Noth­ing fake about stay­ing home

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SUSAN KURO­SAWA

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 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 Ho­, 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.


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