Friday, July 14, 2006

If only all problems were this big

I enjoy my job, mostly. I couldn't work 8+ hours a day at something if I didn't (well, a paycheque's pretty nice, too). Some of my hobbies are even suspiciously close to how I earn my living.

But I enjoy holidays more. One of the factors that led me to take my current position, despite the commute that eventually led me to become a reluctant suburbanite, was that it included more vacation time than my previous job. So I was horrified to find myself having this exchange with my boss:
Me: Is it OK if I take the week of August 7 off?
Her: Of course. Remember, the 7th is a holiday anyway.
Me: Oh, right, so I'm only getting rid of 4 vacation days.
"Getting rid of"?! I am NOT the person who finds vacation a burden and has to be persuaded to take her annual allotment of vacation time. I'm the person who would love a job with 51 weeks of vacation time each year (I didn't mention that part to my boss, even if she was equally horrified to think she'd turned me into a workaholic). But I think this year is the first time in my life I've had more vacation time than vacation plans.

I swear my available vacation time is multiplying when I'm not looking. I've already taken time off to meet friends in LA, and for the Banff festival/Okanagan roadtrip, and I have some future plans, but I still have to plan more before the end of the year. I feel the need to make sure I'm maximizing my fun to time off ratio while minimizing my budget.

The August week is to go to Seattle. Which, yes, can be a daytrip from Vancouver, but a friend will be there for work, so there's a free hotel and a fun person to explore it with in depth. I also have tentative plans to make a long weekend to go to Wisconsin. Before you sneer, I've heard it's very nice, but I'd be going to visit a friend rather than a place. Plus, there's the cheese.

I can't afford exotic travel this year; in fact I've really used up my non-exotic travel budget too, but I don't want to take time off and not go somewhere interesting. Problem is, pretty much everywhere is potentially interesting. I have a long, long list of dream travel destinations (though there's a new opening—Israel just dropped off for now) that far outweighs my available money and time, even if I won the lottery. I could go visit relatives, but that's what Christmas is for.

It's overwhelming even considering what I could do within my own country. has a list of 139 Canadian places to see before you die. 139! I'll say that I need a restaurant that has two things on a menu … and even then, I'd have a tough time making a decision unless one of them was liver.

I'm not hugely well-travelled, though not completely ill-travelled, either. But I've never been to my country's capital (that's Ottawa for you non-Canadians). I've never been anywhere in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, or Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, or any of the northern territories. I've only been to Montreal once, Toronto twice, all for work conferences, so any travelogue I could write would focus on the conference facilities at the Novotel. I've travelled quite a bit within British Columbia, but there are still some great unexplored places within easy distance of home I could check out.

There are just too many choices, right down to the choice of whether I really should plan, or wait and see what comes up, considering friends are making vague rumbles about plans that may or may not come to anything.

I just don't want to wait until my boss has another conversation with me that will go something like this:
Her: You have X days you need to take before year-end. Go.