Thursday, December 26, 2013

In The Pursuit of Happiness: On the benefits of a staycation

As you know, friends, I spent nearly every single childhood Christmas -- and summer! -- in the sunny South. We had such wonderful times, but in the last few years (and especially since my grandfather's death last year), we've opted for the comforts of familiar surroundings. And surprisingly, it's a change I've actually welcomed. Who knew?

I thought that by now, I’d be itching to get out of town, get out of Illinois and explore a part of the country I’ve never seen before. Or at least head for the comforts of the Deep South.

I’m not.

Instead? I'm craving a good old-fashioned staycation. It’s simple, really: Instead of loading up the car, hopping on a plane or boarding a bus or train, you, well, don’t. You stay put. In your neighborhood. In your town.

Don’t let the term fool you, though. It’s a vacation alright. The best of both worlds, if you think about it. You get to relax, recharge and re-balance your inner sense of calm without the stress and hassle that comes along with planning the “Ultimate Vacation” which, in my case, usually sounds good in theory, but never quite measures up in reality.
In fact, Family Circle has an entire column in each issue devoted to families proclaiming the virtues of their hometown. I’ve submitted my lovely hometown, but they apparently haven’t seen its beauty because I’ve yet to see the sights, sounds and excitement in its pages.

One hot spot: The annual corn festival. It's been a tradition since I was a kid, and it never fails to bring the best things in life together: People, live entertainment and corn. Lots of my childhood memories were spent walking downtown, eating corn and being in awe of all the vendors -- especially those that sold cotton candy, a long-standing favorite of mine. There was something about the scene that just oozes that small-town charm.

And what is my hometown without my local university. If you live in a university town, I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about here. After all, you can’t really think of one without thinking of the other, because they go together so well. The college injects life and a sense of livelihood into the community; the community, in turn, leaves its indelible mark on those young college students.
And when you think about it, isn’t that what your hometown is all about at its core? A town with something for everyone. And especially for me, a place you’re proud to call your hometown. So why not get out there now and explore it? You know you don’t have to go far. Have fun!

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. Oh I do love a good old stay cation! Happy holidays, Melissa! xxx

  2. I love a staycation! I find one of the challenges for me is honoring the boundaries of a staycation and not giving into the temptation to work. it's so important that we cultivate the self-love to give ourselves permission to relax!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amita Patel


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