Vacation — On Hold? Cancelled? Or Something Else Altogether?

Doug Peterson‘s blog post from yesterday continues to weigh on me. I’ve never been a big vacation person and don’t usually go away in the summer — often choosing to work for part of the summer instead — but this year I had plans. 

The first vacation plan won’t seem like much of a vacation to many, but for me, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. I was off to Peterborough. Okay, maybe this is just a short car ride away, but this Peterborough trip was one that I’ve wanted to make for years but never have, as the timing has never worked out right. This year though, I was determined to attend The MEHRIT Centre‘s Summer Symposium. I was finally going to meet in person people that I’ve wanted to meet for years, and never have had the opportunity to do so. I signed up for the full week back in November, and I was counting down the days until July!

While I recognize that a conference does not usually count as a vacation, an opportunity to converse and reflect with individuals that share my passion for Self-Reg was something that I’ve wanted to do for years. And I was finally, finally, going to meet Stuart Shanker and Cathy Lethbridge: two people who I’ve wanted to meet forever! I know that my safety matters more than a conference, but my heart still aches for this cancellation. (And yes, I do realize that this is a privileged perspective, but I want to be honest here.)

The second vacation is actually not mine, but one that my sister and her family were going to make. My sister and her family live in the States, and as a result, I don’t see them very much. They were going to drive down to Ontario for my nephew’s birthday at the end of August. He hasn’t been to Canada since he was a toddler, and I was so excited to show him different spaces now that he’s a pre-teen. But with festival cancellations, pool closures, and hotel problems, they had to cancel their trip. Again, I understand why, and I know that they’re fortunate that they will be able to re-book again, but it still hurts. 

While I think that my summer will now be filled with working (from home, but still connected to education) and reading (it’s no surprise that I love to do that), I’m still missing these not-so-vacation vacations. Strangely enough this unrelated tweet that I sent out yesterday morning has actually had me thinking a lot about this vacation topic.

As others even mentioned in reply to me, it’s not only through books that people are making these connections.

The Coronavirus is taking over our lives, and having us view almost everything differently. 

  • Will books, movies, and television shows slowly start representing our COVID-19 world? Do we want them to?

  • Will social gatherings and festivals be possible again, and in the same way(s) as before? 
  • Even as the world opens up, how quickly will we go back to normal, and will this “normal” change?

I’m finding it hard to imagine life post-COVID. As much as I want my vacation options from this year to be my ones for next year, I wonder if that will be possible.

For now, I’m trying to decide when my #extendedMarchBreakRead Instagram hashtag becomes the #SummerofCOVIDReading hashtag. Maybe the move over will be more seamless than I think. For now, I’m grateful that my summer of reading can continue, even if my thoughts around these books might be impacted by our pandemic. I wonder if we all need a little bit of normal in our lives right now, no matter how small it may be. What do you think? How do you find it? Here’s to hoping that all of your summer plans keep you and your family healthy, happy, and safe … the things that matter most of all!


16 thoughts on “Vacation — On Hold? Cancelled? Or Something Else Altogether?

  1. I’m glad that you got the opportunity to finally respond to my blog post, Aviva. I’m sorry that your response has become one of documenting altered plans. I don’t think that you need to apologize for turning a conference into a vacation; I think a lot of us do that. Go to the conference and spend an extra period of time to take advantage of the time you took to travel.

    I suspect that a Staycation could be easily done in your neck of the woods. From what little I know about Hamilton, I would visit a waterfall or two, go to a Tiger Cat game, drive over the Skyway, go to Flamboro Downs, visit a Museum, visit a Marina or two, make a Tim Horton’s run, go to the Botanical Gardens, go to the Airplane Museum, and go through Dundurn Castle. I’m probably just scratching the surface and these may all be low hanging fruit and I’m sure that there’s way more than what I’m missing.

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug! I’m glad that I’m not the only one that might go to a conference as a vacation. You are also very right about a staycation up Hamilton way. There are definitely lots of things around here, and I’m fortunate to live in an area that doesn’t lack indoor or outdoor places to explore. We’ll see what’s open (and hopefully not too crowded this summer), but sometimes just have choices is enough.


  2. Aviva, thank you for your heartfelt blog. I, too, was so looking forward to finally meeting you in person. I feel like we’ve “known” each other and our respective work (and lives to a degree) for many years, yet we’ve never been together in the same physical space.
    SRSS2020 was going to finally change that. I’m sad. I’m sad for so many reasons due to this pandemic. I didn’t hear you say that you are going to attend the SRSS2020 Virtual Edition. Have you contemplated that? I can’t imagine a summer without connecting with my Self-Reg peeps. I hope you’ll consider being part of it. I know how hard the TMC crew are working to create something special for all participants.
    Aviva, we will meet one day. Just not during the summer of 2020. I hope you’re able to find wonderful safe activities for the summer that keep your tank filled (SR Step/Practice 5). Our Self-Reg strategies are helping us navigate these uncharted waters. Stay safe my friend!

    • Thanks for the comment, Cathy! I was really looking forward to finally meeting you in person this summer, and I know that it will happen eventually, but just not this year. I haven’t fully decided about the SRSS2020 Virtual Edition. After spending so many hours in front of a computer screen, I’m not sure that I can spend a week staring at one. That said, I am excited about some of the speakers, and I would like to have some Self-Reg talk this summer. Maybe I’ll sign-up for some of the time. My Internet connection can be finicky, especially if there’s a lot of streaming, but maybe something can work out. I have thanked Self-Reg a lot in getting through these times, and I know that I’ll be saying “thank you” again this summer. Stay safe too, and we’ll definitely see each other online!


        • Thanks Cathy! I will. I’ve perused it a couple of times, but was reluctant to sign up for something else online. I would like to connect with some of the Self-Reg folks though, and maybe checking out the schedule more closely will help me determine a virtual option.


  3. ETFO conferences always felt like a vacation. That’s why I took advantage of attending so many of them. A break from home, from work … that’s always a vacation!

    • I totally agree, Terri! So funny that you said that, as it made me think about the BIT (Bring IT Together) Conferences that I’ve attended in the past. I felt the same way when I was there. It was a break from home, a way to connect face-to-face with friends from online, and a very different kind of work. I do hope that these in-person conferences are possible again. And now you’re making me think that I should look at attending some ETFO ones. 🙂


  4. Strangely, I expect that my summer won’t look hugely different. I will do the things I normally do (I may get some done earlier that usual). Paint the deck, weed the garden, mow the lawn, ride my bike, paddle when I can, and do an interior camping trip. Given that provincial parks have announced that interior camping opens Monday, that should be able to happen. Summer doesn’t always look a lot different than weekends for me (at least partly because I have a non-teacher spouse). I will miss my annual week of learning at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts, but some of my spinning classmates are working on ways that we can gather virtually during that week.

    Really, my biggest hope is that I can get to my mom’s at some point.

    • Thanks for commenting, Lisa! You raise such an interesting point, as depending on what people do over the summer and some different family situations, maybe things won’t change that much. Your comment about your mom though reminds me of the power of these connections — the ones that might be harder to make in a virtual environment. I do hope that you get to see her (and safely) soon. I hope that at least some of your learning from the Haliburton School of Fine Arts can happen virtually. I see so many dance classes online recently, and even some visual arts ones. It really makes me think what is possible thanks to technology now, even though being online is not the same. Wishing you a wonderful end to the school year and a great summer!


      • Thanks, my dear. I know you and I will read a lot. I also expect that we will, because we are educators, spend a certain amount of July reflecting on the year past, and a certain amount of August getting ready for whatever mysteries September holds. And right now, none of this seems to matter much, given the racism some of my students, families and colleagues are dealing with. And I’m wrestling with that, too.

        • Thanks for your reply, Lisa, but also for the incredible (and important) perspective. Yes, I have no doubt that we will be reflecting on this year and doing a lot of thinking about what next year brings. I’ve been favouriting some of the book lists suggested on Twitter and Instagram. I think I will need some professional and school reading this summer around racism and what additions to reading materials we can bring into our classrooms … even in kindergarten.


          • Absolutely in kindergarten. We’re going to be talking about Larry Swartz’ new book, Teaching Tough Topics on the Read Into This podcast, and he really stresses that anti-racist education does need to start early, as kids of colour are already feeling their “otherness” at that point.

          • Thanks Lisa! This sounds like it would be a really interesting discussion. I need to listen to this one. I would love to hear how others approach various “tough topics” in their class, and how they support kids and families during the process. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently …


  5. We’ve had to cancel a few plans, so I feel your disappointment! I don’t think my children have realized things are cancelled yet. We’ll see what happens when they do. Hopefully 2021 is our year to make up for all of the missed things.

    • Sorry to hear that you had to cancel some plans, Lisa! Hopefully the kids adjust well to this change, and with luck, as you said, 2021 will be the year to make things up!


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