A Last Chance At Summer Vacation: Just Do It!

A Last Chance At Summer Vacation: Just Do It!

A few weeks ago I was one of those thirty something young professionals buried in Google trying to figure out what to do for summer vacation. As time goes on and friends move on it’s not as easy as it used to be. Of course, you can always use the “visit family” excuse, fly home and drink cabernet with the parents but by this age I feel vacation should have some autonomy from a family visit.
Fortunately, a torn ACL left me in bed for a few weeks with nothing to do but dream of getting away, shop for flights, and make the phone calls to try and make it happen. So vacation turned out to be something like this:

I visited old friends. Spending time with people who’ve known you more than 6 months is healthy. Eventually your old friends start to get married and the party herd thins. However, if you made a lot of friends or drew up one of those delayed-marriage pacts with buddies there’s a good chance that there are still a few other bachelors out there to hang with. So I flew to California to do just that and met up with Jimmy.

Jimmy and I kept things simple, no exotic packages or excursions. We kicked it off with a Groupon special couples massage and by evening managed to reunite a small posse of fun lovers from days past. We did the usual; endless video games in an arcade bar and then dropped by the Dive Bar just in time to see the human mermaid jump in the water.

We made sandcastles and met locals. There’s nothing like the experience of going somewhere with someone else. So now we’re driving a sporty Mazda 3 manual transmission from Sacramento to San Diego on Route 1. Neither of us is sure how long the trip will take or where we’ll spend the night but none of that matters when the whole coast is full of beaches.

After ten hours of car conversation interspersed with liturgy of the hours, we’d like to talk to some locals, especially the locals on the San Diego beaches. One of us comes up with the bright idea of building a sandcastle, which is cheaper than buying the whole beach $20 margaritas, and soon we’re surrounded with nice San Diegans who help us with the aesthetic touches. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but we met new faces and made some Facebook friends.

Call that number. If you don’t have old friends you can also visit acquaintances in far off places. Remember when you went to a house party of a friend of a friend and managed to focus your conversation on one person for more than three minutes? Suddenly you connect, think you’ve made a new friend, but oh no, she lives in Boston and is just in town for her sister’s daughter’s sister’s baptism. But now you can throw Boston on your itinerary and have a fun local to enjoy the hotspots with.

Something like that happened to me and now I’m flying from San Diego to the East Coast for the second half of my vacation. This part is more like a monuments tour of American history which has the dual purpose of letting my beach burn heal and also giving me the impression that I’ll actually go back to the office smarter than I was before. Throw in the exciting, good company of my new acquaintance and time couldn’t have been better spent.

Lesson: don’t throw away that number of a far-off friend, call it.

Spend some time alone. After fun in the sun and droves of gaping tourists there’s also nothing wrong with drinking organic coffee all alone at Le Pain on DuPont Circle. It’s the perfect chance to go over what I’ve seen, heard, and learned on vacation. In the end, vacation, however you choose to spend it, is about making good memories for the rest of the year.