The joys of staycationing


Crawling traffic jams, sleepless nights at campsites, long lines at tourist attractions. If she’s really honest, journalist Anneke Bots relaxed most during the vacations she (unexpectedly) stayed at home. She explores the joys of staycationing.

My favorite part about last summer? I guess I could say it was the time I spent in my backyard under the giant yew tree with a cup of tea within reach. Physically, I was in my own garden in my home city, but in my mind, I was on a lonely mountain south of Tokyo. I was captivated by the main character’s fate in Killing commendatore, a two-part story by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

I felt like I was in the artist’s house, the one with the well-lit studio where he painted portraits, and in my mind I could hear the violin concerts he listened to. No traffic jams on highways, no crowded airports, no sleepless nights on a half-deflated air mattress in a stifling, sweltering tent. I spent the majority of my summer vacation at home.

Living out of a suitcase

Years ago I discovered more or less by chance how great a staycation can be. The original plan was to spend three weeks in the Dordogne in France. We were on the verge of leaving — the tent and bags were packed and loaded in the car — `when we decided we didn’t want to hit the road on empty stomachs. As we sat there at a sunny café enjoying our lunch in the park, we realized we might as well see an exhibition that was taking place while we were there. After all, we thought, the Dordogne really could wait another day.

The next day we made plans in our city and decided to postpone our vacation until the weather improved. We lugged our bags three flights up the stairs to our apartment and kept unpacking the things we needed. Our vacation turned into a staycation: we took long bike rides and sometimes drove to a national park, the coast or another city. We did all the things we otherwise never got around to doing locally. And we ate out every evening because, after all, we were on vacation.

We lived out of our suitcases like true vacationers so that we could still leave the country in a heartbeat if rain clouds were to suddenly invade us or the temperature were to drop. That never happened, so we stayed home and had an amazing time.

  • Read more about the joy of staycationing in Issue 34.

Tekst Anneke Bots  Photography The Joy of Film/

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