Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obscure Interests + Family Far Away + Wanderlust + Limited Vacation Time = Augh!

I don't get how people do this. As R. often mentions, I have a really great job: great benefits, great pay, relatively easy, 35-hour workweek (!), and a theoretically generous 4 weeks of vacation (!!), plus 2 personal days, plus 2 days comp time after our annual conference. Nonetheless, I can't seem to shoehorn all of the travel I *really really* want to do into that time.

I haven't taken what I would consider a real vacation since 2006. All of my travel since then has been for a purpose of one kind or another--conferences, visiting relatives, unschooling camp. I haven't been to a new country since 2005. This is really appalling. I almost dropped out of college to be able to travel more. I lived on peanut butter sandwiches in an apartment with no heat so that I could afford to travel to Egypt! Yet I still haven't managed to get my butt over to India, despite having wanted to go there for almost ten years.

I was supposed to go there last year. Then I found out about unschooling camp and did that instead. I was supposed to go there this year. But I'm committed to visiting my parents in Korea, which really needs to be a two-week trip just to get over the jet lag (the aforementioned Christmas present), and I also want to do unschooling camp again if they'll have me back.

What about next year? My parents should be back from Korea, but they'll likely still be a plane ride away, as will my brother and both my grandmothers. I'll still want to do unschooling camp. That leaves me with maybe two weeks for India. India is huge. All of the major cities and sites are ages away from each other. And who knows if I'll ever go there again? Two weeks is not enough.

Everything requires giving something else up.

Here's what I've got planned out for my vacation time this year:
literary conference in March, where I'm giving a paper
one vacation day in Hawaii after our annual conference
trip to Korea (two weeks)
family reunion in North Dakota (? hoping I can do this over a three-day weekend)
unschooling camp (one week)

Here's what I'm not doing that I would very much like to do:
a convention of fans of my favorite author, happens once every five years
another literary conference I went to last year (probably better than the one I'm going to, but I committed to giving the paper)
National Novel Writing Month in a cabin with a bunch of teenagers (a friend of mine runs this and offered me a position on staff, but I obviously can't)
trip to India
another session of unschooling camp

Each of the things on the second list is a sacrifice for me to not do. Each one relates to a major interest of mine that I have few outlets for. And I don't see any way I could possibly do them all while holding down a traditional job.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Revolutions

I officially declare January 2009 to be the month of Using Stuff Up. I will be attempting to use up many of the aforementioned Weird Ingredients, personal care items, and a few odds and ends like the last roll of film for my old-style camera. I will also be decluttering in an effort to be able to fit our stuff into a smaller place.

January 2009 is also the month of Finding a New Place to Live. R. and I have been putting this off for almost a year. We've looked at several places but have never really dug into the project. Part of the problem has been that to find a similar place to ours in the same area, we almost certainly would have to pay more. R. really can't afford to pay more and I don't want to pay more. In the last week or so, R. told me that he doesn't think he can afford our place anymore and (without any interference from me, I swear) set a budget of about $600 a month for our new place. This changes the search dramatically, but also makes me much more excited about it. I'm looking into suburbs (! to anyone who knows me), much smaller places, and other alternatives. I think if I found a mobile home in a not-dangerous part of Chicagoland I could talk R. into it. Now that I've finished the draft of my novel and have it with my first reader, I have a half-decent chance of actually focusing on this and finding a new place by February 1st (oh, yeah, I'm writing a novel). I have a lot of research to do. Maybe I should start today, since I have basically no work to do.

What I Ate, 1/1/2009:
Breakfast: homemade mac and cheese
Second meal (eaten at around 4:00): "Soup Nazi" seafood bisque (gift)
Third meal: rest of mac and cheese
Snacks: one piece Walker's shortbread, small candy cane, two Andes mints (all gifts)