Trip versus vacation…Four days at Atlantic Beach. A delightful break from the unbearably brutal heat-and-humidity of inland Florida, where I lived, no beach or breeze. The craziest thing I did? Too much sun. (Yes, I know we are supposed to avoid sunshine for more than a few minutes a week, enough to spark some Vitamin D production in our pale white bodies. I am a nurse. But admit it: when you’re tan, you feel better, look better, act better. I know I’m not alone here.) Before you write me about the dangers of joyfully languishing under blue skies with puffy white clouds: I did use sunblock, so I didn’t burn. Well, not too much, anyway.
Mostly, I relaxed in that devil sunshine. Lots of walking and bike rides along the ocean. Pocketed a few shells. Enthusiastically worked on a tan, for the first time in over twenty years. Made my way through one of the zillion books that I continue to buy–and worked a little on my own. Ate a big breakfast at 8 am, enjoyed a burger or fish tacos for lunch–accompanied by beer or my new favorite cocktail, a Rickshaw. Washed all the sand off in the afternoon and went out for a glass of wine before dinner. (Hmmm, maybe I should add “too much alcohol” to my confessions.)
The time flew by, just doing very little. How can that be?! It started me thinking about Trips versus Vacations. Why each matters. And why we need both.
Trip versus Vacation? Why not both?
I’m known for my Trips. In fact, I pride myself on my annual excursions to faraway places. “Where are you going this year? Another Camino?” my friends will ask in January. Usually, if I haven’t already decided, I’ve narrowed it down to a few destinations. I thrive on Trips. Complicated itineraries, must-see sights, local foods and beverages. Cathedrals. Museums. Art. Architecture. Up early, go all day. Life is short, the world is large. Keep traveling.
As for Vacations: Before last week, I honestly can’t think of the last time I took one. Vacations are for simply getting away, recharging. Letting go and doing little more than attending to the moment at hand. They had come to feel wasteful to me. A week lazing by the pool represented a week not climbing a hundred bell towers or touring important historical sites. I couldn’t afford the time. That’s what I had come to believe.
Suddenly, I want Vacations. It seems important to develop the fine art of “doing nothing.”
This year, no Trip for me. I’m up to my eyeballs with family stuff: helping Mom move, taking care of my sister-in-law after major surgery, hosting two sets of family guests, being Nana for three weeks when baby Ella arrives, nursing my 99-year old mother-in-law. Who has time to even think about a Trip? I need an escape, not a trek. I need a Vacation.
So. A cruise? A week at sea, island-hopping and being pampered. Unpack once and let the destinations come to me. Dinner according to my whim, not someone else’s schedule. A beach here, a cooking class there. Someone to make the bed and leave behind cute towel animals. All I have to do is show up and bring a credit card. It does sound enticing…
The biggest challenge? Deciding what to wear. I didn’t know how to pack for relaxing. Last year–on my 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain–I walked for 38 days with everything in a backpack. Two outfits and one colorful scarf. I did just fine. This Vacation? I’m flummoxed. There will be wardrobe changes and many pairs of shoes involved. I’m certain that I will overpack. That’s okay, too.
So.Vacations are back for me. I’m thinking one a year, until I win the Lottery and can afford more. And Trips? For sure, they will continue. As long as I can tolerate long flights, I will go. Last week was a lovely gift: the reminder that slowing down by the pool can be as important as racing around a city.
Maybe Mexico at New Year’s? For sure, another Camino next year. It’s all about balance.
Recipe for Rickshaw Cocktails…Cheers!
BONUS: Rickshaw Cocktail
2 ounces gin
1 ounce basil simple syrup
1 ounce fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
Cucumber slices (garnish)
Basil leaves (garnish)
Basil Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh basil