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Friday, December 11, 2009

A Vacation to Ponder

Where I work, the company donated the printing of a couple hundred calendars to a very worthy cause, a Romanian orphanage. There were two variants, two different photographers who went over there and photographed these kids, and put pictures of them over the months of 2010.

Anyway, the famous TV personality who brought this project to us, I guess it's kind of her pet charity. With the various exchanges of art and proofs, the person who watches her kid while she's being famous on TV came though with the daughter, a charming kid I'd guess is roughly Em's age.

Well traveled, though: been to Guatemala once and Romania twice on mission trips. She knows the kids in the calendar, and she's so attached to them (the nanny told me this) she asked for donations to the orphanage instead of birthday presents at her last birthday.

My first thought was, What a great kid. Then I thought, well, she didn't just happen, what a great Mom. Anyway, talking to one of the photographers, he was saying his girlfriend is involved with this deal, too, and that her son is graduating college this spring and wants his graduation present to be another mission trip.

And I started feeling left out. And maybe a bit embarrassed at how selfishly I ponder things like vacations. I think about vacations in terms of me and/or me and my kids, and there's nothing wrong with that, but maybe there's more. I can't afford airplane tickets to Romania at this juncture, but what an amazing way to spend a vacation. It's not out of question for the future (the famous TV personality said the last trip to Romania ran about $2500 a person; but Guatemala was only $1500—not exactly free but cheaper than Disney was last I checked). Maybe in a few years when the paint dries around some of the financial corners I've painted myself into.

Because no matter what the tourism industry would have you believe, most 'vacation' activity is an exercise in taking away from the community woodpile. Which is fine, you pile logs on to use later, and all that. But how much cooler to take a vacation that grows the pile, especially if it grows the pile on an end where it's none too tall to begin with.

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