Video Games or Vacations

It is incredibly difficult for me to plan and then take a good vacation. Specifically, I mean that I have never once taken a proper “leave my common sphere of activity” style vacation that wasn’t to a lake house owned by my grandparents since I left for college. Well, I recently had one exception to that, which was a camping trip with some friends, but a crown I’d just gotten not long before the trip broke on the first day and left me feeling pretty awful for the whole weekend so I’m not counting that due to the lack of actual relaxation or rest that one single moment caused.

I keep thinking about how nice it would be to get away for a weekend, to rent a cabin somewhere mostly off grid, and just rest in a nature-adjacent space. Or at least to rest somewhere far away from my life and its problems. That was always the appeal of my grandparents’ lake house. I could get away from cities, from hustle and bustle, find real darkness at night, and just enjoy being separated from the world.

The pandemic has complicated the appeal of something like that, since I no longer want to take a trip like that alone. I spend enough time alone as-is, but it has heightened my need for something other than a “stay-cation.” Unfortunately, the problems preventing me from taking such a trip before the pandemic are still present during it. I can’t afford it.

Turns out staying in a cabin is actually pretty expensive, if you’re going by yourself. Almost every rental I can find is set up for group trips, with friends or family, and the pricing reflects that. The number of 1-bedroom cabin rentals that don’t look like murder shacks or an invitation to star in a horror movie is low enough that any I’ve found are so far away that they’re not worth it.

I’m not poor, by any means, but spending $100 a night to stay in a cabin by myself is just so expensive that I can’t convince myself it is worth doing, even when I’ve had the money for it. That’s two whole video games, almost, and two games will get me weeks of entertainment and fun. The cabin just gets me away. I still have to entertain myself and hopefully sleep well in a new place, which is far from a given for me. So it’s an expensive gamble, and that’s just the sleeping costs. Then there’s food and travel and whatever other supplies come up. An emergency car fund (my car is 7 years old now, so I gotta have that ready to go now, even if it’s still under 100k miles) is a must, as is a general emergency fund for rebuying things I might have forgotten and might break while on this trip, away from my usual spaces.

I could go on for a while longer, since my anxiety is good at providing “reasons” to not do things and I’ve had enough experience in life to not completely discount the strange and unpredictable (like that freaking crown breaking while I was eating SCRAMBLED EGGS!). But I’m not. Instead, I’m going to say that it’s really just the money. I don’t live so comfortable an existence that I can spend even the low three digits without a strict budget and savings plan. Even now, since I can finally do some overtime at work, I’m only just starting to relax about the fact that I’ll be making full student loan payments starting today. The deferment has ended, no loans were canceled for most borrowers, and the capitalistic nightmare that is the US continues.

Yesterday was my birthday, I’m off work for the rest of the week on a staycation to enjoy a video game I bought for less than a single night’s stay at even the shittiest motel near a desirable location, and today I’m paying my bills at the full amount that I’ve been able to avoid for a year and a half, eating up all the padding I’d slowly reclaimed after being furloughed for most of 2021 ate up my savings. I’m really not in a great mood, to be honest, so I think I’m just going to call it here and go find something fun to do instead of trying to make this positive or rewrite what turned out to be a rather sour post.

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