Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Need to Get Away

I spent much of my childhood crammed into the backseat of our Cadillac between my two sisters on our way to a vacation spot. Yes, we always drove. We often came to Florida, which was an 18 hour drive from Indiana. Our car would be loaded down with suitcases and shoeboxes. My parents are not light packers and always insisted on bringing plenty of clothing and many pairs of shoes. They are also big shoppers, which means the trip home often required my sisters and me to hold some gift for grandma, or our new found seashell collection, or the latest knickknack that my father thought our house in the Midwest, far from any beach, needed. There's really only so many sand dollars in shadowboxes that one house requires.

Many of my memories from my childhood consist of these trips. We often stayed in the Knight's Inn, which always had purple bedspreads and paintings on the walls of Italian gardens. I can still remember the smell of those rooms and how my mother insisted that we never walk barefoot. I was often forced to sleep on a rollaway bed, which was typically blocking the exit. Thank God, there was never a fire.

We went lots of places: Florida, Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, a cruise, the Bahamas, etc. My family wasn't wealthy at all. In fact, during much of my childhood we were quite tight on money, but my parents always made sure we could go on a family vacation. For that I am forever indebted to them. They instilled in me a desire to explore new places, try new foods, and meet new people. It was this that lead me, my sophomore year of college, to go to Europe and to spend four weeks by myself in Ireland. No, I didn't drive.

Thankfully, I met a partner we also loves to travel and makes taking a vacation a priority. Dustin and I have been many places together and always seek out new adventures. People often say they can't afford to go somewhere, but that's often not true. It is that people don't always choose to spend their money in that way. There are cheap vacations to take and not so cheap ones. The way I look at it, vacation renews you and gives you the strength to keep going in your everyday life. It is a vital part of my mental health. This past year, I could have paid down more of my credit card, but I didn't. I chose to pay to go on a gay cruise with Dustin and we leave on Sunday.

I don't know about you, but my January was more stressful and crazy than I was expecting. I had a couple personal things happen that were hard to deal with, so I'm very ready to get away. The best part about going on a cruise is that I won't have internet or phone service. I truly will be getting away from my life and everyone in my life, but Dustin, which is something I'm extremely excited about.

Last night, I was having dinner with my friend Jaclyn and we were talking about how crazy we sometimes feel about our dependancy on computers and cell phones. We are both close to the same age and are in that bracket of people who did not grow up with all of this stuff and yet now can't seem to live without it.

All next week, I will be just a human being. The people I meet onboard won't have their faces buried in some piece of technology. They won't be updating Twitter or Facebook, but will actually be living in the moment. They might actually look at me in the eye or at least in the crotch (it is a gay cruise).

I make the act of getting away a priority and I see the benefits. Life can be hard and stressful and it is easy to forget the beauty that is out there and that is inside your family. I think of it as a way to reconnect with Dustin for seven days and to just be ourselves.

-Stephen (Vacationing)


  1. I can't wait to hear about it (and see pictures!)

    Woo, I got a tag!

  2. have a fantastic time!!!