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These Vacation Spots Could Be the Bomb

 by Jon F. Merz (

             Normally dreaded slightly less than 'N Sync's latest mechanized release, June's warmth and sunshine usher in the infamous summer vacation dilemma.  Whether you're a parent or a single soul, trying to determine where to spend your free time can make you contemplate the efficacy of using a plastic knife to commit hara kiri.  And if you're gagging on the ``It's a Small World" song and bored senseless by the basket-weaving competitions at Camp Huckalooey, read on for some twisted and wacky vacation alternatives.

            If you want the trip to be educational, you won't get more potential bang for your buck than by journeying to a war zone.  That's right, with over 30 current hotspots to pick from as updated daily by the wonderful folks at, you can drag the family to a crisis center and watch real fireworks, like falling mortar rounds.  Plot a course for Bosnian Tours and wander the streets photographing bombed-out buildings and skirting UN checkpoints. 

            Occasional sniper fire and war criminal hunting too tame?  Steer yourself over to lovely Kashmir and potentially witness India and Pakistan nuke each other back into primordial soup.  Http:// outlines all the wonders of this land but interestingly enough fails to mention the potential fallout factor.  Be sure to ask for a room with a shock wave view if you go.

            In the mood for a safari, but don't want to dope up on an anti-malarial shake or risk an Ebola infection?  Then stay stateside and help possibly discover one of nature's true mysteries:  Bigfoot. 

            Jump over to the official homepage of the Bigfoot Research Organization, the largest and ``most credible" research organization of its kind.  You'll find everything you need to know about this legendary human/ape man evolutionary quandary who is rumored to stomp throughout North America.  If you're serious, head over to and sign up for one of their bigfoot tours and explorations.  You can even sign on to help explore areas where there have been recent sightings. Your field report then gets compiled into a huge database tracking this elusive creature's movements and habits. Personally, I'm not too much into confronting seven-foot tall hairy missing links without a lot of ammunition…and my Teddy bear.

            Rather try finding the Loch Ness monster?  Zoom over to and enjoy all the amenities this charming hotel situated near Loch Ness has to offer.  Scout out the Loch's infamous supposed Plesiosaur denizen or enjoy the Scottish Highlands.  Just remember, the bagpipes are instruments, not your mother-in-law.

            Maybe you'd rather shut yourself off from the world entirely (and after too much bagpipe music, who wouldn't?).  If the pressures of modern living have ground your nerves down, or if you're trying to better yourself by quitting smoking or drinking, then the folks at REST have got just the thing for you.

            Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy takes visitors on a 24 hour-long escape from the world through sensory deprivation. Enclosed in a room (the door is unlocked and you can stop at any time) your senses are restricted by floating in lukewarm water and Epsom salts, low light, eye covers and hearing plugs. The goal is complete isolation and rediscovery of your inner being.  Frightening stuff for some of us, but studies have shown the remarkable effectiveness of REST when treating nicotine, alcohol and drug addiction. Unfortunately, emerging as the human prune has its own drawbacks.

            Want to float for longer than a day?  Buy your own sensory deprivation tank and shrivel into nothingness anytime.  Check out for more information.  You have to email them to get prices, but their reputation seems quite good.

            How about a vacation to one of the potentially most exciting, but probably most boring places in the country–Rachel, Nevada?  Yes, this is the closest human encampment (I hesitate to use the term ``civilization" for reasons obvious if you go) to the infamous Area 51 where rumors of aliens, super-secret aircraft and a host of other bizarre activities abound.  It draws conspiracy buffs like the Backstreet Boys draw teen-age girls.  All told, the girls will probably have more luck sighting one of their latex-clad gods than you will have of seeing a UFO, but what the heck.  If you like wandering deserts and mountains 26 miles away from anything remotely military, check out Glenn Campbell's views on touring Rachel at  He delivers it to you straight without Independence Day-esque rumors.

            After a visit to Rachel, you'll need some genuine relief so why not get away from it all by checking out of your body?  Visit the Monroe Institute's programs and you'll find plenty of out of body experience (OOBE) training, advanced sensory development and more.  Their residential programs feature meals, lodging and careful training with ``facilitators."  Many of their workshops advertise visiting alternate realities as well, which naturally begs the question ``what to pack?"         

            Strapped for cash? There's always the do-it-yourself version of astral travel.  Read up on my personal fave called the ``Yo Yo OOBE Technique" at  I hear this is related to the ``Yo Yo WAZZZUP" technique recently popularized in beer commercials, but I'm still investigating...     

            There you have it: six choices for truly unusual vacations.  With options like these, aren't you glad you won't have to go back to school and write one of those ``What I Did For Summer" essays?  So, whether you shack up with Sasquatch or go nude skydiving (ouch), enjoy your summer!


  Jon F. Merz freelances from Boston, Mass., where he writes for,, and more.  His past articles have appeared in World Rhythm Magazine, Ura & Omote Journal, and  He has also published two dozen short stories in various national and small press magazines.





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