Sunday, July 13, 2014

Someone Else's Life, or, My Ideal Vacation


Friday night we opened the door to my dream vacation, and I mean it literally as well as metaphorically. The door belongs to a  semi-detached Victorian terrace house at the north end of the Piccadilly line in London, where we’ll stay for the next three weeks enjoying being away from our regular life.

This is the third  time that we've come to London for vacation and stayed in people’s houses while they are away. The first two times we swapped houses with a family that wanted to spend a vacation in Tel Aviv. This time we are staying at the home of friends who are on vacation.

 Staying in a hotel while attempting to make the most of each and every day of the vacation is not my idea of a holiday. It is too much work, and doesn’t feel like a vacation at all. I can only compare it to sitting in a cab watching the taximeter rise, which for me is a reason enough to walk.

Once I was on vacation with my father in Berlin. We stayed in a lovely hotel for 6 days and it offered a grand German breakfast: lovely breads, and a display of different fish, cheeses, and cold meats.  It also had fresh fruits. My father said “after a few days of this lovely food you really miss your regular slice of toast with cheese at home.” He was right, of course.
That hotel offered only the best, but after a while who wants only the best? 

In a similar fashion, when you take an organized tour, of Japan, for example, you only get to see the landmarks of that country. Don’t you also get tired of seeing only those after a while?

 In Israel we often use the economic concepts of neto vs bruto (net vs gross) to measure different aspects in our life. I suggest that the organized tour is a net vacation and staying in someone’s home is a bruto vacation. In the latter, I am still a tourist thinking only of what to see, what to do and what to eat, but all the while I get to experience  life in that city and not only its highlights

I would love to spend such a month in an apartment in Tokyo but until I find someone to swap house with, I am perfectly happy with my ideal vacation here in London where I get to live, for a short while, someone else’s life.  

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