I counted: 88 days or 13 weeks and weekends of ‘summer vacation’ from school.
For all of us; parents or not; this time can either be daunting or an opportunity to spend some time elsewhere. But everyone fears one question: “Are you travelling?” Or worse: “Are we there yet?”
The word ‘travelling’ conjures up images of people weaving luggage cars through airports, or schlepping in and out of rented cars with empty beverage cups in tow. After being the designated chauffeur in our home, I simply shudder at most of these images. So, this summer I am taking drastic measures: to rewire my brain, rethink and revise our vocabulary of vacation.
Although we plan to travel by traditional means, we are looking forward to travelling also by map, by book, by media and by plate. We are going on a stay-cation like none other taken in our home before. Most activities are not time-bound, meaning we can spend as little or as much time doing them, with a bearable short-term commitment and the complete comforts of home. Here is our seven day plan for each week, with a camera in one hand, hoping we can stick with it.
Sunday: Map it out
- Each family member gets to literally roll the dice on a map and find a country we want to ‘visit’ that week. We will go with the highest roller, and if it lands in the ocean, take a vote on the nearest country. Perhaps we pick a specific region or the larger geography of that country. I have seen maps at office supply stores for under $10, and a marked up version at the end of this summer will surely be pretty in my scrap-book.
Monday: First Guidebook
- Atlanta has many global cultures and this website includes a wealth of information. Under each cultural group is a pdf document with political and cultural history, language and a festival calendar. The document includes a listing of culturally relevant institutions, organizations, magazines, radio stations and more. I can’t wait to read more!
Tuesday: Second Guide Book (book-worms)
- We will be scouring the bookstores, the library and online resources for geographically significant stories, folk-lore, facts, authors, poets and more. We might find travel bloggers who will enrich our reading experience. We plan to pick something that can be finished within the course of a week. And, of course, I plan to borrow a recipe book along the way for additional bedside reading.
Wednesday: Pack - A Pack of Playing Cards
- Most countries have traditional card games that involve a simple pack of regular playing cards. This website gives information on regional and international card games and rules. However, in my experience, finding a friend who can teach us the game is by far much more fun. At a price tag of $5 or less, this is great value for money.
Thursday: Eat Local - to Elsewhere
- The Buford International Farmers’ Market and Dekalb Farmers Market have large selections of ethnic eats. Even a trip to a neighborhood grocery store with an ethnic section can be enlightening. I take care to read the ingredients of packaged products to avoid allergies. But, if I find that packaging does not include ingredients in English, I will ask someone who is shopping in that isle. We will be sure to browse recipe books before we go, so we can pick up a nice bagful or two of treats and eats. Ethnic restaurants/eateries are a good alternative if a grocery store trip does not feel feasible that week. And, I always plan for the weekend eats too.
Friday: Pizza & Movie Night
- Admit it, sometimes Friday night is ‘Pizza & Movie’ night. Did you know ‘favorite pizza toppings’ are different in every country? Although large chains exist, culturally and globally unique toppings include coconut (Costa Rica), sardines (Russia), peas (Brazil), paneer cheese, or tandoori chicken (India) and more. With many ingredients readily available in the grocery store, it will be interesting to try out a different one each week. Of course, my child has claimed we do a “make your own pie” event, so everyone gets to pick. Foreign language films are abundant in Netflix, Youtube and the Library. Wikipedia provides a synopsis of most movies to help me determine if one is appropriate for our family. And, I always check for subtitles before I rent it out and get all too comfortable.
Saturday: Local Attractions and Souvenir Shopping
- Ethnic shops often carry trinkets. Some stores like Ten Thousand Villages support socially responsible merchandising from folk artists in developing countries. Many religious organizations host special weekend events. Atlanta Botanical Garden has many plants from the world. The ‘Taste It’ section in the World of Coca-Cola includes Coke products all over the world. The zoo is another great global showcase. I will need to plan a weekly budget for attractions and knick-knacks; or my bank-balance will suffer greatly.
Sunday: We start over!
The best part is we plan to spend time doing activities and exploring cultures as a family. If we fall madly in love with a place, it will top our vacation destinations later. I also know, that my scrapbook will be started up even before book our tickets.
Note: Curry Cravings’ summer dinner series is titled: Dinner Plate Travels, and explores different regions of India through special monthly dinners. These are ticketed events requiring advance booking. You may get on the mailing list for upcoming events: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.currycravings.biz to make reservations or for updates.
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