In January 2012, my good friend Hilde challenged me to go on a real vacation. According to Hilde a vacation means going to a place where you do nothing but relax for a minimum of 3 days. I am fortunate that my partner Tim and I travel quite a bit. We prefer urban centers because we love to visit museums, historic sites, and experience cultural events. We also enjoy road trips. Two years ago we flew to Phoenix, Arizona and spent 6 days driving to Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way we drove the Apache Trail to see the giant saguaro cacti, stopped to admire the red rocks of Sedona, and took time to see the ancient villages and cliff dwellings at Wupatki, Montezuma’s Castle, and Tonto National Monuments. We also admired the Grand Canyon and toured the Hoover Dam.
Sometimes we take road trips without driving. In August 2008, we spent our honeymoon touring Luxor and Cairo, Egypt via foot and plane. In April 2012, we road trains through the Netherlands with stops in Amsterdam, Den Haag, Leiden, Rotterdam, and Venlo.
According to Hilde none of these adventures counted as vacations. They were trips. She defines a trip as any type of travel that has a schedule and/or leaves you more tired than when you left.
So last June, Tim and I booked a vacation at a beach resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I will admit that for the ensuing 12 months I worried about vacation. I am not an idle person. The idea of sitting on the beach for a week with nothing specific to do or see freaked me out. Although they won’t admit it, I am pretty sure Tim and Hilde took bets on how many days I could go before I went stir crazy. If they did, I disappointed them.
Despite my worries, I enjoyed my vacation. For 6 days I slept, ate, read, and swam. Life without a schedule, errands, work, and chores felt liberating. I returned home relaxed and ready to hit the grind again.
Thanks for the push Hilde.