We’re stuck inside. Our routine with friends has all but disappeared. We want to travel but don’t want to risk other people’s lives.
So my partner and I decided to bring the vacation home to us!
It’s not the same thing, even by a mile, but it has brought us closer together. We took a week off from work and came up with some fun activities to do together at home. We turned off the electronics (eventually) and started an adventure that continues to inspire us, it’s become a loving weekend ritual. It’s about connection and play, and the more creative you get the quicker you’ll find yourself laughing and forgetting the outside world for a while. Truly a vacation right in your home!
How It All Started
We were sitting and watching a movie, well we weren't so much as sitting as we were melted into the couch half paying attention and still trying to separate work from home life, when the idea struck me.
What could we do to ease the stress and boredom of being cooped up?
I started to remember when I was a kid and when I wanted to disappear into my own little world I would build a fort so I could play my gameboy or read a chilling book (something by Stephen King or R.L. Stine or Dean Koontz). It was a great little escape from the rest of my life without actually leaving home. I loved my little world so...
Build a Pillowfort
Really go all out too! Whether you’re alone, with a loved one, or even the whole family decide that you are going to build THE BEST BEST DAMN PILLOW FORT OF ALL TIME. We used every sheet, pillow, and chair in the house and made a fort that rivaled the great safari tents of the 1920’s. It was hooked up (of course) directly to the living room television, and it became our little personal movie theater/gaming room. We spent every night there together,laughing maniacally at how ingenious we were. The entire experience was so uplifting that we wanted to take it a step further.
So we devised a plan to turn that experience into a full vacation.
We each put in a notice to work that we would be out of the office for a week. No electronics, no exception, you wouldn’t be able to reach us (Our families could still reach us by phone for an emergency, but work didn’t need that number). We set out a rough guide to follow, and we stuck to our commitment of no electronics (as best we could). Unplugged the TVs and Computers and hid the cords. We learned that the easiest way to limit stress was to disconnect from the world for a while. Check your phone once a night for emergencies then get back into your comfy little Staycation.
Cooking Exotic Dishes
Ok so this one isn’t blow-your-hair-back exciting, but we had a lot of fun cooking foreign dishes together, and when you have no TV you learn to entertain yourselves quickly with harder projects. We made a shopping list and planned out our meals for a week and where we’d love to visit. We made Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) from Korea, and Shakshouka from Israel, just as a sample of what we cooked. Devise your own menu for you and yours, make it fun and do it together, even if one of you is a terrible cook now is a great time to learn how to chop and season. You’ll have to break your no phone rule for this, because you WILL need the recipe! So while you’re at it, pull up a map and talk about where you’d love to visit, then look up what the most popular dishes are from those destinations. It’s the little things that count, and even if your food doesn’t turn out great (as ours sometimes did), you’ll enjoy the time spent together and trying new food that you cooked yourselves.
Break Out the Camping Gear
This was one of our favorites, we set up our ratty old tent that we use once or twice a year in the backyard and built a (small) fire. We spent the night talking and slapping away mosquitos, played a little guitar, and laughed a little too hard at how tipsy we got. Make smores, and poorly cooked open fire beyond-meat hotdogs. Even if you don’t have a backyard, just set it up right in your living room, you should cheat a little and use the TV for this one because building a fire indoors is a hard pass. Treat it just like camping, this is about getting away from the outside world and connecting back with yourself and your loved ones.
Go for a Hike
We found a ton of new hiking spots to explore around our city, the further we drove out the less people there were. Even with other people out on a hike around you, we never felt in danger of spreading the ‘Rona. Everyone kept their distance and wore their masks as we passed one another. Things felt friendly and exciting, the sense of adventure was in the air. The longer the trail, the more rewarded we felt after completing it. Search for new creeks and waterways to cool off in.
Have a Spa Day
Ok so this one takes some planning, before you set out on the best home vacation ever, order all the necessaries for a spa day. Set up candles and do facemasks together, and take a long needed bath. Give massages to one another, and give yourselves a pedicure and manicure. It won’t be as good as a professional but you’ll find the joy in doing some self care. Really feel into yourself and let your tensions fall away. This is your vacation, and nothing will stop you from truly letting go and laying back, fully relaxed.
Read That Book
You know the one, you said you would get to it when things slowed down. Well, now is your chance! My partner and I set aside a couple hours a day to read our books, we hung out in the same room and let the sound of the turning pages be our communications of love. It felt almost as good as watching a movie, and in some ways, more rewarding than just sitting and watching a movie together. Either way, find that book you’ve been wanting to knock out and get it started, even if it goes on after the end of your vacation you’ll feel compelled to finish it more.
It might not sound as exciting reading this, but give it a try. Create your own week just for yourself. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you can have while not being dependent on your phone or TV. It really was such an incredibly relaxing week for my partner and I, and we even picked up some healthier habits along the way. We found fun in the silly little activities and got to connect again and laugh about something other than “The Office” episodes we usually watch. I went back to my zoom calls feeling refreshed and relaxed (and even with a little bit of a tan).
I’m really looking forward to the next pillow fort :)
Thank you for reading, have fun, and stay safe!