Vacation vs. Workation

By TIM BEELAND,

My wife, Danny, my daughter, and I first started vacationing on the Gulf of Mexico in Ft. Morgan, Alabama 16 years ago and with the exception of a jaunt to the mountains one summer, and this summer, we’ve spent a week or more there every year.

In 2003 the cost to rent a two bedroom seafoam green house on the ocean from an individual was right at $800 for a week. Very affordable.

We stayed at that house a couple of years and then moved next door into the Miami pink twin to our seafoam green cottage. A couple years later we moved to a somewhat larger house, still on the water’s edge, which could accommodate our growing party.

You see, our daughter was only 10 when we first became beach bums and over the years she would pick a friend or two to share the vacation with us. If memory serves me correctly, which it does, the year we moved to the bigger house there were four or five young ladies packed into our Expedition with our belongings tied in a pile on top, and in tow to the rear. We kind of looked like the Beverly Hillbillies heading to Beverly Hills I think.

As time went by the 10-year-old and her friends grew up and in the blink of an eye (or quicker) it was just Danny and me making plans to head back down to what we considered a well kept secret beach hideaway. We had more than enough room “inside” our vehicle then to even take along a kayak, and soon found out that we had way too much room in the beach house where we’d been hanging out for the past few years. So the next year, which was three years ago, we found a tiny little one bedroom bungalow that was absolutely perfect for the two of us. The place was right on the ocean’s edge and stayed booked at least two years in advance so we made sure our names stayed on the list. That house was going to be ours for a week or more every year for the rest of our lives...or so we thought.

I place most of the blame on Hurricane Michael, that wiped out parts of the Florida Panhandle’s beach front vacation spots last year, and some greedy folks who own houses in coastal Alabama hoping to make big bucks off of Florida’s misfortune, but when the price of our perfect little beach house more than tripled we said no.

Obviously the rental price had long ago jumped from the $800 per week that first year to somewhere around three grand before we downsized, but at just over $1,000 per week the tiny white house was well worth the money. It wasn’t, isn’t, however, worth $3,800 for two people. Maybe they’ll come to their senses next year, and perhaps the Florida competition will get things back in line. 

That being said, most folks are familiar with the term staycation which became popular about 10 years ago when the economy tanked. That’s where vacationers stayed home and found something to do rather than travel. This year Danny and I coined a new term as last week we enjoyed a five day “workation.”

Yep a workation.

We went to the lake house at the Ross Barnett Reservoir on Tuesday evening and worked in the yard, and inside for three-and-a-half days. It’s a two story salt box house, with a high pitched roof that was covered with pine straw that is no longer covered with pine straw. That was one of my more challenging workation chores but accomplished it was. I also had to “mow” the leaves off the patio but that was taken care of the last full day there and everything looked real nice when we headed back to Sebastopol on Saturday morning for the second part of our workation.

Back home I mowed grass for over three hours while Danny painted 24 one-by-six-by-eight wood planks which we would use to construct six new columns on the front of the house. As the temperature outside continued to rise Sunday afternoon so did those columns and after three showers — the bath kind, not the kind from heaven — in one day, Workation 2019 came to an end around 7:00 p.m.

I think it is safe to say we would both have preferred to be whiling the day away at the beach on a vacation but once again I’m placing the blame for us not doing so squarely on Hurricane Michael. Ironically, I suppose, hurricane season also began during our workation.

On a side note, you do get pretty much the same tan line workationing as vacationing, it’s just not nearly as much fun getting it!