Nothing fake about staying home
THE summer break at the beach has been spent idling, which is my favourite warm-season word.
I have written before about cultivating idleness, inspired by Tom Hodgkinson, who runs the idler.co.uk site and is a leading proponent of the artform. The site’s staff, who hand out awards to idlers of the year, have just declared the only resolution we should all make in 2015 is to get more sleep and I will happily nod (off) to that.
The hols have not all been about cloud-watching and lawn-lazing, however. Eight books have been devoured (albeit lazily; coffee stains abound), rounds of favourite houseguests entertained and dispatched, and a lot of time spent looking at pelicans and dolphins and wondering if I am too ancient to take up sketching.
Given that all this has taken place at our beach cottage, my holiday can be termed a staycation, a rather ghastly bit of tourism jargon that nonetheless celebrates the pleasures of keeping close to home and helping local economies.
The updated version of the staycation, according to Hotels.com, is the fakecation, or fabricated holiday. This accommodation provider conducted pre-Christmas research that revealed about 20 per cent of those surveyed were planning to pretend they were on holidays so they could escape all the festive jolliness and avoid unannounced guests.
How miserable that sounds but there is a more sinister side to this fakecation palaver. All you need is an app, a picture of lovely scenery and a gleeful selfie and you can insert yourself into any desirable place you please and brag to your friends via Instagram or Facebook. Hey, here I am drifting the lagoons of French Polynesia or spending New Year’s Eve in Rio.
Except you are not. The tourism industry can hardly be happy about the prospect of make-believe holidays but surely most of us are not that shallow.
If you search the hashtag “fakecation” on Instagram you will see that the majority of these would-be vacationers have simply put their knees (bent fingers, one presumes) or hands in the frame of the picture or (how original) a fingertip atop the leaning tower of Pisa or the Taj Mahal. Of course they have confessed to the ruse by using the hashtag but, really, what on earth is the point.
Instead of all this nonsense, fakecationers would do better to take their cameras and iPhones and explore their neighbourhoods for small but wonderful discoveries to share with their Instagram and Facebook followers.
One of my most popular Instagram shots this summer was of seaweed washed up on the sand five minutes from my front door.
It wasn’t exotic or thrilling; it was simply there, glistening and sea-salty, a tangle of green-gold loveliness under a big, bright Aussie sun.
I’d like to say it’s one of my best Instagram efforts but that would sound like an idle boast.
SNAP DECISIONS: PAGE 14