As you’re reading this, I’m hopefully in stage two (or three) of my tanning process and into the double digits with my tropical drinks for the day. Yes folks, I am on vacation. You said what? Miami? Um, no. Puerto Rico? Yeah, still no. Cancun?? Heyelllll no. The Hamptons? Not on a holiday weekend unless (until) I’m going to my own house and entertaining guests. No, I’m in a beautiful Caribbean locale that has absolutely nothing to do with anything industry-related.
No shots to those who are heading to the afore-mentioned spots, but those lost their appeal about 7 years ago for me.Here’s a little insight into my Holiday Weekend Travel Evolution:
Every year, after about the second week of May, the inevitable question would start floating around: ‘What are you doing for Memorial Day?’ and the same list as above would rattle off as possible destination options. Over the years (Read: as my friends and I neared 30) they all seemed a lot less enticing, and then the second question would follow: ‘Where’s a good place to go?’ Now for a few years, I went straight anti-holiday weekend and would answer ‘Nowhere man, do the family thing, get a grill…’ I went through a phase where the whole Summer holiday travel thing held no appeal for me. Places that I used to clamor to get to (like, again, the above mentioned) now seemed over crowded and (maybe it was just me) full of people more my little cousins’ age – or at least my younger sister’s age – or people my age that I really wouldn’t want to spend an entire weekend around. Sadly, it’s the evolution of any vacation spot/ weekend event/ festival/ awards show/ etc that a good look becomes a progressively worse look by the year, and by year 3 or 4 it usually resembles Freaknick (well, latter-day Freaknick, not the ‘real’ Freaknick).
Case and point: the Essence Festival. My last time there prior to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, there were chicks walking the streets in booty shorts and bikini tops and dudes with camcorders. Wasn’t this supposed to be some classy grown-up R&B shit??? Fortunately for the Essence Fest brand (even while the circumstances were born our of such a dire event), the years off kept it from hitting the tipping point. Another example: the MTV VMA’s courtship of Miami as a locale. The first year it was fun and lively: Industry meets Fashion meets Hollywood. A very sexy cross-section of people. The second year…well, throw Diddy in the mix and watch the climate change. (Not because of Diddy himself; as he does “Preserve the Sexy”; but because of people who know that Diddy = party, and want to be part of whatever’s about to go down).
It was half fabulous and half ghetto. If MTV had hosted the awards in Miami one more year, I’m betting it would have started to resemble Source Awards weekend (Good lookin’ on that one, MTV. No shots, Source. This was pre-Londell McMillan Source I’m talking about). Sadly, no ‘best kept secret’ stays kept for long. We see it happen with clubs and lounges, with restaurants, even with neighborhoods. Exclusivity is fleeting, and with the masses comes traffic, noise, hassles trying to get into events, and, for me anyway, the absence of the actual vacation. I can have rah rah any day of the week; I live in rah rah central!
So I declared that in my ‘old’ age, a weekend in the Adirondacks enjoying the lake, or even just hanging out with my family and/or friends at a bbq locally was so much more appealing than stressing over wardrobe, dealing with the nightmare that air travel has become, and making sure I