Vacation. That’s right, I said the “V” word. My family and I got on an airplane and flew someplace sunny and fun. I will admit that I already live someplace sunny and fun so you might surmise that when we choose destinations, we lean toward gloomy and not fun. But there are no oceans in Dallas, although some of our Texas-sized swimming pools are big enough to have two time zones.

Anyway, what better reason to become a Doctor of Optometry and dedicate your life to taking care of God’s most precious gift (no, not piña coladas) day after day than to throw your hard-earned cash at sunshine and God’s second most precious gift (yes, you got it, piña coladas).

Doctors, take notes and vacate as often as you can.

Now, I know that not every OD considers the beach as his or her first vacation choice. If so, here are some other options to keep in mind:

1. Fly fishing. I bring this up because one of my partners in practice loves to go fly fishing. He goes after the trout all over the western United States. This is something he and I have in common, although I prefer my trout with simple butter, salt and pepper hot out of a skillet. Curiously, he refuses to eat trout at all and hasn’t actually spoken to me since I told him I use a trout lawn fertilizer. That’s beside the point. Still, I did buy a fly pole and—don’t tell John—a nice fry pan too.

2. Europe. I realize that Europe has been around for a lot longer than America. That’s all well and good but so has my great-great-grandmother’s bunion, but I wouldn’t want to spend a week there. 

However, my lovely wife’s bucket list begins and ends with Europe. Due to COVID, we’ve had to cancel two trips so far, one to Greece and one to Italy. No, I did not invent COVID to avoid Europe. Renee was so disappointed about the trip to Greece that I found a place just like it that we could visit… Branson, Missouri. The architecture! The history! Actually, it was so fun, and we would go back again if the opportunity presented itself. I love Missourians. They remind me of the greatest people I know… West Virginians.

3. Ironman competitions. I actually know optometrists who consider swimming, biking and running until you puke to be the ultimate vacation destination. I absolutely cannot believe the state board still allows them to practice. They are obviously addicts. And I’ll bet each family just loves watching dear old dad spend all day sweating in Speedos. Now, I don’t know about you, but that right there sounds like a fun time!

4. Wine Country. Been there, done that. And it was enjoyable. I found an amazing vintage just south of Sonoma. However, after three days all I wanted was a Diet Coke.

5. National Parks. The newest National Park is the New River Gorge area in West Virginia. Once a year, they allow base jumping off the bridge, except during the first wave of COVID when it was cancelled. Something tells me that people who jump off a bridge into whitewater rapids have more to worry about than the virus. 

I lump any optometrist who would consider doing this with the crazies in #3. That’s just me, though.

Yes, there are a million more vacations to choose from. In order not to get overwhelmed, just whittle down the list and ask yourself, “Which is better: #1 or #2?” Then hit the road—what’re you waiting for?

Dr. Vickers received his optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1979 and was clinical director at Vision Associates in St. Albans, WV, for 36 years. He is now in private practice in Dallas, where he continues to practice full-scope optometry. He has no financial interests to disclose.