My concept of a good vacation keeps changing with the years. When I was young, I felt a real vacation was one during which I had to experiences stuff totally different than what happens in my everyday life. I wanted experiences that would take me out of my life and plop me down into a different one — at least for a while.
When I lived in an apartment building in New York City, a ‘real’ vacation could be anything from a cottage in the woods, to a tropical island, to sightseeing in a foreign country. I tried cruises. I took canal boat trips through the countryside of England. Over the years I drove through most of France. I loved to stay in B&B’s in people’s homes. That way I hoped to learn a little bit about how the locals lived their daily lives.
I think I confused the terms ‘trip’ and ‘traveling’ with the word ‘vacation’. Trips were often exhausting, especially with little kids. I came home exhilarated but never rested. I was recharged mentally but not physically. That’s fine – when you’re young.
Now, in my 60’s, I need to be physically as well as mentally rested. I want to come home feeling better able to maneuver through my life. I don’t want to return feeling like I need significant doses of R&R. Therefore, my concept of vacation today is much more specific than it used to be. I want a physical change of pace from my house in the woods in Connecticut. I want to spend my days doing things other than running errands, doing laundry, cooking, etc. I want time to sleep well and relax effectively, smell the roses and enjoy the scenery.
I am now on this year’s vacation on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. We have a power boat which is like a mini condo that floats. When we travel by boat, we take our vacation home with us. Our home base is familiar but we get to enjoy it in a different place, with different vistas and different people. Living aboard is our form of camping out – like an RV but on the water. We love it.
We do much the same things to relax that we would do at home. Yet we return feeling totally re-energized and relaxed. It’s the polar opposite of my adventuresome, traveling days. My goals and expectations have changed.
On this kind of trip, I feel continents away from my house and my friends and family. Every day feels carefree and peaceful. I feel removed from the stresses of ‘real’ life. That’s my new definition of a good vacation!