Ann Parker here, every other Thursday at the LadyKillers, and not on vacation at the moment.
Well, maybe I am, as I meander around the Internet, looking at photos of Hearst Castle.
As I mentioned in my comment on Priscilla's thoughtful post, I don't think I've had a real vacation in a long time... as in, two weeks with nothing to do but take in the sights or walk the trails. As I was thinking about this, my eyes happened to settle on a snapshot of me taken back in... late 1970s? early 1980s? I believe that's it. The hair gives it away. I was trying for a perm (remember all those fluffy 'dos back then?), and something went horribly wrong. I remember a colleague at work looking at me in consternation and saying in a comforting tone, "Oh well. It'll grow out." The funny thing was, I liked the results. At least at the time.
Anyhoo, it was a true vacation, rambling around Colorado with my sister. We took a short hike around the Maroon Bells outside of Aspen. I can remember the feeling: nothing more on my mind than enjoying the sights and the company of my sister.
Hearst Castle came to mind because it was the last family vacation before my first book, Silver Lies, was published. I remember the vacation pretty well, because we camped (as in tents, sleeping bags, and so on) in San Simeon. Usual family vacation: grumpy kids, tired adults, we went here (toured San Simeon), there (to the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano)... you know, doing things we (the grownups) thought would be fun. Of course, the kids, being kids, really just wanted to stay put by the beach, build sand castles, jump around in the waves, etc.
During that vacation, I was reading my final, edited draft of Silver Lies (all in hard copy, of course, with the editor's remarks penned in the margins. This would've been 2002 or so.). Even then, it occurred to me, somewhat vaguely, that this might be the last "carefree" vacation I would have for a while... The publisher wanted a second book, and with day jobs, family responsibilities, and the book promotion, there wouldn't be much time for lazing around.
I was right.
So, these days, I work on my nano-vacations, which is akin to being "in the moment" (and not "in the writing"). When I take a walk--whether in my local town, in Boulder, Colorado, or New York City, New York--I try to truly clear my mind and focus on the senses: View the people walking by and the window displays, feel the weather, hear the sounds. When I fly, I read for fun (unless there's some deadline or other looming crisis, in which case I work). Reading is a great nano-vacation: You can just disappear into a well-crafted world and relax. Going to a movie is another way to take a great little nano-vacation. Sometimes (okay, this is going to sound crazy), vacuuming. And believe me, with all the dust bunnies hiding in the corners, there's always PLENTY of vacuuming to do around here.
So, what about you? Do you have favorite and easy "places" that you go for nano-vacations?