How I Staycationed

With two young children, we couldn’t be bothered to figure out the logistics of actually traveling, so we took three days of work to stay at home. To make it an actual vacation, we took the children in to daycare to spend the time how we wanted to.

To make the most of it, I thought about what sort of things we typically don’t get a chance to do and focus on those activities. Here’s what we came up with.

Yes: Eating Out

I’m not sure whether it’s from having children or general post-COVID life, but we don’t eat out much at all. Even on days where we aren’t cooking, it just seems easier to get food delivered and eat at home.

However, when we have the time and flexibility, eating out is nice. Specifically, we thought about cuisines that our children wouldn’t enjoy so much and focused on those. We also drove maybe ten minutes farther than usual to try something different.

Not: Sleeping

This was regrettable, but I didn’t take any naps during our days off. I absolutely could have used the sleep, but I wanted to do something different during the waking hours.

Yes: Virtual Reality

Most of my leisure time these days comes after the children go to bed. I used to never play video games late in the evening because I couldn’t fall asleep. Now, I’m tired enough that it isn’t really a problem.

Except with virtual reality games. Those are still too stimulating before bedtime. I used to play during afternoon naps on the weekend, but with two children, there isn’t really a break anymore, so I didn’t have a great time to play.

However, I stopped about half-way through Half-Life: Alyx, and I really wanted to finish the game. It’s a first-person shooter with zombies, and although I don’t really like horror, this game is incredible. It was absolutely worth sprinting through the end of that game.

Not: Going Far

We discussed potentially going up to the city, but it just seemed like too much. Even though we were taking vacation days from work, we were still limited to daycare drop-off and pickup hours. We skipped the hour drive up and down to do more local things.

Yes: Great America

One very local thing for us is California’s Great America amusement park! I got a season pass last year to go with my daughter, but I haven’t really gotten to use it to its fullest since young children can’t ride roller coasters.

We arrived at opening and rode five roller coasters in an hour. In fact, we might have been too efficient: after we got off the last roller coaster, we had to take a break and then left before lunch. Maybe we’re just getting old, but I remember tolerating it better before.

However, we still had fun, and leaving early opened up the rest of the afternoon for us.

Not: Watching TV or Movies

Since the pandemic, I believe we have only seen one movie in theaters. To be honest, I don’t really miss the theater experience that much.

Also, we actually do watch TV after the children go to bed, so it doesn’t seem so special to make it happen. We have gotten used to watching movies in halves so we can split it over multiple evenings.

Yes: Gardening

We actually do enjoy spending time together outside as a family. We even can do minor gardening tasks like watering and weeding together. However, there were just a few tasks that are more easily done on my own.

Like pulling out prickly weeds. I can’t complain about getting rain in California over the last two years, but I have had to learn about plenty of new weeds over that time. I don’t mind the effort of pulling out harmless weeds, but the pokey ones are the worst. They’re irritating for me and cause for real drama with the children.

Or digging out big roots or transplanting trees. When it takes bigger tools and dedicated time, it’s just easier to get it done on my own.

Recently, I have enjoyed gardening in silence and trying to listen to nature, so to speak. However, I was behind on book club and had to listen to the latest book at 1.5x speed. Perfect for manual tasks like gardening.

Final Thoughts

The three days went by very quickly. Although they weren’t physically that restful, it was nice to do something different. We certainly could do with a bit more variability in our lives right now. However, everything with children seems to change constantly, so I’m sure in a few months, we will have that chance.

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