I would like to take a vacation?

If I take a vacation, where should I go? How does one take a vacation? What is a vacation?

Published March 24, 2009 10:18AM (EDT)


I would like to take vacation?

It has become obvious I need help with this. Any ideas you have would be very much appreciated.

Please point me in the right direction.

Thank you for your help.


Dear Janet,

Sometimes a person will have a favorite place they went to as a kid, and when they think "vacation" they think of this place. Do you have a place like that? Is there someplace you would like to go because you have good memories of it?

Other times, there is someplace you have never been, but always wondered about. For me, this would be Cape Horn, on the tip of South America. I like standing on the tips of great peninsulas, between two great bodies of water. Go figure. Ask Freud. I like the Florida Keys. I like Dillon Beach, up at the tip of Tomales Bay. These places, for me, have great power. I like to stand there and shout!

Maybe there is someplace like that, which you have always wondered about: The North Pole, or Madrid, or Norway. Maybe there is someplace you have thought of standing and shouting, someplace high up in fierce winds where you can see into different countries.

You say obviously you need help with this. I wonder what makes it obvious. Would it be obvious if I knew you, or saw you? Or is it only obvious to you? Is it just that you haven't gotten around to it? Or is there some difficult-to-describe impediment, such as ennui or lethargy, a heaviness about your bones that comes over you like an enervating shroud when you think of "vacation." Sometimes when we think of what we want, we also think of all the things it will take to get what we want, and so what we want begins to seem a terrible burden. For instance, consider the burden of the sandwich. I would like to eat a sandwich. Very much, yes indeed, I would like a sandwich. I would like to have it in my hands, with my mouth open.

But do I want to make a sandwich? No, I do not. I do not have a sandwich and do not want to make a sandwich, nor go through all the steps required to get one at a sandwich shop, including the part where they ask your name and you must decide, shall I say my name is Janet, or shall I say my name is Henry Adams, or King George? Some people go from "wanting a sandwich" to "getting a sandwich" almost without thinking about it. It's the same with some people and vacations. It seems effortless to some! And yet, for others of us, we feel, well, it's obvious we need help. All we really know is that we "have to get out of here." And we need help charting our path from "needing to get out of here" to actually boarding a plane, or a bus, or getting into a car, or on a train, or just walking in the direction of a far light out of town.

I would like to point you in the right direction. I would like to point you in the direction of the seashore, or of the mountains. So let's start with this:

First, locate yourself on the map.

Do you have a map? If not, go to the store and say, "I'd like a map of the area." If the clerk says, "What area?" say, "This area." Gesture and shrug your shoulders, as if the meaning of "this area" is obvious.

Take the map home and spread it out and look at it. Find your location. Then find a place far enough away from your location that you couldn't walk home if you got bored or tired. Find a place, perhaps, where there is no street noise, where you can stay in a cabin for a week, or where you can rent a hotel room on a busy street and sit in your window making up stories about the people, and send me the stories you make up.

You know, Janet, your letter was very short, but I had some favorite parts. My favorite part of all is where you said that any ideas I had would be very much appreciated! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. For, as you may or may not know, I have many, many ideas. I have ideas that come to me in the middle of the night that even I do not very much appreciate, but I very much appreciate the idea that you will appreciate them. It's not that I don't feel appreciated in general. To the contrary, I get many kind letters from people who let me know that I am appreciated. But there is something particularly wonderful about being told that any ideas we have will be very much appreciated. Think about that, how rare that is. While some ideas we feel sure will be appreciated, others we propound only with trepidation. We know that some of our ideas may represent problems for others. What a great world it would be if any ideas we had would be very much appreciated! Wouldn't it be great if your boss told you that any ideas you have will be very much appreciated? Every boss should say that, and mean it! Any ideas at all! Any ideas!

So thank you for that. I hope you have a very good vacation. Please take at least two weeks. Plan well. Go either to the mountains or the seashore. Or, if there is a favorite place from childhood or some magical spot you have always dreamed of visiting, then go there.

Send me a picture, or a post card!


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By Cary Tennis

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