Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ideal Vacation

Probably the best vacation I have experienced was an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment day trip. We always had "staycations" in the post WWII years. When I was a teenager, we visited relatives who lived a few miles away. I went with my cousin, her cousin from another side of her family, and the cousin's teenage boyfriend on an afternoon excursion. His family owned a motorboat which we were allowed to use. Today, as a mom, I'm thinking red flags, four teenagers on a motorboat? It was a different era--maybe 1960. We went out in the boat on a lazy, summer afternoon. It was a clear, sunny day in Florida with a light breeze on the bay. We roamed about in the boat looking at the scenery and talking. With no particular destination in mind, we stopped at a small sand dune and walked about wading in the shallow water. We wore Bermuda shorts, but hadn't planned the trip and had no swim suits. We didn't have life jackets either, but we could swim and didn't worry about stuff like that as teenagers. We had no sunscreen, or hats and the only protection we each had was a pair of sunglasses.

During the course of the afternoon, we slowly motored around the huge aircraft carrier that was docked at the local navy base. We waved at the sailors and no one pointed guns at us or blew ship's horns, or used loud speakers to warn us away from a military vessel. It was the most enormous ship I had ever seen--the ship itself was very intimidating in its size and painted a steel gray color. We weren't the only small craft cruising around it. We were all sightseeing on a Sunday afternoon.Everyone waved at each other and it was a very friendly atmosphere. It was very much an in-the-moment feeling--no stress, no worries. It was everything one could want in an experience because it was stress-free time, away from daily thoughts that tend to dominate our lives. It was a new experience for me and sensory overload was like an out-of-body day. I had a new appreciation for hot, wet sand between my toes and screaming seagulls. I didn't care about the salt water smell in my hair or the wet blouse from sprays of passing boats. It dries quickly in a Florida sun. Whether on a vacation or a day trip, sand, sun, and surf still appeal to me.

After the boat trip, we stopped at the typical drive-in ice cream stand of the Sixties and had chocolate milkshakes. It was the most inexpensive, but most valuable vacation experience, as well as one of the most enjoyable. It set the stage for what I now like in vacations. I treasure looking for the unexpected, and sea shell collecting fits the bill as a requirement for any trip to the beach. Every vacation should provide that "ah ha" moment and the quest for a feeling of suspended time. I love that expression "no worries". That's what an ideal vacation is for me.


  1. Life certainly was slower paced back then. I am a fan of staycations - always have been. Thnaks for sharing this pleasant memory.

  2. Deb, I've enjoyed your blog and I discovered another interesting blog from your comments page at
    I have fond memories from the past, but the world of cyberspace is quite a fascinating experience.