Many of us are in that stretch of the year when we’re waiting, waiting, waiting for school to be out so we can shift into summer break mode. Maybe we’re waiting for the weather to get a clue–my daughter sent me pictures of Denver covered in snow last week. Maybe we’re holding off to go on vacation until we’ve built up more leave or more savings.
I made plans last fall to travel for several weeks in Italy this spring, and then to end my journey with ten days in Scotland. I browsed websites, I googled destinations, I looked at pictures and read catalogs. I talked to people about their travels and where they’d stayed. I racked up the credit card expenses for tickets and got them paid off before my departure date–a particularly nice accomplishment.
I had great fun anticipating good food, new faces, new scenery, and some new vocabulary. Italian is a wonderful language, one usually spoken with energy and rhythm, and Italy itself boasts so much beautiful coastline, it’s a wonder there’s any population in the interior of the country.
All of this was new to me, and as it turns out, the fun of an experience, be it a vacation, a rock climb, a wedding, is only partly in the event itself. Much of the pleasure we derive from recreation lies in anticipating the fun. When you ask people who’ve planned a vacation how much they enjoyed it, and compare their answers with results from people who made a spontaneous or short-notice outing to the same destination, the planners will report having more fun.
This is true even if you give those people the exact same vacation itinerary, put them up in the same hotels at the same time of year. There really is a lot to be said for anticipation–ask any romance heroine long about page 178.
So what small or large pleasure awaits you later this year? What could you put on the calendar that you’d enjoy doing, and enjoy looking forward to? If I were to plan an author’s retreat in Scotland, what would you say I absolutely had to include to make the trip worthwhile?
To three commenters, I’ll send a signed copy of The Captive.