the simpler experiences that we can enjoy as a family that don’t necessarily require us to get on a plane, or stay in a hotel, or even drive hundreds of miles. Yes, it means scaling down on our expectations of what it takes to reward ourselves for having worked long and hard all year, but in the end, we may find some unexpected pleasures in the simplicity of what life has to offer.

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