Best Vacation Stories: When Vacation Isn’t a Place to “Go”

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We are not on vacation.

It's the last day of spring and my husband's off from work. The sky is pale blue, like fine china swirled with bits of white. The sun has swallowed a week’s worth of humidity and breathes out now—a cool breeze that has me craving a warm cup of coffee.

There's a lightness to this day that cannot be pinned to the weather alone.

Though the sky here is clear, I’m certain pigs are flying somewhere because everyone in our house—from the eight-year-old on down to the two-year-old twins—slept in this morning until EIGHT o’clock. My husband’s alarm went off at five thirty and mine followed suit at six. But thankfully we both had the good sense to slap them back into silence.

We all woke loose-limbed and sluggish, TIRED, and the oldest boy declared as we lolled on the couches, “I’m going to be lazy all day today.” His copycat brother followed suit announcing without skipping a beat that he was going to “be a kid all day today.” Then the littlest one added his own plan, “Me gonna be an electric man all day today."

From there the day unfolds—bowls of cereal, crumbs tracked from room to room, little projects broken up by more food and moments of play as we wander the yard and garden, all of us loose still, and relaxed. My daughter and I re-pot the avocado tree, damaging the roots so that it droops now like a broken-hearted waif standing in the corner of the porch. On a day like today, though, it seems okay, and I believe it will recover.

My husband unpacks the hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of screws and bolts and tentatively starts on the new swing set that’s sat, unassembled, in the garage for weeks. Even this, the scattered parts unlabeled, arouses no frustration. We'll tinker a little with it, and maybe with time it will come together.

A few weeks ago I told my husband how this new-old house of ours feels like a vacation rental, so full of newness, surprise and possibility. Something in this space, this time, brings together the elements of rest, play and adventure that form the essential triad of a good vacation.

All of this has got me thinking about vacation—how it isn’t a place to go or thing to do or, worse, to be taken. Vacation restores an openness and ease that's so often lacking in the pressure of day-to-day life. This spaciousness softens and restores the human soul.

Vacation descends upon us, if we are willing, in moments unexpected. The perfect work-day lunch, where last night's left-overs hit the spot and the company is good and the brief pause between what has been and will be done is fully felt, moments quietly stolen with a good book while the kids are Somewhere Else. Each of these can surprise us with their spaciousness—the way that what we need is found in the Here and Now, in a way we didn't believe possible.

This morning I woke in my own bed and sat on the couch while vacation unfolded around me—a little bit of lazy, a little bit of play, and a little bit of adventure, all right here, at home.

What's your best vacation place? Have you ever felt vacation sneak up on you at home?


Kelly Chripczuk is a spiritual director, writer, and licensed pastor who lives in central PA with her husband, four children and a handful of chickens. She is hoping someone will drop off a box of kittens someday soon. You can find her blogging regularly at and sharing poetry and quotes on her facebook page, A Field of Wild Flowers. This post originally appeared on her blog. Kelly submitted it as a part of our High Calling linkup on Best Vacation Stories.