“I feel like I’m seeing the same people, having the same conversations, and going to the same places over again, and I’m getting tired of it. I need to get out of here.”
Right about this time of year, when the holidays are over and winter has crept in, Washington D.C.’ers are found saying this exact thing at the same indoor social establishments they have been frequenting, since they have been seeking refuge indoors to avoid the biting cold.
While touring the monuments and partaking in other outdoor activities are beautiful to experience in the warmer months, in the colder ones, it’s often more appreciated from the window of an Uber, as trying not to slip on ice, splash in mud, and bundle up as though you’re Randy from “A Christmas Story“, is more preferable.
Yes, we live in a city that’s known for it’s summertime fun thus, we have a low tolerance of cold temperatures (and patience); high cases of seasonal mood disorder, and a constant need for new stimulants (that this town provides very little of in the winter).
Its a long way of saying, it’s the time of year when we begin to feel “social cabin fever” en-mass.
Those of us that live in this great city, know that summertime is the best – the boats are out for lazy weekend get togethers, outdoor parties are aplenty, new crops of people are moving here, which means you’re making new friends; and you aren’t feeling restricted in 20 pounds of snow gear. And, for some reason, the same places that are frequented by the same faces, are no longer mundane, as there are at least 4-5 parties/get togethers to attend in an evening, giving you plenty of options to jet off and see even more faces. Yet, what I find interesting about our culture here, is that we seem to find ourselves traveling to places far off, during this time, causing us to blow budgets all in one season, without thinking of what happens when the days are shorter and colder.
Why isn’t it reversed?
In writing this blog today, I asked several people why this is the case, as they all feel the same way. The consensus fell to the fact that their work expects their employees will be taking longer vacations in the summer (when the kids are out of school), as well as throughout the holidays (to see even more family); returning to their desks full-time, during the winter months (until Spring Break has arrived). You might now be thinking, “This is totally unfair to us single people” – you’re right. BUT we fail to remember that our vacation hours belong to us, and we need to think of how we maximize the spend of those, while properly planning out just enough travel, to keep our minds fresh, and our friendships in-tact.
Last summer, my family and I were gone for two weeks in Europe (it was entirely too short in my opinion because I love Europe, and why leave?). After mentally prying my hands from the plane door when we landed back in the states in July (mentally kicking and screaming that I didn’t want to come back yet), it would literally be six months before I went on another vacation for a long weekend in Cancun (which was a few weeks ago). Why? 1. Because of money (“because last summer was epic, and needed to be spent out as much as possible”, which I’m now realizing isn’t boding well for my winter social life, since I’m financially digging myself out of that hole) 2. Because like many of us, I felt it was important to do my best at work, save some money, and then set my sights for travel later (like maybe one winter trip.. and then I’m good with the summer). As you can see, the logic here is off.
After I got back from Cancun, I realized that I needed to plan for long weekends once a month, not only for my sanity’s sake (giving myself something to work hard towards and look forward to), but also to cure the wanderlust I was having. And that’s when it occurred to me: Our “Social Cabin Fever” (as I am affectionately calling it) isn’t that at all – it’s a desire to keep going out and exploring the world, to keep our minds fresh, and our soul excited. It’s about re-prioritizing how we go about our lives, so that we’re constantly at our best.
While some of us don’t think we have the resources to travel once a month, think about how much you spend in one weekend, going out to the same places, doing the same things. You’re gonna spend a bit more (to get from point a to point b), but you get a much better experience than staying home – and you can’t put a price on sanity. Secondly, I know you’re saying, “But most of the world is cold this time of year and all the warm places are expensive”. You’re absolutely right. HOWEVER, it isn’t the weather that’s the problem, it’s feeling “stuck” in the same atmosphere, having the same repetitive conversations over again that’s the issue – not the weather. For example: Two Decembers ago, I went to Toronto for a girls’ weekend. They had a snow storm the night I flew in, so the rest of the time there was cold and damp. We had NEVER had a better time in such weather. We met so many people and went to so many fabulous places that the cold wasn’t really an issue. Example #2: Sundance – it’s cold, snowy, and what would be deemed miserable, if it weren’t for the abundance of parties, celebs, and things to do. I rest my case.
So how do you get onto this cycle of a bit more travel in your life? Here’s how I’m planning to do this for the next few months:
January: Cancun for the weekend (mission accomplished) – it’s cheaper that time of year
February: Disney World with my family (mom’s birthday, glad something was planned 🙂
March: No plans, which means I’m looking for unique things to do, and making reservations at (at least) one restaurant I’ve never been to, in my own backyard
April: San Francisco for a work conference, then staying to hang out with friends for the weekend. I might jump down to Los Angeles for a bit and work from there, after that.
The summer months will hold at least two long weekend trips, followed by a two-week trip to somewhere outside of the U.S. in October, or around New Years – it might be Dubai and India, or somewhere else in Asia (I’m still in the planning phases).
This, to me, looks like a far better year, taking my mind off of the mundaneness of winter and being “shut in”, than trudging through the cold, dark months, waiting for the first signs of spring.
So to all of you out there, waiting for “magic” to happen, i.e. new faces, places, and experiences – make it happen for yourself. Get out of here and go do something different, give yourself things to look forward to, and if anything, the warm weather isn’t that far away 🙂