Friday Five: Destinations

This week’s Friday Five is about vacations.
1. What’s your favorite vacation spot? I don’t think I’m really qualified to have one. I’ve spent most of my career working as a technical writing contractor, which meant that I didn’t get paid vacations. So I have done very little vacationing other than weekend or holiday visits to family, which don’t really count.
Now that I’m an honest-to-God employee at IBM, I should probably try to develop the vacation habit. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve lived in North Carolina for almost fifteen years and have made no effort to explore the state. I’ve spent a few weekends at Fort Caswell (on the coast near Wilmington) and have visited the State Zoo in Asheboro, but that’s all. I haven’t even been to Biltmore Estates.
2. Where do you consider to be the biggest hell-hole on earth? I’m not qualified to answer that one either. I can think of lots of places — Cuba and North Korea come to mind — that I have no desire to visit, but that’s not based on personal experience. I’ve never been to a truly awful place because I never go anywhere.
3. What would be your dream vacation? If this is another money-is-no-object scenario, then it’s easy: one of those billionaire junkets to Space Station Alpha.
4. If you could go on a road-trip with anyone, who would it be and why? Until recently, I would have had a difficult time answering this question. But a month or so ago, I drove to Lexington to meet my mother for lunch. Marie and I and the kids do this sort of thing fairly often (see #5), but on this occasion they were all busy with other things, so I ended up going by myself. And I enjoyed it immensely.
It had been many years since I had gone on a road trip alone, and I had forgotten how liberating it was to be able to set my own schedule, choose my own route, and stop wherever I felt like it. On the way back, for example, I stopped at a shoe outlet in Siler City and just looked around for a while. I didn’t end up buying anything, but just the fact that I didn’t have to justify the stop to anyone, or listen to complaints about how long it was taking, was exhilerating to me. I don’t often experience that kind of freedom.
Perhaps I should look for excuses to do that sort of thing more often.
5. What are your plans for this weekend? Tonight the family is going out to dinner at Stir Crazy (the new Mongolian barbecue restaurant in Cary) to celebrate Ben’s thirteenth birthday (which is actually not until Monday, but we won’t let that stop us). On Saturday, we’re taking Marie to see The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time. (It will be my third.) On Sunday, we’re meeting my parents for lunch in Asheboro, again to celebrate Ben’s birthday.

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