The Essentials – The 12-Hour Vacation

 No airline ticket required!

When walking strutting along the Diva Path, a few things are simply essential. I’ve covered one of the most crucial basics, the French fairy godmother, in an earlier post. (You can search for all the essentials by searching for that tag in these posts, remember!) Now it’s time to discuss another one of a Diva’s fundamental tools – the 12-hour vacation.

Yes, you got that right. 12 hours.

I first learned about this in the book French Lessonswhich is part of my curated collection of French lifestyle books. The idea behind the 12-hour vacation is lush in its utter simplicity. During this carefully selected time period*, you do very little that you would normally do from home. You DON’T fritter away your time checking social media, you don’t use the fact that you’re still at home to do an extra load of laundry, you don’t go shopping (online or in the real world), you don’t catch up on e-mails and phone calls, and you certainly don’t check the news!

You DO eat real food (nothing you can’t pronounce, which means plenty of fresh food and not cheap junk), nap, and read. You might work on a hobby-favorite of yours, be that cross-stitch or puzzles, but no Netflix binging. The idea here is to carve out a one-day respite from your daily cares and routine.

I must admit, I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I was intrigued enough to try it.

Like all vacations, the 12-hour vacation requires a bit of planning. I wanted to remove as much temptation to fall into my Calvinist mindset of “oh, just this one thing” as possible, so I spent the evening before my 12-hour vacation getting ready – I put fresh sheets on the bed, I made sure I had healthy food I would enjoy in the house, and that sort of thing.

Bed Tray
Plan ahead, but keep it simple!

On the day of my vacation, I enjoyed freshly-ground, better-than-usual coffee (thanks to my “secret source” in Seattle), drunk reverently by the fireplace. I broke into my stash of wonderful bath goodies, put on perfume and pajamas, and spent much of the day reading in bed. I gave myself a careful manicure (I’m usually slapdash about my nails, but I love the way they can look!), took the time to brew a proper cup of tea, and ate well all day – culminating in dinner brought in by my indulgent other half.

It really was an amazingly restorative experience.

Success wasn’t completely total – I jumped on Facebook twice and we watched television with dinner (Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which really is quite marvelous), but the spirit was there. Further, I’m trying very hard to not let the insidious disease of perfectionism ruin my life – it’s okay to strive and not get the Olympic gold on your first try.

12 hours. Half a day. Why not try it? I think you’ll be delighted with the results!


*Food for thought – in French, the word “vacation” is “les vacances.” Ponder that for a moment – to the French, time off is always plural.





7 responses to “The Essentials – The 12-Hour Vacation”

  1. […] of frequent, brief breaks from workaday life (regular readers will remember my devotion to the “12-Hour Vacation”) and I am completely convinced that these breaks allow me to return to my everyday life recharged […]

  2. […] My appreciation for making (and eating!) real food got a swift jumpstart when I started along my “French journey.” The French are not alone in their desire to eat well on a budget (Italian cuisine, anyone?), but for me, people like Julia Child convinced me that upping my cooking game was perhaps not out of my reach and that good food deserves to be presented well rather than just glopped onto a plate. Paying attention to those small details in all aspects of life is at the heart of French Lessons by E.J. Gore (and it’s also the book that introduced me to the idea of the 12-hour vacation). […]

  3. […] written before about the Essential nature of the 12-Hour Vacation and other forms of idleness, but it’s worth […]

  4. […] inspired me to add those books to my Christmas gift list. I also took a very successful 12-hour vacation (I’ve written about that in the “Essentials” category before) that involved me […]

  5. […] started on this journey. Please – first complete the “Diva Drills” and take a few 12-hour vacations before trying this. That may sound silly, but really – the Golden Ticket requires that you […]

  6. […] as the shorter restorative 12-Hour Vacation takes planning, so does the Golden Ticket. LOTS of planning! So we set to it, getting the guest […]

  7. […] plans. Mind you, it wasn’t an at home spa day (I love those, you know) and it wasn’t a 12-hour vacation (also love). Yet it was total […]

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