Respite Retread

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Life with the virus sans vacation translates into creative ways to travel; this is one such endeavor.

The pandemic invaded many aspects of my life, including the annual summer vacation. Whether working at the office or from home (as in the past few months), my workaholic tendencies left me physically exhausted and cognitively numb. Normally, a three-week summer respite from that incessant race of the long-tailed rodent temporarily catalyzed my dwindling motivation, propelling much of it through the year’s remaining months.

 

And my annual getaways were just that – getting as far away as possible from my mundane and frequently monotonous work life. I was single and frugal, making a decent wage. My only extravagance was travel. Ergo, the world was my playground, albeit fugacious. But this year was different. Travel restrictions/quarantines prohibited international jaunts, at least to places rousing my interest. Plus, although a professed health and fitness nut, I had no desire to play virus roulette with my immune system. Just because I hadn’t taken a sick day in years didn’t mean excrement in this pandemic. When it came to keeping a foot out of the grave, I wasn’t much of a risk taker.

 

Once again accumulating three weeks of don’t use it/lose it vacation time, I’d be damned if this annual perk would be squandered, however.So I set aside the home office routine, notifying the jefe I’d be taking my accrued leave all in one chunk as usual. Since business was slow anyway, my request was approved expeditiously; within a day I was officially off the clock.

 

But what to do? With physical travel out of the picture (including a long delayed, but time consuming road trip), I decided to take a series of mental junkets, retracing some of my previous globe trotting adventures.Each day I’d peruse my overseas photo collections and plan a cognitive itinerary - with a twist. Since this was basically a do-over of past jaunts, I’d contour actual experiences to more stimulating imaginative ones. Traveling mistakes would be rectified; missed opportunities recaptured. 

 

The next three weeks passed swiftly; even pseudo adventures make the clock tick faster. I reran with the bulls sans fear or hesitation in Pamplona, Spain, hiked once again beneath the Swiss Alps without spraining an ankle, and re-snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, this time coming face-to-face with an Australian shark that would put Jaws to shame. I re-explored the city streets (and museums) of Paris, Rome, London, and Athens in detail. With no budgetary constraints, I dined in the finest restaurants, relaxed in five-star hotels (no bathroom down the hall pensions for me), and was actually allowed entry (nay, welcomed) into Monaco’s famous casino even without proper attire or pretense. 

 

The weather was perfect at every destination, my trains/planes never late or overflowing with passengers, and no locals were ever rude or condescending to Americans. The experiences revisited matched those described in my travel guides; no surprises or hassles this time ‘round. 

 

I eventually returned from my mental excursion refreshed and ready to get back into the workflow of things. Even my boss noticed a newfangled energy and enthusiasm in my project endeavors…at least for the first day. 


Submitted: September 30, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Sartorius. All rights reserved.

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