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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Another Year, Another Staycation by Fran Joyce


It’s been another challenging year for the budget, so a traditional vacation is just not possible. Over the past two years, I’ve embraced the Staycation in different articles.

This year I’m drawing my inspiration from HGTV.  

Why not spend your Staycation planning next year’s (or the year afters) vacation? A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto several HGTV programs that assist people searching for their dream home/dream vacation home in the mountains, the beach or in the city of their choice. After 15 moves and a short career in real estate, I tend to shy away from house hunting shows, but I was curious about three shows, Mediterranean Life, Mexico Life and Mountain Living.

After a little binge watching, I’d explored towns and houses in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Mexico and mountain getaways in Vermont, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Utah, Montana, Idaho and Colorado. Another fun aspect for me… the narrator highlights a bit of the history, lifestyle and cuisine of each area. On some of the shows there are even trivia questions.

Listening to people talk about why they want to live somewhere is actually a cool way to decide if you want to visit. Typically, these programs follow people who are looking to buy or rent a home to three different properties in disparate areas of the city. They show the various locations on a map of the area. While some of the dialogue seems scripted, it is informative.

I now have a list of areas and the activities they are known for in various cities around the world to search for vacation rentals, hotels, or B & B’s. Depending on what I want to do during my next vacation, I can narrow it down to a few choices and start getting some pricing information. If I can work the cost into my budget now, it will make any sacrifices I have to make to stay on budget a little less painful because I know there’s a built in reward.

And, I can try a few recipes from the area during this year’s Staycation.

The World is Closer than you Think by Jackie Zataweski

Setting Boundaries on your Vacation by Patricia Petrusik