When I heard the theme of the disability carnival was vacation, I began to remember the essays I wrote as a kid on What I did over my Summer Vacation. And if I had to title this it would be "Vacation is a state of mind, not a place".
Generally my summers are full of travel as I go from one wheelchair tennis tournament to another. Technically, playing tennis competitively has always been my vacation - simply because , once I took the time off for it and paid for it, I wasn't able to take a "normal vacation". My job is busy and doesn't allow much time off and playing tennis is expensive enough, even at times I was sponsored, that it adds up.
This year since I'm not able to play due to shoulder injuries I was thinking of taking a "normal vacation". However, transferring is painful and my vehicle isn't accessible, so I did rethink that since lifting my mobility devices is very painful and ill advised. I bought a scooter which I've been using to get around town and am staying close to home.
What I've rediscovered, to my amazement and delight, is that where I live is full of tourist attractions. I've run into people at Starbucks who tell me they're staying in such and such a hotel and ask me directions to local places. A few times I've followed behind them and revisited places I haven't gone in years. I've also learned about things to see that I didn't know about. After all, I've been playing wheelchair tennis for over a decade and, being so busy with it, I haven't had time to do this.
In my town we have two new parks. One is quite small and is a few blocks away, built for children with swings and a wooden sandbox. The park is surrounded by beautiful flowers, a stone path and has a romantic looking gazebo. The second is a very large piece of land dedicated to local foliage - trees, bushes and plants - which takes awhile to scooter through. Everything is marked for identification and I learned a great deal about what grows around here.
I also discovered that they built a small park in the middle of town. It's shaded and contains some historical statues, complete with stories and facts. (I love history!) I found six new restaurants, including one that makes ribs which is my favorite food, rediscovered our new library and the food court next to it . I also learned that during the summer there are free concerts every Saturday afternoon and Thursday evening and went to a few of those.
I've found four new trails to go scootering on that I hope I can use my handcycle on if/when my shoulders heal but in the meantime I'm motoring on them. I also took several tours of neighborhoods where new houses have been built - or older houses have been modified - and there are some beautiful ones.
So I'm happy to report that I saved myself a lot of money and time by simply going to vacation - here. All it cost me was the price of my scooter, a few frappucinos and a few hours here and there - along with an open mind. Did I miss going down to Washington DC this past weekend and playing by the L'Eggs Mason Tournament? Or going to Lancaster? Or any of the other half dozen places I play? Do I miss my tennis friends? Sure.
But rediscovering my hometown has been worth it.