Canada Day marks the official start of vacation season in our fair land. By then, the kids are out of school and the weather is friendly from coast to coast. If you have an employer, you’ve selected your time off based on seniority or whether You’re the boss’s pet. If You’re a farmer, spraying is done and haying hasn’t started. Git while you can.
Your pre-trip research may include print or Internet resources, word-of-mouth recommendations, or nothing more than a palpable desire to hit the road. You may find yourself relying on all the visitor guides that sprout up every spring at tourist information centres. Maybe you decide to check out the businesses featured in the city newspaper’s travel section. Or perhaps you prefer to stumble across little-known gems, those little hole in the wall mom-and-pop places that are surviving despite the odds.
Whether we embark on a grand trip to parts unknown or sprinkle day trips throughout July and August is largely a question of the time and money at our disposal. Plans may require a travel agent and currency exchange. Or it may mean calling your mother to get the phone number of the cousin twice removed who happens to have a lakefront property. Wouldn’t it be nice for your family of six to finally meet Joe?
Then again, you may be the proud owner of a beautiful recreational property and dread the annual influx of people you hardly know (and others you wish you didn’t). Here are some sure-fire deterrents to those who would overstay their welcome: make sure the beds are small, with mattresses a decade or two past their best-before date. If you’ve got a sofa bed, better still. You’ll want to make sure the mattress is puny so that the springs and metal cross pieces can dig more deeply into soft flesh.
Be sure to do a lot of moaning and complaining about food prices in your locale as you prepare a meal. Begin the cleanup of counter and table fast, before someone manages to snag seconds. Suggest eating out; hope the guests pick up the tab.
Spend all your time together talking about yourself. don’t initiate any conversation that takes the spotlight off you. If someone dares change the focus from you and yours, steer them right back; this is your home turf, after all. Be sure to repeat as many of your stories/opinions/complaints as you can. In case the dullards missed it the first three times.
don’t show any affection for or pride in your community. Point out the shortcomings often and loudly. Diss the shopkeepers. Complain about services and amenities. Invite your guests to come back again real soon.
Regardless of where your travel plans take you this summer, have fun and stay safe. Be sure to take a break from the daily grind; you deserve it, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.