In this country we are largely allowed only a fortnight off annually, which limits the decompression time and often leads to short trips and abbreviated stays away from home. Day tripping is the most common leisure activity for families in the U.S. and only the wealthy can afford the month long sojourns to far and away that truly break the pattern of work life. Even for folks who can retreat to a cabin for over a week, the family breadwinner often must stay behind and join up on the weekend, just to keep the cash flowing.
Our current national economic plight has further eroded the relaxation factor and the offers of cheap sea cruises and discount rates at resorts and hotels signal desperation in the travel trade. Many people are giving up on time off and working overtime to make ends meet, stressing out to survive. Ah, but vacation need not mean going somewhere. It can be as simple as taking a cultural time out.
A friend of mine announced the other day that he intends to go back in time and spend the summer at large as a hippy. He warned me not to expect him to be anywhere on time, contribute any real effort to organized activities such as little league games and community picnic/barbecues. He will turn his kids loose for the entire vacation without any planned or organized schedule other than being back home by dusk. He even plans to leave his wristwatch in the bureau drawer, although his cell phone will doubtless keep him aware of day and time.
His plans include smoking lots of marijuana, as an anti-stress self-
medication, and try to make time for at least one or two acid trips, though he doubts he can recapture the limitless joy and amazement of 40 years ago. He will wear tie dyed clothing, grow out his hair and beard and follow “Further,” Bob Weir’s Grateful Dead remnant in a weeklong road trip, if he can afford the gas for his old VW camper.
Vacation is as much a question of who you are as where you go, and no matter where you travel, there you are.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.