You may consider my title a strange question, but I think it is worth exploring. I was recently reading a posting from my Facebook memories feed about the planning of my itinerary for a trip my husband and I were planning to go on. One of the comments on the post was that I needed to relax, it was a vacation. That got me thinking, what is a vacation?
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary a vacation is a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel. That sounds simple enough, but is it? People vacation in a wide range of ways, and the trick is to find people who like to travel and relax in the same manner you do. It also may mean you need to make adjustments to the way you travel in order to accommodate everyone’s desires and interests.
My husband, Ron, and I always traveled with an itinerary. I read tourist books and mapped out our trips. I knew what we were doing each and every day, and quite frequently we were up with an alarm clock to make sure we arrived at places when they opened to get a jump on the day. That is how our kids grew up. There were many people that thought we were nuts, but then those same people would say “wow, you saw/did a lot on your trip.” Well yes, that is the result of planning and being on the go.
We would hear people talk about their vacations, traveling somewhere and then spending a good portion of their time sitting around a pool, or on the beach, sleeping in late and doing a lot of nothing. People would go camping and spend the majority of their time sitting around the campground, chatting with other campers, sitting around bonfires, etc. When Ron and I heard vacations such as those being described we would think “how boring.”
So which is the proper vacation? They both are. A vacation should be whatever you want it to be. Do what makes the days fun-filled and relaxing for you and your travel companions. People are unique and everyone has their own set of needs. What is good for you may drive me bonkers; what is right for me may leave you feeling stressed and exhausted.
Then I started wondering how my vacation plans may be affected by the fact that my husband has passed and I am now alone. Ron was always a morning person — his feet hit the floor and he was off and running. I like to get up and see and do a lot, but I frequently start my day at a slower pace than he liked. I think I will find a balance for myself that is similar to what I have always done, but maybe a bit more relaxed. Whatever I end up doing, it will be the same. It will be different. It will be me. That is what a vacation should be.
Guildwood Park Walkway, Canada. Photo by Grace Grogan
Whenever my husband and I plan a vacation one of the first things I do after we book a reservation is start reading about things to see and do in the area. I lay out a day-by-day itinerary so we know each day where we are going and as a result we see and do lots of things in the course of a week. Over the years I have had friends and co-workers laugh at my intense planning, and was recently told that we are on vacation and need to relax. Of course those same people tend to say when we get back “wow, you guys see a lot when you go somewhere.” Absolutely, the planning insures that.
Pointe Benzie Light Station. Photo by Grace Grogan
What type of vacationer are you? Do you go somewhere, lay around the pool or at the beach reading, or do you fill your days taking in the sights and sounds of the area you are visiting? For years we stayed in hotels when we traveled, but about three years ago we purchased a motor home and now stay at campgrounds, using the RV as our own mobile hotel room. We aren’t “campers” though. We get up in the morning, have breakfast and then head out for the day to see the sights and take pictures. We usually get back to the campground and fix a late dinner and then set up our laptops to download and view the photos taken that day. We were recently informed that we are missing the fun of hanging out at the campgrounds all day and then around a campfire socializing. We aren’t unfriendly, we chat with our neighboring campers, especially those that are there for the same length of time we are.
Rock Glen Falls – Ontario, Canada. Photo by Grace Grogan
People have different views on relaxing and enjoying a vacation. Ron and I are not they type of people to hand around a campground all day. To us travel is for the purpose of seeing and doing as many things in the area we are visiting as possible. The planning of our daily itinerary guarantees that will happen. Our vacation this summer is to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We are photographers, and the possibilities are endless. The UP has 300+ waterfalls, 40 lighthouses and numerous nature preserves, historical sites and more. So far I have five different counties on our itinerary to do in that many days. While we won’t come close to seeing and doing all the UP has to offer, we will definitely see and do a large number of things and will each take several thousand photographs in the nine days we are there (seven days if you disregard the day we travel up and the day we travel home).
Have you traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and have a suggested “must see” location? Please share what it is.
What type of vacationer are you , itinerary planner or sit by the pool and relax? Why do you feel that is the best way to vacation?