Tuesday, March 10, 2009

vacation / vocation!

Task at hand: design a vacation.

Is that like paint-a-pot?
Do I show up with three of my girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon and pick out a blank cruise ship, gossip about boys while selecting amenities (buffet, band, hot tub) and then squeal in excitement when the ship does a lap around the bay?

It appears that, like many things, it's much easier to describe how I wouldn't design a vacation. Assuming anything on a cruise ship is the first data point, let's go from there. I do not want to go camping. There it is. I don't really like camping. The outside is great, but seriously, camping is exhausting. First, you have to pull all the equipment out of whatever dank place you've been storing it since the last time someone else really wanted to go camping. Then, you need to make piles to get it all together, remember what you need, and forget your headlamp. At some point in the process you need to go food shopping, buy trail mix only because it has the word trail in the title, not because it's in any way more exciting than the few chocolate chips you can pick out, and select a box of bars that will taste even dryer when you're camping than they look in the box in the store. When you finally get everything packed you usually have to drive longer than you want to in a cramped car in order to get close to a destination that may or may not require walking. The walking doesn't bother me. In fact, I prefer it to sleeping on the ground next to my car, but it means that I have to carry all the gear, the food, and the synthetic clothing that will smell bad in ten minutes if it doesn't already to a different location before I can set up and get comfortable. Upon arrival, everything that I crammed into my bag gets pulled out: poles get pegged, tarps get stretched, mats get inflated, and I get hungry. I pull out the trail mix, eat the chocolate chips, take a swig of Nalgene-flavored water that mostly dribbles down my face and sit on the ground in a pike position in my Crazy Creek chair. Now I'm camping.

My designed vacation would likely involve international travel, something that allowed me to fly a posh, foreign carrier where the flight attendants look like porcelain and tuck me in and bring me bloody marys in the morning.

In fact, yesterday I received my new, renewed passport in the mail. Passports are something that you never think will expire, and even though you are given ten years of warning about your expiration date, you always put it off until the last minute and need to pay extra to have them rush you a little book with a version of your face inside. It strikes me that the new passport is very: America. I open the book and am bombarded with eagles and flags and monuments of past presidents. Every page is America America America. I wonder who designed the new US passport?

For the sake of getting this designed vacation underway, I'll wrap this up. My Airbus A380 lands and I head to the hotel in my poofy jacket before it's time to hit the slopes. The conditions are perfect and I finish my day down by the beach, catching some sun and playing in the gentle waves before a breezy, bug-free outdoor dinner. I sleep in a clean room, maybe it has a glass bottom so I can see the fish, and wake up for another great day of snowboarding. Dear vacation, do you exist?