Many have bemoaned the rise of the so-called staycation—if not in concept, than certainly in lexicon. (Disclaimer: Whether the fledgling economy deletes your vacation or not, I fully support treating your hometown as a destination.) Even so, my eyebrows are sufficiently cocked at what the Wall Street Journal recently proposed as an extreme iteration of the trend, a term I’d like to unofficially coin as the “fake-ation.”
The WSJ reports:
While more hard-pressed Americans are spending their vacation time at home lately, not everyone is happy about it. Barbecues and reruns don't match the thrill of travel. So some are going to great lengths to foster the illusion of a wayfaring vacation. They'll sample foreign tourism, wilderness camping, hotel living, and beach-going without ever leaving their living rooms.
The WSJ goes on to chronicle a few such intrepid staycation-goers’ plans. Take Karen Ash, for instance, of New York. Her weeklong Japanese vacation will include buying postcards and souvenirs at a traditional Japanese market, admiring bonsai plants, watching Japanese films, eating ramen (and even ordering in Japanese!)—all without leaving the Bronx:
The only thing American about Ms. Ash's trip, she insists, will be the U.S. dollar she uses to buy her miso soup. Her detailed itinerary includes participating in a tea ceremony at the Urasenke Chanoyu Center in the Upper East Side, a taiko drumming concert in the Upper West Side, reading Japanese newspapers and an evening of watching "trashy Japanese soap operas" on DVD. She'll stroll around the city with her fanny pack and camera, unafraid of conspicuously looking like a tourist.
But even more unconventional is the story of Bob Porter, an Oregon literary editor who moonlights as a staycation planner (has it really come to this?). As a joke last spring, Porter reimagined a friend’s apartment like a hotel, complete with “Do Not Disturb” signs and fresh soaps and towels in the lavatory. The stunt has spread by word-of-mouth, and his faux-hotel outfitting has emerged as a small side business (from $50 for two nights). Wake-up calls, maid service, and even room service (delivery from a local restaurant) are all part of the deal.
Call me goofy, but for me, the thrill of travel has little to do with tiny shampoo bottles or jarring wake-up calls.
What do you think? Would you pay someone to transform your home into a hotel?
Photo: Charlie Quinn