I discovered a curious thing about myself a few years ago. I loved staying in hotels in the city I lived in. But I don't just laze by the pool; I also write in my room. I was more inspired and productive during these stays, and I always left one refreshed and happy.
Soon, these "writing retreats/staycations" became a monthly thing and I would often scour Airbnb or hotel booking sites excitedly for a new, novel place to stay in at the end of the month. I consider it my "me time", the trip I need to take to stay sane while running in the rat race.
But my friends and family are confused. Why in the world would I have retreats in the same state, hell sometimes even in the same city I lived?
There are some very good reasons, and as you read them perhaps you too would be convinced to try them out:
1. Staycations don't tax me physically
I often tell my friends that I love to travel - I just don't like the travelling bit. When I was a kid, I was notorious for begging my parents to stop the car so I could throw up at the side of the road. I simply don't travel well and always need anti-nausea pills to survive a car, bus or plane trip (trains don't seem to affect me as much, curiously). A few months ago, I forgot said pills during a trip down from Penang, so I ended up white-knuckling the six-hour journey. When I stumbled out of the bus in KL, I was sure I was going to throw up there and then. (Fortunately, I didn't.)
By the time I get to any vacation spot I would be physically wiped out and would spend a day sleeping it off. And with precious few vacation days, I don't want to waste the time feeling sick.
2. Travelling takes time
My friend and I would be heading to Penang soon, and it'll take approximately 4 hours by train, another hour to cross the channel to the island by ferry, and maybe another hour to get to our hotel room. Because I travel oh-so-well (sarcasm), I foresee being flat out on the first day of my trip. Fortunately, I don't have my usual two days off but five days, so I have plenty of time to make up for it. Since I usually use my off days to have staycations, I can't afford to spend most of the day travelling. Most of my staycation spots are either a short train ride away or a 20-30 minute car ride away.
3. Staycations are easy on the wallet
How much does a plane ticket to Bali cost? How about Penang? Travelling can get really expensive if you have a family. I'm pretty happy to save hundreds to vacation somewhere near my home.
4. I get inspired by beautiful interiors and architecture
A writer, like any other artist, is inspired by beauty. I love beautiful interiors and architecture, so places like luxury condos, hotels and resorts really inspire me.
5. No distractions
But can't you still have a nice retreat at home, you wonder? The problem is I'm often distracted at home because there are 1001 procrastination options for me. I often inadvertently find myself hunched over a toilet, scrubbing the life out of the porcelain, determined to win the war against grime instead of adding another word to my manuscript. I usually don't have such compulsions in a hotel room. And that usually forces me to get to work.
6. It's great to take time out from your routine and relax
Being in another place, no matter how near, can have a good psychological effect on you. In effect, you're in "vacation mode", free from your normal routine. The novelty of it all is very energising because your "discovery" and "adventure" switch is flipped on and you're now set to explore your area no matter how familiar.
So, yes, I love staycations for all these reasons. While some folks are homebodies, I'm by nature a wanderer and a nomad, so staycations fulfill that insatiable need in me to explore and wander without tanking my bank account. On top of that, I have a nice bonus - I write better when I have staycations! Win win.
What about you? Do you love staycations?