Several people I know are on vacation. They have left for such destinations as Hawaii and Mexico. Reading materials were tucked into their luggage with the goal to lay on a beach with a good book. When was the last time you took a vacation? Not time off to paint the house, attend a wedding or visit relatives, but a vacation?
Merriam-Webster defines vacation as “a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.” It is a time to step away from a daily routine; experience something new whether scenery, culture or activities; gain new perspective; and indulge in recreational pursuits such as hiking, cycling or golf, which are otherwise wedged between responsibilities. On vacation, meals are rarely scheduled, plans are not firm and dress is casual.
It has been a while since I have truly vacationed … how about you? My favorite destinations provide cultural experiences or adventures. Years ago, my sister and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
We booked a hotel through a travel agent and when we checked in, we could have been in the United States. So the next morning we walked through the streets with our suitcases and found a small inn we liked … our room had a terrace and there was a dining room where breakfast was provided each morning. When traveling outside the U.S., I find it preferable to become immersed in the culture.
During a week on Penang Island, Malaysia my husband and I stayed in a little apartment, used public transportation to get around, cooked our meals or ate at booths owned by entrepreneurial street vendors. While booking flights and experiencing new cultures is a favorite type of vacation, another type I like might be labeled adventure. In 2004, I joined my dad and six other relatives on a kayak trip along the Yukon River in Canada from Carmacks to Dawson City. It was a week-long wilderness
experience, paddling by day and camping on the banks of the river each night. It remains one of my top five best vacations. There are types of vacations that have only made my “to do” list. They are referred to as volunteer or working vacations, such as excavating an ancient archeological site in Tuscany, Italy. Also, a learning vacation is appealing, such as perfume-making in Grasse, France.
Now that I have spent time reminiscing and contemplating, I am ready for a vacation. While I may not be able to afford a vacation in France this year, I am always reminded I live in a vacation destination when I see tourists parked along the shores of Lake Almanor taking photos. Therefore, we have opportunity to step outside the norm by simply stepping out the backdoor when time and finances are tight. There are campgrounds and cabins at nearby national and state parks, quaint inns or wildness hiking trails for backpacking all providing a quick getaway. Because vacations tend to reduce stress, most agree they are good for your health. But more importantly, they could be an indicator of a healthier lifestyle. So do some online research, gather some brochures and set aside a time for a real vacation.