Once in a while, everyone needs a vacation. I think it’s in our DNA. I’ve heard cave-people used to pack a few rations of dried meat, tie on their best fur cloak, and go visit their cousins in the next valley over. I wonder if they also set a weight loss goal and splurged on a pedicure before they went. Probably.

It’s a strange thing to need a vacation while living in a town where there is a constant influx of vacationers. Travellers save their euros for years to make the epic voyage to our special little town. So, the question has to be asked – what the hell are we trying to get away from? Is the powder too deep? The river too frothy and fish-filled? Can’t find a mountain bike trail you like? Oh wait – I know what it has to be – scenery. We just need something pretty to look at.

Like I said, it’s genetics. Humans need change. We were nomads once, following the animals or warmer weather or just checking to see if there’s something better over the next hill. If we stay in the same place too long, most of us start to get a little itchy. We need to try some different runs, different eats, maybe even a new ale. Being Fernogamous just isn’t natural.

When you’re looking to spice things up, most people’s first choice is to go exotic. Sand and sun and a place that doesn’t even speak your language. Just smile and nod. It’s all good. If you’re not up for a huge splurge, you may have to settle for something a little closer to home. A lot of us end up in Calgary. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It seems that nothing can satisfy a little case of wanderlust faster than finding yourself stuck on the Deerfoot at 5pm on a Friday. Yup. That pretty much does it. And if we Fernie-ites happen to run into each other there? We grin sheepishly from inside the maze of PAX wardrobes, or blush if we get caught sampling a butter chicken-skewer while fondling the cases of perfectly ripe, economically priced, mangoes. Busted.

But it’s ok! Let’s embrace our need for variety. Everybody wants it, whether they admit it or not. And just because we are fully aware we can’t beat what we already have at home, doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to check out the competition.

I don’t know about you, but when I decide to venture out of the Fernie city limits in search of a new conquest, it goes something like this. For several days leading up to my departure date I become more and more agitated with life’s little annoyances. It’s too rainy. I’ve been to the grocery store way too often. I keep running into that person who wants me to help with that thing. Oh, and it’s too rainy. I believe that bears repeating. So by Friday afternoon when I pick up my kids at school and we hit the road it’s all woo-hoo’s and high fives. Road trip! Let’s get outta here.

Fast forward three hours and we’re on the Deerfoot even though I knew I should’ve taken Stoney Trail and the kids keep saying, “If we’re IN Calgary, why aren’t we stopping?” and I don’t know and I have to turn down the radio to think. Just like my dad used to do. An action I SWORE I’d never repeat as an adult. But I have.

The next day I circle the parking lot of Chinook Mall for forty-five minutes, wondering if they’re having a Boxing Day sale in April, and look for a spot that wasn’t designed for a Mini Cooper while my kids yell out, “If we’re AT the mall, why aren’t we stopping?” The radio volume takes another hit. We round out the day by “saving” money at Ikea and Costco and I think I might have to take out a loan when I get home because I saved so much. In only twenty-four hours this shiny seductress has managed to stress me out and steal my money and all I can think of is heading for home. Where my heart is.