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Wanderlust vs Experience Lust: Our Spring Break Plans

Updated: May 4, 2021

I know we are all imagining ourselves on a beach with white sands, a beautiful resort with endless margaritas, with coffee at sunrise, and fancy dress nights. Frankly, that dream isn’t isolated to covid fatigue, but it’s not happening. Not for us.

I think there probably are a lot of safe vacations you can take over spring break. You can probably make most beaches safe. Lakes and cabins in the woods are almost certainly fine. People have definitely done worse. We do, as a family, somewhat subscribe to keeping your covid footprint small. Meaning staying home reduces where you might take it with you and where you might pick it up and bring it home. The best way to stop the spread is for us all to stand still, but that’s not possible anymore. I like eating at restaurants (or I did before the Governor removed restrictions) and I like my kid playing soccer...almost as much as I love to travel.

This blog is ⅕ travel and yet we’re going nowhere for spring break. Sure we might hit the zoo, but maybe not because won’t everyone else? Perhaps an egg hunt with our friends, wineries, and maybe, just maybe I’ll take Scarlett to Harper’s Ferry, if the weather is nice and I can deal with the hour drive. Why? Why if I love travel so much are we staying put? Because I don’t have wanderlust. I don’t need to be on the move, I need to do things. Things I deem experiences I want to have, that’s what I live for. Camping and sitting alone on a beach isn’t among them. But most importantly, I don’t want to spend money on a trip I don’t really want to take, taking funds away from Europe, Disney, a Caribbean cruise. These are the experiences I long for and they’re just not available right now.

One of my best friends has been on the warpath about going to Pigeon Forge, but when it became apparent others weren’t as excited. That we didn’t want to go to Dollywood, or the Hatfield and MacCoy dinner theater, the excitement started to die off. I was willing to sit in a beautiful cabin overlooking the mountain, in a hot tub, with wine and my friends, but that’s about it. It was the experience of friendship I was after not the experience of Tennessee I wanted. Her cousin felt the same and the trip just died.

Bug and Paul want to do Deep Creek. Same kind of deal, glamping as it were. But why? We can sit around the fire and drink, here. We can hike and enjoy nature, here. We can bond and not work, here. Oh also I can’t not work no matter where I go these days. The point is, that the scenery changing just isn’t what I want. Our local beaches will be too cold. I could be convinced to go further south by car, but I fear so will everyone else. Prices will be high and so will covid risks. What if it rains the whole trip?

In this world we find ourselves in, the most exciting thing Scarlett and I do is go to the mall and the zoo, but those are the experiences we can justify to ourselves. I need clothes for my job and Scarlett needs to see lions. I’d actually classify the mall as safer then the zoo, as no one is there. The mall and the zoo might even be too crowded for us over spring break. Maybe it will be a week we take on some project. Here, at home. Maybe spring break will be the week we binge watch Anne of Green Gables.

Maybe, we finish our Disney workbook, she wants it completed for herself before we go to Disney. That’s an experience she wants. Sometimes great experiences have a lot of leg work up front. Is that so terrible? That we take our week off school and we work? What if it’s work that will eventually give us the experience we want later on rather than trying to meet some wanderlust we don’t really have. Instead of mindless Netflix we watch all the animal documentaries we can find and use that information to give us more fuel for a later experience. Maybe instead of going somewhere just because we can, or because everyone else does, we delay our gratification. Isn’t that a lesson in and of itself?

Wanderlust isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not my thing. I don’t need to go somewhere, I need to go to Paris. No, I want to go to Paris. I want to go to Disney. I have already paid for those because those are the experiences I am seeking. I want to go on a cruise. So until I feel those things are safe for my high risk family, we stay. We stay and we stay and we stay. We consider working over spring break. We consider doing no more than walking the path in our backyard because that’s where life has taken us.

I got a lovely message after my last Disney post, from someone who just went. She offered her advice, wisdom, and experience on the Covid version of Disney world. It was a sweet offer, but I am not writing about it. I am not writing about it because I am not taking it. It’s not just the risk factor for my immune compromised self or severely asthmatic child, it’s not the experience I want. I don’t want to be masked at Disney and not be able to eat and drink around the world (yes that means walking with a drink in my hand). I want fireworks. I want pictures of my child smiling. I want the experience I want, and I think that’s ok. I also think it’s ok she wanted to take her family on a fun trip in an unfun time. But it’s not for me.

So many people have told me it could be years before the world is “normal” again. Till Disney brings back fireworks, till Parisian cafes are safe, till midnight buffets on cruise ships get worked out. Maybe they’re right but this year we’re not ready to give up on our dream experiences. So we’ll binge watch, we’ll work on our workbook, and we’ll stay home. We practice delayed gratification and we wait. Only God knows how long. Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune next year. Maybe not. Only God knows. But until then, I’ll pray for safety, an end to the pandemic and of course for wisdom.

I’ll watch you go to Disney, to Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks. I’ll cross my fingers that Ocean City ignores Hogan's new attitude of opening everything. I’ll look at your posts in Deep Creek and Lake Gaston. I’ll wish that there was a real waterfall and not a trickle down the Patapsco rocks in my backyard. But I’ll stay here because I don’t have wanderlust, I have experience lust.

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