Every January, while the winter doldrums seem to kidnap each of my friend’s sunny dispositions, I manage to keep myself from cold-snapping at the rest of the world. How do I do this? With a little game I like to call “Dream Vacations” (and hot toddies, of course).
“Dream Vacations” is my favorite mid-January, so-gray-it’s-like-a-computer-program-from-’93 game. And it’s perfect for winter, when snow and ice and cold temperatures lock us indoors for way too long. The rules are simple: You’ve just won a dream vacation, and you only have 20 minutes (or however long your morning commute) to plan it. And you have to be as extravagant as possible. That’s the most important rule.
Anyone can play, as long as your brain synapses haven’t turned to icicles yet. Fire up your inner travel agent’s Internet connection, and start dreaming.
Beach House in Mexico
I’ve never been to Mexico (!!), so when my dream’s Game-Show Host/Lottery Associate presents me with the news that I’ve won a Dream Vacation, I’m really excited. I get to bring an unlimited amount of friends on the private jet (it has unlimited, retractable seats), but I’m smart and only bring a small number to keep things from turning into an episode of “Real Housewives”. On the jet, my twenty-four close friends and I sip calorie-free pina coladas and eat enchiladas that increase our metabolism. I’ve already lost nine pounds by the time the plane touches down on the private beach.
The house we’re staying in has a a generous staff of smart, friendly, culinary-inclined, and handy men. They make us fruit crepes every morning, after they’ve spent all night picking and roasting fresh coffee beans from the cocoa plants out back. During the day we lie in hammocks and turn the color of Victoria’s Secret models, while sipping Bellini’s that contain a million anti-oxidants and make us all poster-women for “Youth”. Our staff play us songs on their guitars and toss us in the infinity pool, but only in the ocean if we say it’s ok. At the end of the trip, the game show/lottery company tells me that they are tired of finding people to award the house to, so I can just keep it and they’ll pay all the taxes.
Hitchhiking in Italy
Because of my fearless and intrepid sense of adventure, I take all the dream vacay money, buy a comfy backpack and start hitchhiking across the Italian countryside. I spend my nights sleeping in castles and on cliffs, and my days are filled with wine-drinking, making friends and petting sheep, and dancing in barrels filled with grapes. One day, I’m walking along the road, picking olives straight from trees, when a car pulls up to me with George Clooney inside. He asks if I need a ride, and I say yes, I’m hitchhiking. He brings me back to his chateau and tells me he’s never heard so many wonderful stories from one person in his life. He asks me if I’ll write a screenplay for a movie that he will direct and produce, and I agree, as long as Julia Roberts doesn’t play the role of me. Then he smiles at me, and we kiss for a ridiculous amount of time.
Staycation of My Dreams
I win a trip to stay in my own house, a four-bedroom brownstone with art-deco detailing in the West Village, but not too much space that it’s annoying or feels atypical to New York. I spend my stay-cation working on crafts for my home and to give to friends “just because”. Some them will even go in museums, because they are exceptional. It’s always the perfect temperature inside, and I never have dry skin. Lots of wonderful friends come over and tell me jokes, including Ryan Gosling who sets up all of my Pinterest boards and Spotify playlists. And answers all of my emails in a kind, but witty style, so that I don’t get behind on my work. The chefs from my favorite restaurants come over to cook me dinner every night, and President Obama sends me a letter telling me that I’m living an inspiring example of “the American Dream Vacation”, and I should never stop.
Girl diving image [via]