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Why Is It So Hard To Vacation?

An aggravating search for the perfect (2)5th anniversary getaway — with in-room USB ports, no serial killers, and free breakfast

By Nikki AbelsonPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
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Why Is It So Hard To Vacation?
Photo by Els Cattrysse on Unsplash

It’s coming up on my anniversary in a couple of months. I’m old, mind you. And, since I wasn’t successful as a cougar, so is my husband. I tend to quantify “old” as anything over the mid-forties because that’s when the switch flipped, and I couldn’t ignore the aches in my bones any longer.

[Apologies if you’re a young, spry 70-something who’s rock climbing and scrolling TikTok all day.]

Technically, this will only be our 5-year anniversary. However, we’re celebrating as if it’s our 25th silver anniversary, because, as I said, we are old. I’ve decided to multiply every milestone by 5. Why not? Not a single person would look at us and doubt us. As a prolific young songwriter once wrote, “This is our place, we make the rules.”

For months, I’ve brainstormed ideas about where to go for our anniversary. The catch is — I no longer live in the USA. If I were there, I’d find something perfect with just a few taps of the keyboard. But I’m in Europe now and not remotely fluent in the language.

We’re not the “bottle of champagne, massage at the spa, 4-course dinner” hotel package kind of people. That seems overwhelmingly what the masses want for anniversaries and romantic weekends away. People love being pampered and basking in luxury.

But not us.

No, we are more like “slightly above economy accommodations and ecstatic if there’s a fridge and alarm clock in the room” kind of people. We stop at gas stations along the way to stock up on sodas and chips because they’re probably cheaper than what the hotel charges. We crave comfort and seclusion. Plenty of blankets and pillows, a nice view, and a coffee pot in the room. If I don’t have to walk through a busy lobby every time I leave the room or interact with anyone beyond check-in and check-out, all the better.

B&Bs are too small. It’s cringy to be sitting in a small dining room with a handful of other guests quietly eating while trying to avert our eyes. That’s true misery for me. I’m awkward enough as it is. I’m not paying money for extra awkwardness.

On the other hand, downtown city hotels are too urban and crowded and don’t usually have the amenities I want — namely, a decent-sized room, a fridge, a bathtub, and close to nature. But I’m also not forking over several hundred dollars a night for that. If I spend that much, I’m going to London or Paris to live it up.

What I’m looking for is a place to get away.

One of those places that’s the subject of horror movies, but it doesn’t yet seem like it’s a horror movie at the start. The movies where a group of friends are high-fiving each other as they meet to pack their gear and beer for a long weekend of partying, drinking, and doing dumb things. Or, where the couple, excited for their long-awaited romantic getaway, are putting the last few bags in the rooftop carrier on their totally practical Subaru Forester and telling their kitty, Mr. Tibbles, that they’ll see him again in a few days. (News flash: You’re not.)

They set off on their road trip, exuberant about the good times to come.

They drive and drive and drive as the music begins to turn somber. Then, from above, we see a drone shot of a lone car driving on a desolate highway as the camera pans out to show the vast expanse of nothing but trees in every direction. They roll up to their destination much further off the main road than anticipated. A close-up shot of the front tire sliding to a halt on the gravel road, with the ominous, lonely lodge coming into focus in the distance.

That’s the place I want. But with excellent wifi. I don’t want the ending, of course, because we all know how those movies go. (We’re definitely not the demographic that has good odds.)

But that’s the type of place I want. The disheveled, elderly caretaker hands us the keys and, with a smirk, turns away and says, “Have a good stay.”

I don’t want to see other people, especially not deranged murderers, or wispy, glowing spirits floating above my bed at 3 a.m., but then again, the solitude might be worth it.

So this is my dilemma. I’ve searched nearly every location I can find within 3 hours’ driving distance. Tripadvisor has not disappointed with the dozens of “finish your booking” notifications of every hotel I clicked on, but I’m still no closer to finding a winner.

The original story was posted on Medium

pop culturetravel tipshumoreuropecouples travel
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About the Creator

Nikki Abelson

Writer, motivator, and overthinker. Former designer. I share personal stories of autism, ADHD, daily life, & self-improvement with a hint of humor. Find me at: nikkiabelson.com

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