I Hate Vacations (I Finally Said It)

I have a confession to make. When I wasn’t spending time led up coughing, sniffling and wondering why the guy on the train hadn’t bothered to carry a hankerchief, I spent much of our honeymoon making a list of all of the decorations from our wedding that could be sold on for cash. I used what mobile data I could find to read what we paid for the items, and decided to myself what I thought was a reasonable asking price to sell them for when we returned. By Day 8, I was actively planning out what I was going to do within hours of returning home. “On Sunday, I plan to…”, ” Saturday night, provided I’m not too tired, I’m going to… “. I still had six days of my honeymoon to enjoy, and yet, I was already eagerly making plans for when I got home.

The last time I went on vacation, I spent much of my vacation comparing the holiday chalet to our home. Why did such a small space feel so roomy? And why did our flat, that was at least twice the size, feel so small? What ideas have they got in this small kitchen that we could utilise at home? Even in the evenings, while Matt was watching TV, I was sat at the dining table, drafting up my next blog post.

By now, it probably sounds like I’m a joy to invite on vacation, and I am, sort of. I kind of love vacations, but I love them for a day. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

When we go out somewhere for a day, we go there for the day, do we not? Perhaps we go for a few hours, or half a day, but usually no more than that. Once we go home, we get into our nice comfortable bed and we dream about the places we’ve been.

If I get into a bed in my holiday chalet, I find it nearly impossible to sleep. My bed is a black ottoman bed, and hell hath no fury does my body want to sleep in a bed that has a divan base. My body knows it’s not my bed, my body knows that countless other people have slept in this bed, and my body knows that countless other people have done dirty things in it too, and that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

It’s not that I have a propblem with people having sex, no, of course not. My problem is that other people have had sex where I’m now trying to sleep, it’s that I’m now trying to sleep where somebody else has slept, where lots of other people have slept. This is not my bed!

Bathroom breaks are a whole other matter, because if you’ve ever suffered from parcopresis (or “Bashful Bowels”, to give it its more cutesy name) then you’ll know that one can’t just take a deuce in somebody else’s toilet. Even if you’ve paid £450 for the privilege of renting it for two weeks – that’s not your loo!

For someone with anxiety, and someone with a need for control, vacations can be an agonising, confusing experience of two weeks of brain fog, dizziness, stomach pains, palpitations and more. Is it all really worth it? Vacations are supposed to be fun! There’s no fun to be had whilst you’re hanging out in the local Cash Converters store and wondering if your colon is about to erupt on you, let me just tell you.

But these are things that can be avoided by doing on day trips, rather than weekends, or weeks.

I can go home, I can sleep in my bed, and know that I am the only person to have done any dirty things in said bed.

I can sleep on my side of the bed, and know that I am the only person to have slept there. That bed is mine.

Travelling in and of itself is something else, because unless you suffer from amaxophobia, you’ll never truly understand how f***ing horrid it can be. You don’t like backeat drivers? How about someone who shouts, screams, demands that you pull over and is completely and utterly convinced that your safe driving is going to kill them? It’s not intentional, it;s an involuntary reaction to being stuck in a moving vehicle that they very much now don’t want to be stuck in, and are hellbent on getting out from. Sounds like fun, does it? Welcome to what my mother has to put up with. For a driver, having someone with amaxophobia in the passenger seat is anything but fun.

Fortunately for me, I have an amazing and supportive family who are helping me overcome it, but it took just one bad episode to set be back years. It’s taken my mother repeated trips to ASDA and lots of reassurance and pep talk, just for me to be able to manage the little A-road to the store. It’s taken me eight runs to realise that roundabouts aren’t death-defying fairground rides if you just chill the heck out a little bit. This is Exposure Response Prevention at work, and it is a type of therapy. How do I know to do it? Because it’s the same way I tackled my OCD, only, this time I don’t have a therapist.

But at what point do we decide that the cost far outweighs the benefit? When my mother suggested asking my doctor for some form of medication, I realised that it’s maybe better just to accept it and say that perhaps I simply don’t like vacations, heck, I could even say that I hate vacations. I like to go to new places, I like to explore new things and try new things, of course I do, but is all of this suffering really worth it for two weeks? Isn’t an afternoon at the beach for someone like me far better than being ripped out of my comfort zone for the sakes of “taking a break”?

Here in my home, things aren’t bad. Heck, I’d even say that they were pretty good! I love lying on our marital bed with the curtains blowing gently in the breeze whilst I listen to the birdsong and the children playing outside. I have two local swimming pools if I fancied a swim and I have nightclubs and bars with actually decent entertainment (no offence to holiday park entertainment, we just know you aren’t getting paid and trained like professional actors do). I have a science museum, a history museum, a library, shops, boat daytrips… what more can I possibly want? Bristol is so awesome!

Cornwall may well be where my heart is, but Bristol shall always be my home.

3 thoughts on “I Hate Vacations (I Finally Said It)

  1. It does sound like that’s quite the adventure to travel for you. To each their own! At least you’re recognizing and working with your anxieties (even if the answer is avoiding triggers)!

    1. I do try not to avoid out and out, and perhaps I should have clarified that better in my post. I don’t let myself avoid going out at all because my own inner therapist knows what I’m doing, and knows that it’s not how we get better. When I was in therapy, my therapist gave me one very solid piece of advice: She told me that we have to decide between the things we have to do, versus the things we don’t want to do. For example, to use her example of my fear of hurting someone with a sharp knife, versus watching a horror movie: I have to chop vegetables to cook them, there’s no way around that, that’s how we get them to fit into the pan! Do we have to watch horror movies though? Well, not everyone likes them and they might enjoy other movie genres, so no. Knives might make me anxious, but I can learn coping techniques to better manage my anxiety. Unless I’m doing some sort of study or work about horror movies that will greatly impact my life in some way, then they aren’t essential for me and as such, they aren’t necessary for me to watch.

      In a similar way, whilst sometimes I have setbacks, I try to be mindful of the things that make my symptoms worse (rushing around, indigestion or lack of sleep to name but a few) when I travel, and to be better prepared for them in the future. Unfortunately, such is life that I can’t stay stuck in a stationary building forever, and whilst avoiding might seem like a quick and easy fix, it’s not realistically the long-term solution. Even if I can’t currently bring myself to manage vacations, I still need to be able to do things like get to the grocery store, particularly as we don’t have any large stores nearby. I do enjoy other parts of vacations, I just need to overcome my anxieties around them, most probably using some time to adjust to Mum’s driving (I was used to Dad’s driving for so long) and things like CBT and neurolinguistic programming. Interestingly enough and only a few days ago, Matt commented that my mother is a very nervous driver and that her accelerating and sharp braking can make even him feel nauseous, so maybe it’s not just me, after all!

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