In the Dog Days of Summer

August 05 , 2020

Here we are, in the unofficial last month of summer, despite what the solstices tell us. While May, the start of warm weather, likens to the energy burst of fresh citrus, we are optimistic and ready to fill our calendars with outdoor activities, patio visits with friends, and a bottle of crisp white wine. August, in contrast, is the mature peach, a hazy sweetness, rich and full. Summer skin, nostalgic of the 90 days of sun, reminding us that each beach barbeque, breezy kayak paddle, or walk at dusk without a jacket, could be the last of the season. And we always try to make the most of it.

August, the month enclosed by two long weekends, is perhaps the most popular month for long travel. And at a time like this, when we’ve been stuck in place for far too long, a vacation is certainly needed to curve stress and fatigue. Especially in a pandemic, you need, and, deserve a break. But where do we go when there is a danger that looms in crowds, repulses us from airports, and warns uncertainty in international communities?

One way is to explore locally. It’s said that we always treat our own city the worst we fantasize about new places and new cuisines around the world, but rarely capture that mindset when we think of the city we live in, are stationed in. But the excitement of new places does not need to exist purely a plane ride away; it could be as simple as walking around a neighbourhood you haven’t been in before. Exploring it as if you were a foreign traveler, walking slow to absorb the beauty of the architecture, the flowers, and shops you are unfamiliar with can replicate the sense of adventurousness that is craved.

There really is no other city like Vancouver; seemingly stacked in layers of water, beaches, and trees, sandwiching towers and expressways against a background of mountains of grey and blue. Here, you can plan for any vacation type you need, whether that be rest, adventure, or intellectual stimulation. Many local arts and culture spaces are beginning to open their doors, shops and restaurants are welcoming patrons back for socially distant experiences, and even hotels are offering appealing discounts for those wanting to truly get away. The great outdoors, however, may be the undeniable best feature of the city; nothing can compare to a bike ride along the seawall, a walk through Stanely park, or a visit to the beach at sunset, the sand bathed in golden light. Though hikes now require reservations, a trek among the hemlocks, spruces, redwoods, and cedars could prove to be the perfect daytime getaway with foliage unfurling around you, the scent of sap, and mist hanging in the air, the view at the top always does feel like seeing something for the first time. From sweating on a hike to a swim in the ocean, there is no more room for stress in our minds; perhaps Hemingway was right saying that saltwater was the cure for everything.

Another way to safely vacation is to simply staycation. Take an extra day or two for a weekend, and spend the time doing things that help recharge you. Dismiss the chore list, and rather enjoy leisurely activities that you find pleasure and relaxation in. Transform your bathroom into a spa with candles, bath oils, and a soft playlist. Have a Wes Anderson movie marathon surely the beauty and vast array of overseas locations in those films can transport any restless mind. If it’s the new cuisine you miss, why not exchange favourite recipes with a group of friends, challenging each other to try something new for dinner, or try the website reciperoulette.tv, to find something new at random, based on ingredients, cuisine, or course. A staycation in a space as familiar as our own may feel limiting at first, but a quick rearrangement of furniture, art, or decor could tap into the sense of being somewhere new, with sitting in a new spot or at a different angle, facing a window we didn’t look out of before.

Staying in place, whether that means the scale of the city or the bounds of your home, can feel perhaps stubborn or sublime, irritating or inspirational. It’s transforming your perspective that is the first task; take it slow, dismiss the itinerary, and stay present – time is on your side.


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